A graphic designer is responsible for creating design solutions that have a high visual impact. The role involves listening to clients and understanding their needs before making design decisions.
Their designs are required for a huge variety of products and activities, such as websites, advertising, books, magazines, posters, computer games, product packaging, exhibitions and displays, corporate communications and corporate identity, i.e. giving organisations a visual ‘brand’.
A graphic designer works to a brief agreed with the client, creative director or account manager. They develop creative ideas and concepts, choosing the appropriate media and style to meet the client’s objectives.
The work demands creative flair, up-to-date knowledge of industry software and a professional approach to time, costs and deadlines.
Typical work activities
A graphic designer’s job may involve managing more than one design brief at a time and allocating the relevant amount of time according to the value of the job. Typical activities include:
- meeting clients or account managers to discuss the business objectives and requirements of the job;
- interpreting the client’s business needs and developing a concept to suit their purpose;
- estimating the time required to complete the work and providing quotes for clients;
- developing design briefs by gathering information and data through research;
- thinking creatively to produce new ideas and concepts;
- using innovation to redefine a design brief within the constraints of cost and time;
- presenting finalised ideas and concepts to clients or account managers;
- working with a wide range of media, including photography and computer-aided design (CAD);
- proofreading to produce accurate and high-quality work;
- contributing ideas and design artwork to the overall brief;
- demonstrating illustrative skills with rough sketches;
- working on layouts and artworking pages ready for print;
- keeping abreast of emerging technologies in new media, particularly design programs such as InDesign, QuarkXPress, FreeHand, Illustrator, Photoshop, 3ds Max, Acrobat, Director, Dreamweaver and Flash;
- developing interactive design;
- commissioning illustrators and photographers;
- working as part of a team with printers, copywriters, photographers, stylists, illustrators, other designers, account executives, web developers and marketing specialists.
Whether they’re self-employed, working freelance or employed within a business, graphic designers often have to be proactive in presenting or ‘pitching’ their ideas and designs to the agency director and/or prospective clients.