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Design

Graphic designer

Graphic designers create visual branding, adverts, brochures, magazines, website designs, product packaging and displays.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £35,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 40 a week

You could work: evenings; occasionally

1%
Future employment

There will be 1% more Graphic designer jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In this role you may:

  • discuss the client's requirements and come up with creative ideas
  • work out budgets and deadlines
  • produce rough drafts and present your ideas
  • prepare designs using specialist software
  • make presentations to clients for feedback and approval
  • produce a final layout
  • explain requirements to other design professionals
  • keep up with design trends and developments in software tools

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio, in an office or at a client's business.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
University

You could take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a design related subject like:

  • graphic design
  • art and design
  • communication design
  • illustration

Getting work experience during your course will give you an advantage. Talk to your university careers service about work experience, internship and year placement opportunities as well as any support offered to help you build a portfolio.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a foundation diploma in art and design
  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You could take a college course like a Level 2 Technical Award in Graphic Design or A level Graphic Communication, and use this to join a company as a design assistant.

You would need a good portfolio to showcase your skills to employers.

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course
For more information
Apprenticeship
Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information

More information

Career tips

There's a lot of competition for graphic design work. You'll need a portfolio that shows your creative ideas, skills and work experience to help you get started.

Having experience of using desktop publishing software will also give you an advantage.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Chartered Society of Designers and the International Society of Typographical Designers for professional development and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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You could become a senior designer, creative director or move into management.

You could go freelance or start your own design agency.

Another option is to move into teaching or lecturing.

You could join the Chartered Society of Designers and the International Society of Typographical Designers for professional development and to make industry contacts.

You can find out more about careers and training in graphic design from Creative Choices.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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