What qualifications do I need to be a Graphic Designer

As a graphic designer you could expect to work in any number of fields:
• Printed media eg. magazines, brochures, leaflets etc...
• Advertising
• Typesetting and typography
• Illustration
• Web design

In most of these fields you will be working with images on computer software packages and you will also need to understand the production processes you are involved. For example if you are working with printed media you will need to understand the print production process. If you are a web designer you will need to understand web programming eg. XML and HTML.

Pros
• An exciting a creative career
• Rewarding seeing your ideas come to fruition

Cons
• The expectation of coming up with fresh and new ideas can be stressful
• You may need to learn to take criticism from colleagues and clients as design can be a very subjective topic
• Delivering projects to specification and on time can also be stressful - you may end up working long hours on some projects without much thanks

GCSEs
It would be good to have an art, technology or graphic design GCSE and if you are intending to pursue web development, then ICT or computing would also be a good idea.

A-levels
Again it would be a good idea to have an art or graphic design A-level and and ICT or computing A-level.

Degree
Although a degree in Graphic Design will undoubtedly be useful when looking for work, it is often experience and your portfolio which is the most important thing. It is possible to start out without a degree and to learn on the job. There are many courses of offer which will train you in using programmes such as Quark Xpress, FreeHand, Illustrator, Photoshop, 3D Studio, Acrobat, Director, Dreamweaver and Flash - but you should research these carefully before signing up.

Alternatively if you wanted a general 'art' background you could take an Art Foundation course or an Art based degree. Most of these courses have the opportunity to specialise in media options if you want. It may also leave your options more open.

How long will it take to get qualified?
This will really depend of which route you take.

Typical salary
The salarly for a graphic designer can range depending on the field you are working in, and your level of experience, but you could expect to earn around £25,000 to £35,000 as an experienced graphic designer.

Click here for the day in the life of a Graphic Designer

Useful websites
D&AD www.dandad.org

National Advertising Benevolent Society www.nabs.org.uk Advice Line: 0845602449

The Talent Business www.thetalentbusiness.com

Watford College / West Herts College – Copywriting and Art Direction course www.westherts.ac.uk

London College of Communication
www.lcc.arts.ac.uk

Central St. Martins www.csm.arts.ac.uk

Miami Ad School London www.miamiadschool.com