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Architect Vs Graphic Designer

Both architects and graphic designers use elements of design to produce what clients or employers want, although they work in different fields and for different purposes. Find out more about what makes these design careers similar and different.

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Comparing Architects to Graphic Designers

Architects and graphic designers both work with clients or employers to design layouts for different projects. Architects focus mainly on laying out buildings and structures, while graphic designers use computer software to create artwork like logos or illustrations, often for publications. Find out more below about the similarities and differences between these two career options that involve design.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Architect Bachelor's degree $76,930 7%
Graphic Designer Bachelor's degree $47,640 1%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Advertising and Commercial Design
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  • Industrial Design
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Responsibilities of Architects vs. Graphic Designers

Architects and graphic designers may both work in design, but the work they do is very different. For one thing, architects use their knowledge of layout design to plan how buildings and other types of structures will be most effectively constructed. They work inside of offices, venturing outside to oversee building construction and make sure their plans are being followed. Graphic designers, on the other hand, while they also usually work in offices or studios, focus on artwork usually meant for publication, such as print or websites. They use computer software to create images like logos for clients or employers.

Architect

Architects not only plan how buildings will function, but they also meet frequently with clients to make sure their designs are matching the vision of the project. They are also knowledgeable about the cost of materials, so they can give accurate estimates to employers. When they are making building plans, they usually create scaled models or drafts so that their clients can envision what the final product will look like and workers know how to proceed. Architects usually keep normal business day work hours, although sometimes they must work more than 40 hours a week to aid in meeting deadlines. There are a few architects that are self-employed and work from home offices.

Job responsibilities of an Architect include:

  • Instructing employees how to develop drafts of buildings
  • Writing up contracts for clients
  • Discussing the budget and needs of projects with clients
  • Adhering to local building codes and zoning laws
  • Conducting marketing to help generate more business
  • Work with computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), building information modeling (BIM) programs

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers work from studios or offices, either for employers or themselves. They are trained to create eye-catching designs, logos, and illustrations for their clients. They often work on projects for brochures, advertising, or magazines. They are usually trained to not only put together illustrations from scratch, but to use photo-editing software. They must often use photos or graphics given to them by their clients in creative ways. Graphic designers usually work normal full-time hours, but they may need to work overtime to meet a deadline.

Job responsibilities of a Graphic Designer include:

  • Using both images and text
  • Choosing color, font, and other elements
  • Staying current with the latest technology
  • Learning how to use digital illustration software
  • Presenting their designs to clients or employers

Related Careers

Someone intrigued by the career of an architect might also be excited about what a city planner does, since both involve the layout of buildings. Likewise, those interested in becoming a graphic designer might also like the idea of becoming a photographer, since both often use photo-editing software.

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