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Lead Graphic Designer Vs Senior Graphic Designer

Graphic designers are integral to a company's branding, advertising and marketing. Lead and senior graphic designers work in the same department, but have slightly different responsibilities.

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Comparing Lead Graphic Designers to Senior Graphic Designers

Lead graphic designers are responsible for helping to create the visual brand of a company, while senior graphic designers manage the design work of a team. Below is a comparison of these two design professions along with information about each career.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary Job Growth** (2014-2024)
Lead Graphic Designer Bachelor's degree $47,640 (2016)** (for all graphic designers) 1% (for all graphic designers)
Senior Graphic Designer Bachelor's degree $59,574 (2017)* 1% (for all graphic designers)

Sources: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Lead Graphic Designers vs. Senior Graphic Designers

Lead graphic designers are responsible for designing and driving a company's brand or overseeing company-wide campaigns. Senior graphic designers manage the visual designs of advertising and marketing campaigns. While both work in graphic design, their interactions differ slightly during their day-to-day work. Senior graphic designers collaborate with other team members and departments to execute designs, while lead graphic designers may work more independently.

Lead Graphic Designer

Lead graphic designers use their experience and talent to take charge of a company's branding, including letterhead, business cards, advertising and other collateral pieces. They may also be the graphic designer in charge of a company's marketing campaign. They are knowledgeable about top digital graphic programs like InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop or Lightroom. Lead graphic designers are also up to date with the latest trends in digital advertising.

Job responsibilities of a Lead Graphic Designer include:

  • Creating eye-catching layouts for effective branding
  • Working independently on a variety of project simultaneously
  • Understanding the use of colors, inks and paper qualities
  • Maintaining print and vendor relationships and negotiating outside work

Senior Graphic Designer

Senior graphic directors create and manage an organization's visuals, including the layout of brochures, product briefs, pamphlets, and other collateral materials. They collaborate with other artists and delegate work amongst a team of designers. They must be creative and work with design software. They also need to meet deadlines while working quickly and accurately, and must be able to manage others.

Job responsibilities of a Senior Graphic Designer include:

  • Discussing ideas to conceptualize designs
  • Utilizing visual and digital tools such as photographs, animation, and images
  • Coordinating work between marketing teams, artists and clients
  • Creating templates, drafts and design specs for a company's design work

Related Careers

Lead and senior graphic designers posses skills that can translate to other career fields. Those interested in the hands-on work of a lead graphic designer might find the creative work of an animator interesting, as they use images to tell a story or sell a product. Someone interested in the management work of a senior graphic designer might consider the career of an art director, who is in charge of the visuals of a publication or production.

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