Become a Typographer: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Aug 08, 2018

Research the requirements to become a typographer. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in typography. View article »

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  • 0:04 Should I Become a Typographer?
  • 0:39 Career Info and Skills
  • 1:26 Step 1: Education
  • 1:55 Step 2: Internship and…
  • 2:37 Step 3: Employment

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Typographer?

Typographers are experts who design or style type for online and print publications. They are sometimes referred to as desktop publishers and layout artists. While they get to make use of their creative talents, they often experience the stress of having to meet deadlines, which may require having to work long hours.

Educational backgrounds vary, but many typographers complete some form of postsecondary education, such as an associate's degree program. Some community colleges or trade schools offer non-degree awards or independent courses in desktop publishing. Training can also be gained on the job.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's degrees are common
Degree Fields Graphic design, graphic arts, graphic communications
Experience Entry-level, though experience can be an alternative for formal training
Key Skills Attention to detail, creativity, communication skills; technical skill with data-conversion software, graphic design software (like Adobe), desktop publishers and scanning programs
Salary (2015) $39,840 (median annual wage for all desktop publishers), while graphic designers earned $46,900

Between 2014-2024, desktop publishers can expect a 21% decrease in employment. During the same period, graphic designers will see minimal to no change in job opportunities.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine

Step 1: Education

Typographers often prepare for this occupation by earning associate's degrees in graphic design or a related field. Less commonly, people meet the training qualifications by earning bachelor's degrees or non-degree awards, such as certificates. Associate's degree programs in and related to graphic design introduce students to the fundamentals of graphic arts as well as the most current technology. Coursework typically covers topics in computerized design and page layout, digital media, studio art, and of course, typography.

Step 2: Internship & Portfolio

Many employers prefer topographers who have experience preparing layouts. Students preparing for careers in typography can gain entry-level experience by participating in internships during college. Degree programs in graphic design typically include some form of internship or field training. These experiences can help students build a portfolio.

In the graphic design field, a portfolio can be the determining factor for getting hired, and employers often favor applicants who provide proof of quality work. During college, aspiring typographers can assemble their strongest samples, acquired from class projects and work done during internships. In fact, graphic design degree programs typically offer courses that help students create impressive portfolios.

Step 3: Employment

Graduates of graphic design programs can pursue employment in the publishing industry, which is one of the biggest employers of typographers and other desktop publishers. Advertising firms also employ these workers. After getting hired, typographers continue to learn occupational skills and typography techniques on the job by observing other, more experienced professionals.

Success Tip

  • Pursue continuing education. Due to ongoing and rapid changes in computer technology and desktop publishing software, typographers usually need continual training to stay abreast of advancements in graphic design applications. Individuals might pursue continuing education through typography courses and seminars.

Let's quickly go over what we just discussed in this lesson. Typographers who design or style type for online and print publications usually have an associate's degree in graphic design, or other closely related fields. Those employed as desktop publishers and graphic designers in May of 2015 earned $39,840 and $46,900 respectively.

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