Design Specialist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Design specialists require significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and employment outlook to see if this is the right career for you.

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Aspiring design specialists typically require two things before entering the job market - a bachelor's degree in graphic design, and a solid portfolio to showcase their talents. The subjects that students in design programs usually study range from instruction in industry software, such as Photoshop, to courses in typography and illustration.

Essential Information

Graphic design specialists work with electronic and print media to design corporate logos, film titles, web sites and books. They often work for marketing and media management firms. A bachelor's degree in graphics design is typically required, as well as a solid work portfolio.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Additional Requirements Solid understanding of design software and work portfolio
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 1% for graphic designers
Median Salary (2015)* $46,900 for graphic designers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Design Specialist Job Description

Graphic design specialists help clients communicate an appealing image through digital, electronic and print media. They may design logos, brochures, signs, movie credits and web site graphics.

Designers often work for advertising, marketing and media management firms. They assess client problems and design graphic solutions to aid product branding and sales. They must be culturally sensitive in order to create images that are favorably received by consumers.

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Design Specialist Job Duties

Job duties vary according to designer specialization. Design specialists work with computers and may also draw sketches. They choose artwork, colors and type size to produce an effective visual image. They must have expertise with software graphics in order to design layouts and create animation effects.

Multimedia designers use computer graphics to animate ideas and information with sound and movement. Designers who work on films create titles and credits to evoke a feeling that mirrors the movie theme. Print designers may create charts or use a certain color or typeface to highlight text. Graphic design specialists work to enhance:

  • Books and magazines
  • Computer games
  • Film titles
  • Web sites
  • Exhibits
  • Signage
  • Educational material
  • Product packaging
  • Brochures
  • Logos
  • Business publications

Design Specialist Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree in graphic design is usually required to obtain work in the field. However, associate degrees and certificates from professional design schools may lead to entry-level jobs.

Design coursework is offered in a studio setting. Students develop design and critical thinking skills through project-based coursework. General education courses in liberal arts, psychology and marketing may help designers to gain cultural understanding. Design coursework includes the study of:

  • Design software
  • Typography
  • Design principles
  • Photoshop
  • Illustration
  • Web site design

Requirements for Career Advancement

Designers with a bachelor's degree generally need one to three years of experience before they can advance to managerial positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2015 that graphic designers had a median salary of $46,900, and predicted workers could see employment growth of 1% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov).

Design specialists typically hold a bachelor's degree in graphic design and work in industries focused on media, advertising, and marketing. Their design expertise may be required across numerous platforms, such as brochures, logos, magazines, web sites, and product packaging. Little job growth is projected in this field from 2014-2024, and the median salary for graphic designers was about $47,000 in 2015.

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