Job Description of a Billboard Designer

Sep 22, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a billboard designer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, training and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

As a billboard designer, you could work with companies to create advertising material for display either outdoors or online. A bachelor's degree is usually required for this job, as well as creativity and the ability to collaborate with others.

Essential Information

Billboard designers typically conceptualize advertising campaigns for use on roadside billboards. However, billboard designers may also be known for creating e-billboards on websites. Most designers work with a team of advertising professionals. Some billboard designers are freelancers and work as independent contractors for several advertising companies. This job may appeal to a creative individual who is interested or has talent in the field of visual arts, both in a digital and physical sense, and who is not afraid to take their talents into the field of commercial advertising.

Recommended Education Bachelor's degree in graphic design or related field*
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 3% (graphic designers in general)*
Average Salary (2018) $54,680 (graphic designers in general)*

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Billboard Designer Job Description

Roadside Billboard Designer

Billboard designers are usually graphic designers who specialize in outdoor advertising. Many work for advertising companies that market new products for clients. Billboard designers create short advertising messages that can be read easily by people driving at highway speeds. Designers choose images and colors with a high contrast to attract viewers. They must also keep in mind billboard size and lighting. The majority of designers supply small-scale sketches of the billboard for the client to approve before the billboard design goes up.

Digital billboards are a newer form of technology that billboard designers must consider. Some of these digital signs are used by government agencies to send out warnings about heavy traffic or for AMBER Alerts. Commercial digital billboards typically shuffle through dozens of billboard advertising images. Since the digital billboard flashes through image after image, digital billboard designers have to make their billboard standout from the rest through exciting graphics and vibrant colors.

Online Billboard Designer

Although not a traditional billboard, online advertising found on the margins or banners of web pages can be considered a form of e-billboard advertising. Pop-up windows can also be e-billboards, if designed properly. Similar to outdoor advertising, e-billboard designers create attractive ads using short catchy phrases. Online billboard designers typically need knowledge of coding and animation techniques.

Education Requirements

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that graphic designers, including billboard designers, usually required a bachelor's degree in graphic design, fine arts or visual media (www.bls.gov). Coursework in graphic design programs includes drawing, visual advertising, typesetting and photography. The program delves into graphic manipulation and website design software, as well as marketing and commercial graphics production.

Additional Skills

Designers need the ability to communicate their ideas to clients and fellow staff members. Many designers combine verbal descriptions with rough illustrations of their ideas. Designers also need strong listening skills to understand what the client wants and what the billboard advertisement needs to display.

Creativity and problem-solving skills are essential for this position. Unlike regular advertising, billboards are usually read quickly, so designers must come up with a catchy ad campaign using less than ten words. Since advertising and design trends change frequently, billboard designers must keep up with the latest changes in the industry. Some designers choose to attend conventions to keep updated on new trends, whereas others read trade magazines. Designers may also consider taking continued education coursework to keep up-to-date on new technology within the graphic design industry.

Career Info

The BLS predicts that graphic designers, professionals with the most in common with billboard designers, can expect to see a 3% increase in employment opportunities from 2018-2028. The BLS also reported that graphic designers earned a mean annual salary of $54,680 in May 2018; however, those working in advertising, public relations and related services, which could include billboard design, earned slightly more, at an average of $55,750 that year.

Billboard designers typically hold a bachelor's degree in fine arts, graphic design, or a related discipline, and they turn customer's ideas into catchy, easy to read graphics for both physical and online billboards. Job opportunities for graphic designers, including those who design billboards, are expected to increase at a slow rate of 3% over the 2018-2028 decade.

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