Layout Artist: Job Description, Duties and Salary Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a layout artist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

Layout artists communicate information visually by assembling components to create a visual design. They can work with type styles and images. With experience in the field, they can advance to supervisory positions.

Essential Information

A layout artist collects and assembles type styles and images, such as illustrations, photographs and drawings, to create a visual design in a computer or on paper. The layout artist is one of several types of commercial artists known as graphic designers who deliver ideas and information through visual communications. These professionals must possess artistic skills and are typically required to hold a bachelor's degree in a field pertaining to art or graphic design.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Artistic abilities and knowledge of page-layout software
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 1% for all graphic designers
Median Salary (2015)* $46,900 for all graphic designers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Once a design has been approved, the layout artist lays it out based on knowledge of design principles, including color, shape and balance, and layout principles. Next, a paste-up artist prepares the final design for the printer or for the Web. Some graphic designers do all these things: design, layout and paste up. Layout and graphic artists typically work in advertising agencies, design studios, package design companies and art departments of corporations, as well as in television studios and on publications. Many are freelancers.

Career Progress

Once a graphic designer has built 1-3 years experience, promotion to higher levels of responsibility is possible. In a large advertising agency, for example, a layout artist might move into a supervisory position like art or creative director. Other graphic artists become teachers in art and design schools.


Layout artists work with software, such as the page-layout systems InDesign, PageMaker and Quark. They determine the color and size of type for the layout and the illustrations to be included. At times, the layout artist is the graphic artist who develops the design; at other times, the layout artist simply produces the graphic designer's concept.


Layout artists must be skilled at drawing, because drawings often need to be included in a layout. In addition to having artistic abilities, the artist must also be exact and accurate in preparing layouts for production. The layout artist and most graphic designers must also be able to work well with others since interaction with clients, other designers, production people, photographers and printers is often essential. Graphic designers sometimes need to be skilled at research since, increasingly, consumer information and knowledge is needed to design product packages or ads.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for graphic designers in May 2015 was $46,900, and the median hourly wage was $22.55. During that same period, the state with greatest number of graphic designers was California, which was home to 28,940 designers and paid an average salary of $59,420.

In general, it's expected that graphic artists would face strong competition for jobs in the future. Designers with experience in Web design and interactive media were expected to have the most job opportunities. The number employed in the field of graphic design was expected to see little to no change from 2014 until 2024, the BLS reported. Increasingly, graphic designers are involved with designs for multimedia, interactive media (like cell phones) and the Internet.

A layout artist uses shapes, colors, type styles, and images to create a layout for print or the Internet. They may create product packages, advertisements, or other items based on the needs of the client. A bachelor's degree is common for these professionals.

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