Multimedia Graphic Designer: Education and Career Roadmap

Multimedia graphic designers often develop websites, advertising materials and other digital content. While in college, multimedia graphic designers can learn necessary computer and design skills as well as build portfolios that can help them gain employment. View article »

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Multimedia Graphic Designer?

Multimedia graphic designers work on both print and motion graphics that combine the use of art and technology. The field of graphic design typically focuses on using text and images to create illustrations for print and website productions. However, graphic designers with training in multimedia may also create animations and visual effects for use in videos.

These professionals often work in the advertising, marketing, or the public relations industry, although, those who focus more on motions graphics may work for animation or motion picture companies. Multimedia graphic designers work full time, usually independently or as part of a design team. Working extended hours to meet deadlines is common for this field.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Graphic design, computer graphics, or web and multimedia
Experience 1-3 years for candidates seeking career advancement; professional portfolio
Certification Voluntary certification available
Key Skills Artistic, creative, communication, computer, and time-management skills
Salary $46,900 per year (2015 median salary for all graphic designers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Online Job Posting (July 2015)

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Steps to Becoming a Multimedia Graphic Designer

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most graphic designers, including multimedia graphic artists, need a bachelor's degree. Programs in art, graphic design, multimedia, or a related discipline teach students fundamental principles in areas such as color theory, design, drawing, animation, digital media, and Web design. Additional training in creating visual effects and editing videos may also be provided. These degree programs often expose students to essential graphic design software and multimedia applications used to create still and animated graphics for a variety of mediums, such as video games, art installations, and digital presentations.

Step 2: Obtain an Internship

Participating in an internship while in college allows students to apply their skills to real-world design projects and work with professionals to gain knowledge about the graphic design field. Internships also offer students a chance to network with industry professionals, which can lead to entry-level jobs and could provide a way for students to create or improve their portfolios. The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) states that a good internship provides students with an opportunity to work directly with senior level designers or art directors.

Step 3: Build a Portfolio

A portfolio, which is a collection of an artist's best work, often determines whether or not a candidate gets the job. Multimedia graphic designers can start building their portfolios while in college, using student assignments and samples created while interning. A good portfolio typically includes a versatile collection of work with a broad range of samples.

Step 4: Consider Certification and Joining a Professional Organization

Although not required, certification can demonstrate to employers that a candidate has proficiency in using the latest graphic design software, which can lead to career advancement. According to the BLS, certifications in this field are typically offered through software development companies. For example, Adobe offers the Adobe Certified Expert credential at the single product, specialist, and master level. Some of the products multimedia graphic designers can get certified in include Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator. In addition to obtaining certification, designers who are members of professional organizations, such as the AIGA and the Graphic Artists Guild, may have better employment and networking opportunities.

Multimedia graphic designers should have a bachelor's degree in art, graphic design, or multimedia; one to three years of experience; a professional portfolio; and optional software certification.

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