Career Definition for a Print Designer
Print designers use their technical and typographic skills to arrange and style words and numbers as they appear on a page. Their design activities include choosing font types, sizes and colors to create attractive headlines and text-based presentations that will catch the reader's eye. Determining letter and line spacing, integrating illustrations and photographs and laying out pages are also part of a print designer's responsibilities. Potential areas of employment include book and periodical publishers, ad agencies and design firms.
|Education||Bachelor's degree in graphic design|
|Job Skills||Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Quark Express, and typography|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$48,700 (graphic designers)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||4% (graphic designers)|
Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Aspiring print designers usually need a bachelor's degree in graphic design or a similar field of study to begin working professionally. High school coursework in art can help students prepare for entry into a 4-year degree program, which may include topics in computer-aided design, commercial art and printing. Additional courses in marketing and writing may be helpful; many programs culminate in the development of a professional portfolio. Industry associations and software companies may also offer short-term, formal training programs that can help print designers update or learn new skills and techniques.
Print designers should be proficient in the use of Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop and Quark Xpress. An understanding of consumer demographics and the aesthetic elements of typography are also important, as well as good communication and time-management skills.
Employment and Salary Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that art directors and graphic designers in general can expect a slower-than-average increase in employment prospects from 2016 to 2026 (4% for graphic designers and 5% for art directors). Designers working for book, directory, newspaper, or periodical publishers will see a 22% decrease in jobs during the same 10-year period. As of May 2017, art directors and graphic designers earned median annual salaries of $92,500 and $48,700, respectively (www.bls.gov).
Alternate Career Options
Similar career options within this field include:
Multimedia Artists and Animators
Multimedia artists and animators also use computer software to create designs, and their projects may include films, games, and online visuals. Education requirements are similar to those for graphic designers and may include majors in computer animation or art, fine art, game design or interactive media. As reported by the BLS, employment opportunities for multimedia artists and animators will increase at an average rate of 8% from 2016-2026. In May 2017, a multimedia artist or animator earned a median yearly salary of $70,530 (www.bls.gov).
Writers and Authors
Writers and authors, such as copywriters or generalists, research and write content for consumer ads, books, or print- and Web-based publications. Salaried and professional writers typically have a 4-year degree in communications, English, or journalism studies, as well as related expertise in multimedia or print design. According to the BLS, writers and authors will experience an 8%, or average, growth in employment from 2016-2026. Approximately two thirds of writers and authors were self-employed in May 2016; those on staff were paid a median yearly salary of $61,820 in 2017 (www.bls.gov).