Print Designer: Job Description & Career Info

Print designers combine images and text to create the layouts for advertising and marketing campaigns. Continue reading to learn more about essential degree and technical requirements, as well as information about job growth and salary potential for art directors and graphic designers who may specialize in print design.

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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 (2015)* $46,900 per year - $22.55 per hour (graphic designers)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 1% (little or no change) (graphic designers)

Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

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.

Required Skills

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 2014 to 2024 (1% for graphic designers and 2% for art directors). Designers working for book, directory, newspaper, or periodical publishers will see a 21% decrease in jobs during the same 10-year period. As of May 2015, art directors and graphic designers earned median annual salaries of $89,760 and $46,900, 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 6% from 2014-2024. In May 2015, a multimedia artist or animator earned a median yearly salary of $63,970 (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 a 2%, or slower-than-average, growth in employment from 2014-2024. Approximately two thirds of writers and authors were self-employed in May 2014; those on staff were paid a median yearly salary of $60,250 in 2015 (www.bls.gov).

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