Alternative Careers for Graphic Designers

Jan 19, 2020

Career Options for Graphic Designers Seeking Alternative Careers

Graphic design professionals may work by hand or on computer design software to produce images. They also arrange or modify text, graphics and other visual elements to produce an overall design look for things like magazines. Experienced graphic designers may want to consider other career options that allow them to take advantage of their artistic design skills and ability to use design software.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Outlook (2018-2028)*
Set and Exhibit Designers $54,270 5%
Postsecondary Art Teacher $69,960 8%
Multimedia Artists and Animators $72,520 4%
Drafters $55,550 0%
Industrial Designers $66,590 3%
Fine Artists $49,380 1%
Fashion Designers $72,720 1%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Graphic Designers Seeking Alternative Careers

Set and Exhibit Designers

Set and exhibit designers usually need a bachelor's or master's degree to prepare for their career. They work with theater or film productions and make the designs for the set pieces needed. Graphic designers will be able to apply their skills with layout to set structures and use their artistic abilities to draft up plans. Since graphic designers have the education and talents needed for this career it's an occupation experiencing steady job growth that graphic designers may want to consider.

Postsecondary Art Teacher

A postsecondary education is required in order to enter most art or design professions, and this means that graphic artists with a master's or doctoral degree may want to consider becoming educators. Postsecondary art teachers are expected to see a strong job growth rate through 2024. They also earn the highest salary out of all the occupations explored here, which may be appealing to graphic designers considering a career change. Postsecondary art teachers teach their students, demonstrate skills and evaluate their students' work.

Multimedia Artists and Animators

Multimedia artists and animators are required to have a bachelor's degree in a major such as computer graphics, and like graphic artists, a portfolio demonstrating their work is crucial to their success. They use their design talents to make things like characters that are shown on screen during a video game. Their work involves drawing or constructing characters or backdrops by hand or on a computer. Graphic artists may opt to move into this field so they can take advantage of their creative talents.


Drafters can work by hand or use computer programs to produce things like schematics for products or blueprints for structures. They can specialize in different fields, such as electrical and electronics or architecture. An associate's degree or certificate is required. Graphic designers will have the artistic and computer skills needed to work effectively in this field.

Industrial Designers

Since graphic designers understand how to produce the visual effect they desire, they may find they are very successful working as an industrial designer. Industrial designers need a bachelor's degree, and they use their abilities to create or modify design plans for products. They may create the design plans for cars or appliances or other items, such as toys. They need to be able to work with computer design programs and have artistic abilities, and these are skills graphic designers have.

Fine Artists

Fine artists can start a career in this field without any formal education, although a fine art degree may be an asset. Fine artists include sketch artists. These professionals use their artistic talents to produce images that may be drawn by hand or painted. Graphic artists have a good sense of design and know how to combine elements effectively, so they may be ideally suited to a fine arts career.

Fashion Designers

Fashion designers can help shape trends in the fashion industry by producing a new design for accessories, such as handbags or clothing. They usually need a bachelor's degree in fashion design or a similar subject area. Graphic designers may find this to be a good career alternative because they can take advantage of their design skills and ability to use computer design software.

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