July 27, 2016
Internships, Part-Time & Entry-Level Jobs
Entry-Level Graphic Design Job Guide
Junior graphic designers are problem solvers that communicate through visual mediums. In other words, they create and employ type, images, animations, and other design elements to help communicate ideas, advertisements, products, interfaces, and more. Another related, potentially confusing term is “visual design”. While graphic and visual design have subtle differences, they are very similar design disciplines in the current employment market.
What is an Entry-Level Graphic Designer?
It’s common for entry-level graphic designers to go 1 of 2 routes: join an agency, or work for a company that produces a product (in-house).
- Agency designers typically work on a multitude of projects for a diverse group of clients. The beginning roles are often production related, requiring a designer to spend their days in Photoshop or Illustrator churning tweaking mockups, photos, and minute illustrations.
- In-house designers typically work on a single company’s product, marketing or advertising teams. They are often responsible for the visual communication of the company’s product or service on their website, in written publications, on social media, and most other channels.
It’s easy to get confused by all of the different types of design jobs available to recent grads. Here is a good guide
to help you differentiate between the available careers.
Common Responsibilities of Entry-Level Graphic Designers
Some primary tasks include things like:
- Creating or editing illustrations in Illustrator.
- Building compositions with type and imagery for advertising.
- Developing brand language and guidelines for companies to use to communicate their brand.
- Creating a visual system to convey emotion and feeling through an interface (UI).
- Implementing visual designs in CSS on the internet for clients / companies.
Types of Entry-Level Graphic Design Jobs
As long as you stick strictly to the terms “Entry-Level Graphic Designer”, you’re not going to find too many different types of jobs. The primary differences you’ll notice are agency versus in-house (as mentioned above), and the medium on which you’ll produce your work. Some companies are purely digital (e.g. tech startups) and will have you working fully digitally. Other companies will still work at least partially in print (e.g. publications) and you’ll be spending time in InDesign or similar programs as well.
If you step outside of the strict search terms, you’ll find there are several ways to search for relevant roles, for example:
The median salary for entry-level graphic designers is $39,645.
The range is $29,674 – $54,421.
Location is one the largest factors in calculating salary, so it’s particularly helpful to consider the entire salary range.
The Bureau of Labor expects the number of graphic design jobs to grow by only 1% over the next 10 years.
Who Typically Gets These Jobs
Every year, we survey over 20,000 students and recent grads in an effort to understand the internship and entry-level job market. Based on the results of our State of Hiring report, the students or recent graduates that apply to these entry-level jobs have several things in common:
- While many students are willing to look at jobs unrelated to their major, graphic design majors are not. 80% of them only want to consider design jobs. However, getting a full-time design job is hard. 43% of recent graduates currently employed are not working in a design role.
- New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle are the most popular destination for graphic design grads.
- Graphic design majors often work side jobs during school. Over 80% have had a paid side job. Employers see this as a major benefit when looking to hire a new employee.
- Only 26% of graduating seniors majoring in graphic design have no internship experience.
- 54% have taken a computer science course.
- Most graphic design students expect to have between $25,000 and $75,000 in debt when they graduate.
- Almost 40% of seniors majoring in graphic design have taken an online course related to their major.
Related Entry-Level Fields
Despite it being somewhat rare that graphic design majors seek jobs outside of their immediate major, it does happen. When they do go outside, here are the areas they’re most likely to look at:
- It never hurts to brush up on a few graphic design topics. You can take a few online courses to get back in the swing of things.
- For more salary information, head over to Payscale.
- For more advice on starting your entry-level job search, check out our guide!
- And finally, to prepare for an entry-level job interview, prepare for the top 20 entry-level job interview questions.