Graphic Design

Graphic designers are in the business of visual communication: using images to communicate a message or an idea to others. It can take several forms: websites, posters, logos, books and motion graphics, plus many more. Employment opportunities for graphic designers are available both nationally and internationally.

Graphic Designers will have typically developed a range of skills and abilities to:

  • apply their learning in different contextual frameworks
  • generate ideas, concepts, proposals, solutions or arguments independently and collaboratively in response to set briefs and self-initiated activity
  • use convergent and divergent thinking in observing, investigating, enquiring, visualising and making and to develop ideas through to material outcomes
  • manage the interaction between intention, process, outcome, context and dissemination
  • apply resourcefulness and entrepreneurial skills to their own practice or that of others
  • employ materials, media, techniques, methods, technologies and tools with skill and imagination whilst observing good working practices
  • study independently, set goals, manage their own workloads and meet deadlines
  • anticipate and accommodate change, and handle ambiguity, uncertainty, and unfamiliarity
  • analyse information and experiences, formulate independent judgements, and articulate reasoned arguments through reflection, review and evaluation
  • identify personal strengths and needs
  • interact effectively with others through collaboration, collective endeavour and negotiation
  • articulate ideas and information comprehensibly in visual, oral and written forms
  • present ideas and work to audiences in a range of situations
  • source, navigate, select, retrieve, evaluate, manipulate and manage information
  • select and employ communication and information technologies.

Career Options

To build a successful career as a graphic designer you will need to combine your technical flair and knowledge with creativity and imagination. You will also need to have excellent communication skills in order to ensure that you have understood a client's brief and that you have conveyed your own ideas in a manner that makes it easy for the client to understand.

Graphic designers are primarily employed in the advertising, marketing and PR industries, but alternative employers may include publishing houses, media companies, games developers and web design consultancies. Don't forget though, that Graphic Designers are also employed throughout a range of "non-creative" industries from construction companies to the public sector.

The following links will allow you to explore some of the roles open to a graduate with a graphic design degree.

Career Progression

It’s essential that you have a good working knowledge of software packages such as: Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Flash. Your portfolio should demonstrate the range and depth of your skills, knowledge and creativity. You would be well advised to take every opportunity to develop new skills and be as innovative as possible in your work. Recruiters are looking for someone with talent certainly, but they are also looking for someone with passion and determination.

Suggested Reading

How to be a graphic designer, without losing your soul (Adrian Shaughnessy)


Chapters include: Attributes needed by the modern designer / How to find a job / Being freelance / Setting up a studio / Running a studio / Winning new work / Clients / Self-promotion / The creative process

This book should prove very useful. It will help you to consider what it is to be a designer and understand the professional frameworks you may find yourself in. It contains information, guidance and advice that is very pertinent to both briefs in the Professional Studies module and for design specialism module considerations. Plus, it’s a lovely piece of design in its own right. Win win!

Last modified: 
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - 14:19