Graphic designer

What they do

Graphic designers specialise in any of a number of artistic and professional disciplines which focus on visual communication and presentation. They work with a range of visual media, including drawings, paintings, photography, digital media or a combination of all these to create and combine symbols, images and text. These are used as visual representations of ideas and messages, often for magazines, advertisements, product packaging, websites or public display. Graphic designers also prepare sketches, diagrams, illustrations and comprehensive layouts of designs, and liaise with clients about the desired concept outcome.

Working conditions

Graphic designers work in an office or studio space, depending on their employer or, if they are self-employed, can work from home. They usually work with computers and need to be proficient with a range of specialist design software. Their work environment should have excellent lighting.

Graphic designers may be required to work long hours if they are on a strict deadline and may be required to produce designs within a quick turnaround period. Graphic designers may either work as part of a larger design team, specialising in one particular aspect of design, or they may work alone, covering all aspects of a design project. As is the case in many creative industries, demand for these designers can vary according to client need.

Tools and technologies

Graphic designers require a strong visual sense, and depending on their specific role or the type of design in which they specialise, they will usually need to know how to use drawing and possibly drafting tools. These tools may include drawing boards, rulers, protractors, compasses, metric templates and other drawing tools, and possibly computer-aided design (CAD).

In addition, graphic designers will also require a working knowledge of design software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw, Painter, FireWorks, Flash or 3D Studio Max. Increasingly, graphic designers are also required to be familiar with code used to develop web pages such as HTML and CSS.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a graphic designer, you usually need gain a qualification in graphic design.

The Certificate IV in Design (Graphic Design), the Diploma of Graphic Design and the Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a training provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website or visit the My Skills website.

You can also complete a degree majoring in graphic design or creative advertising and graphic design. Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.