graphic design career outlook

Graphic Arts Jobs and the Graphic Designer Career Outlook


Updated By Joshua Weekes on October 14, 2020

Figuring out what you want to study in college isn’t easy. It’s a big decision that will likely affect the trajectory of your life—both professional and private. But it’s a great feeling once you discover what you love to study, what you’re passionate about, and what you truly enjoy learning.

If you’re the type who is drawn to the creative side of things, you might want to choose to study graphic arts. But you probably have a few questions: where can I work as a graphic artist? What can I expect from the job market in terms of job availability? What type of degree do I need to get a job as a designer?

Let’s take a look at what it means to have a degree in graphic arts, the types of training you can get with a graphic arts degree from Independence University, the graphic arts job outlook, and the types of graphic arts jobs you can get. But first, what is graphic arts?

What Is Graphic Arts?

On a basic level, graphic arts is visual expressions created on a flat surface. However, graphic arts in practice today focuses on digital mediums and using tools like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. Designing logos, page layout, typography, banners, advertisements, product packaging, signage, and so much more can fall under the purview of a graphic artist.

What Training Do I Get with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Arts at IU?

Independence University’s Bachelor of Science in Graphic Arts is a 37-month-long program. Once completed, you will be equipped with an array of useful skills and knowledge to help you enter the workforce more prepared than ever—and be fully qualified for positions in the graphic arts field.

At IU, our online Bachelor of Science in Graphic Arts program teaches the following skills:

  • Typography
  • Information design
  • Page layout design
  • Logo and identity design
  • Package design

You’ll also learn how to use tools such as:

  • Photoshop®
  • InDesign®
  • Illustrator®

Skills in each of these design principles, along with ability with common graphic design programs, prepare our graduates to find their chosen career path.

Graphic Arts Degree Job and Industry Outlook

Skilled graphic artists and designers are in demand, although job growth is slower than average compared to other occupations:

  • The graphic design market share data put the annual growth of the graphic design industry in the United States between the years 2014 and 2019 at 3.5%.
  • The growth rate between 2016 and 2026 is expected to hit 4%, with an expected 11,000 additional jobs added to the pool.

Find the Right Career with a Degree in Graphic Arts

A degree in graphic arts can open up quite a few career options. Most companies have some sort of design work around their logo, company brand, etc. Other companies exist purely to create logos and campaigns for other companies. The possibilities of what you can do for graphic arts jobs are extensive.

Popular Jobs You Can Get with a Degree in Graphic Arts

  • Graphic Designer: Graphic designers use visual communication to problem-solve (sell products or convey ideas) through many media, such as photography, typography, and illustration. Work as a freelance graphic designer or see what graphic designer jobs are out there in various companies. Whether the company has an in-house graphic design team or they’re outsourcing for their content, both options present you with opportunities to find a job as a graphic designer.
  • Production Artist: A production artist is an indispensable part of a design team and helps create print advertisements, digital graphics, packaging, and more. They must have great layout skills, and they often are in charge of organizing and formatting digital files, retouching images, and many other tasks to assist the design team.
  • Layout Artist: Layout artists are often in charge of formatting and arranging the layout of images, graphics, and text to tell a story or communicate specific information. They must possess a firm grasp of design principles, including how color, contrast, typeface, and much more will enhance how an advertisement, webpage, book, etc.
  • Art Director: To become an art director, you may need many years of relevant experience, but this is a position that you could aim for as you progress in your graphic design career. An art director leads a team of creatives in industries such as film and television, fashion, advertising, marketing, etc.

Highest-Earning Related Jobs

The highest-earning jobs you’ll get with a degree in graphic design will be any sort of managerial or director position. As with most jobs that are higher up the pay scale, these types of jobs will require in-depth knowledge of graphic design and a high level of expertise that can only be gained from years of on-the-job experience.

The highest-ranked jobs you can get with a graphic design degree and years’ worth of experience include Art Director, Creative Director and Chief Creative Officer.

Career Advancement with a Graphic Arts Degree

When considering your options for career advancement as a graduate with a graphic arts degree, keep in mind that you may need to start out at an entry-level graphic design job. A graphic arts degree can help you get your foot in that door. From there, as you gather more experience and add more skills to your toolkit, you can move into more rewarding positions.

It’s also important to know that a career in graphic arts or graphic design is not dead. Rather, it’s just competitive. There are a lot of people out there who want the jobs you’re looking at.

Be better prepared to scale the job ladder faster by setting yourself apart from the competition and learn more today about what a graphic design degree from Independence University can teach you.

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