Magazine Designer Job Description


A magazine designer is is responsible for the look of a publication. Magazine designers build advertisements and graphics and use photos and other forms of artwork to create covers and inside pages. They need to be highly innovative and able to understand their magazine’s demographic, analyze trends and pay close attention to what the competition is doing.


  • Magazine designers meet with editors, circulation directors and advertising managers to coordinate the appearance of their upcoming issue. Occasionally, magazine designers also work with photographers gathering ideas on the best way to present their work. Designers select typefaces and fonts for the magazine’s cover and headlines and create the artwork that is used with each story, knowing how the elements complement each other. They add variations to the all-important “flag,” or the title of the magazine that appears at the top of each issue and acts as the publication’s trademark or logo. Some design accompanying websites as well.


  • A magazine designer must be creative and possess strong communication skills to relay her design ideas to editors and other managers. Sometimes she takes someone else’s idea, such as one from a client who wants a certain look to an ad, and builds on it. She also needs a firm grasp of how to use publication-related design software, such as Adobe's InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. On top of those things, a magazine designer should be organized and professional and must be able to work well alone or as a member of a team.


  • Most magazines prefer candidates with previous experience in creative artwork -- either with newspapers or ad agencies -- when hiring a designer. Some require a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on courses in graphic design, communications, printing techniques and perhaps journalism and communications.


  • Jobs for graphic designers are expected to increase by 7 percent during the 2012 to 2022 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That growth rate is slower than average for all occupations. While the BLS provided no specific data for magazine designers, it is likely their employment will increase along with the rest of the industry. Graphic designers will face strong competition. Magazine designers who also have experience designing websites will have an advantage over their competitors.


  • The BLS reported that graphic designers in the publication industry made a median salary of $44,150 per year in 2012. Much of a designer’s salary is based on experience, as well as the size of the magazine.

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  • Photo Credit Ciaran Griffin/Photodisc/Getty Images
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