Skills Needed to Become a Graphic Designer


Becoming a graphic designer can be a great career boost. If you enjoy working with people and new technology, you may have the required skills. Other abilities develop over time, and as a graphic designer you can specialize in one or many fields, depending on what interests you. From video games to websites to print media, graphic design encompasses many different industries and can provide you with many opportunities.


  • Many graphic designers get a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) Degree in the area of design they prefer. Others choose to go through the Adobe Certified Expert exams to gain professional level certification.

Software Skills

  • The software knowledge necessary varies depending on the kind of design you'll being doing. Print designers will want to know Quark Xpress, InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Web designers need skills in Flash, Fireworks and Dreamweaver in addition to Photoshop and some Illustrator. Designers in the film industry will have an entirely different suite of software to learn.

Other Skills

  • In addition to knowing the software, a variety of other skills are necessary. Some of these include assembling story boards, taking direction, helping clients express ideas in a concrete way, multi-tasking, turning abstract concepts into physical artwork and a knowledge of the commercial printing process or other industry in which you work.


  • Salaries vary greatly, depending on the position and industry. You may choose to work for yourself and become a freelancer. Printing tends to pay the least, with wages for a Desktop Publisher beginning as low as $8 to $10 per hour. Advertising and the movie industry (animation and DVD splash screens) earn the highest numbers. An Art Director at a large ad agency could easily earn six figures annually.

Entry-Level Positions

  • Graphic designers can find jobs as desktop publishers, junior graphic designers, production artists, prepress technicians, web designers, and production assistants directly out of school. Many printing companies hire self-starters without education and allow them to work their way up.

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