Graphic Design as a Career: A Crash Course

Shannel Wheeler
3 min readFeb 19
Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

🤔 What is graphic design?

Graphic design is visual communication for an intended audience. They compose type and imagery to create these visual messages in an effort to market, sell, inform, persuade, or inspire. Because of this, there are many visual problems to solve and opportunities across many industries.

💻 What can designers create?

Graphic designers communicate visual messages in many forms: logos, visual identities, marketing collateral, infographics, publications, presentation decks, packaging, signage, digital graphics, ads, website design, and much, much more.

✅ What does it require?

Graphic design requires the application of design principles (like color, typography, message, contrast, etc.), creativity, critical thinking skills, the use of data/information, a design process, and tools like a computer, pen/paper, and design software. A designer combines these skills to solve visual problems, often collaborating with others. They must be willing to iterate, receive constructive criticism and apply objective reasoning to visually communicate to the intended audience.

➡️ How to become a designer

There’s more than one way to create a desired career path. Designers can attain formal education or be self-taught. But they must first understand what learning path works best for them and the requirements of the future opportunities they want to acquire. Design careers can include employment, freelance, entrepreneurship, education, content/asset creation, or a mix of them all. One does not have to know how to draw very well to become a designer; however, one must be able to compose imagery and type and be able to clearly express ideas.

💰 How much do they make?

According to various sources, the national median salary for a graphic designer is around $50K (here’s a source from U.S. News). But this certainly changes depending on factors like geographic location, level of education/experience, job roles and titles, the industry, and the type of company. There is no ceiling to earning potential once a designer realizes their power to create, the vast sea of people…

Shannel Wheeler

Creative professional, designer, author, instructor. Creating with purpose. Teaching and inspiring by design. Start learning design: