Degrees in Graphic Design: Emerging Trends

Considering a Degree in Graphic Design? If you like art, computers, & drawing, then see the 2015 Emerging Trends. If you enjoy drawing and working on computers and would like to turn your interest into a career, you may want to consider a career as a graphic designer. Are you interested in earning a degree but can’t seem to fit it into your busy schedule? If this is the case, you may be the perfect candidate for distance learning. All this sound appealing to you? Continue reading and get some valuable information on how to become a graphic designer.
Degrees in Graphic Design - 2015 Emerging Trends

How to Become a Graphic Designer

Most careers in graphic design require the individual have at least a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or web design from an accredited school. Individuals who have bachelor degrees in other fields may take graphic design courses and earn degrees in graphic design. Students in these programs learn about the various types of graphic design and take courses in subjects such as commercial graphics production, studio art, computerized graphics and basic art, among others. Many of the graphic design programs also allow the student to complete a portfolio of his or her work to be used when seeking employment upon graduation. Depending on the school, the student may be required to complete basic art and design classes prior to starting the graphic design training program. High School students who intend to enroll in a graphic design program are encouraged to take basic art and design courses in high school to prepare them for the college program.

Where Can I Get a Degree in Graphic Design?

Individuals interested in earning a graphic design degree can find programs at many accredited colleges and universities. Additionally, more and more schools are now offering programs through distance learning or online education, including graphic design degree programs. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accredits many more than 320 schools; students may find it quite beneficial to find a school that’s NASAD-accredited. Although certification is voluntary, graphic designers who have obtained certification may find more favorable employment opportunities. Certification is often offered through computer software vendors.

What is Online Education Like?

Online education is very similar to on-campus schools yet has some major differences. Online education may be offered with 100% of the program through distance learning. In this type, students do all their work online at their convenience. Online education may also be in the form of a hybrid program. A student in a hybrid program will complete some work online and some courses in an actual classroom on campus. Online education has gained in popularity in recent years because it allows students who might not have been able to attend college to do it at home on their own time, without having to quit their jobs. Most online students feel that online courses offer a very pleasant user experience and the opportunity to communicate with other graphic design students. In addition to the excellent user experience, students also state that they benefit from one-on-one communication with instructors through e-mail, video and/or audio conferencing and webinars.

What Type of Careers in Graphic Design Are Available?

Graduates of graphic design training programs may find work as graphic designers, web designers or graphic design specialists. Once they’ve gained a couple years of experience, they may advance to higher positions such as creative director, chief designer or art director. Graphic designers often find opportunities in various industries such as manufacturing, wholesale, public relations, advertising, media and marketing. Graphic designers may specialize in a certain types of graphic design such as multimedia and web design, logo design, or drafting, among others. These types of careers generally require a lot of time on the computer or in an office setting. Some individuals may also become self-employed graphic designers and obtain freelance work with different companies. Graphic designers also have the option of joining professional organizations such as the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Graphic Artists Guild. Both of these organizations offer courses so members can keep up to date on training and skills. Keeping up with their skills and the latest technology is necessary for the graphic designer to be competitive in the job market.

Trends in the Graphic Design Industry

Graphic design has been around for several years and each decade, or year for that matter, seems to bring about changes and different trends in the graphic design industry. From contemporary and modern to country or classic, we’ve seen it all and enjoyed graphic design work in all these styles and more. According to 99designs, the trends for 2014 should be a lot of two different design styles: vintage and contemporary, with many styles symbolic of the 80s and 90s. In addition, they predict throughout the year, the designs most often seen will be the following:

  • Super-Geometric
  • Handiwork
  • Technical
  • Pragmatic
  • Retro-graphics

What is the Job Outlook for Graphic Designers?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for graphic designers is fairly good. The BLS predicts that graphic designers can expect an overall employment growth of 7% from 2012-2022. However, this growth should vary by industry. For instance, graphic designers work in the newspaper and publishing industry could expect to see a decline of 16% while those in computer systems design jobs may see a growth of up to 35% during that same decade. A BLS report indicates that the states with the highest level of employment for this occupation are California, New York, Florida, Texas and Illinois.

What Type of Salaries Do Graphic Designers Make?

Salaries for graphic designers may vary by many factors. The BLS reports that graphic designers nationwide earned an annual median wage of $44,830 as of May 2013, with the lower 10% earning $26,690 and the top 90% earning $79,260. According to a July 2014 report by, graphic designers earn an average wage of $50,575. Factors that may affect wages include location, industry, level of training and experience. Job outlook for graphic designers is also expected to be better for those who have knowledge of various areas of graphic design such as website design, media or print publications, according to the BLS. States where the highest wages were earned in 2013 were District of Columbia, New York, California, Maryland and Connecticut.