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Job-a-palooza - Graphic Designer
by Cheryl Pickett

InterviewGet Ready$$Other Resources


Even though you may not realize it, you see the work of graphic designers every day. That's because they're the ones who create everything from flyers that come in the mail, to many of the ads and shows you see on TV.

Graphic Designers are very creative, because it's their job to bring people's ideas to life. In fact, the web site you're reading right now was put together by someone who works with graphic design. If you like drawing, coloring, photography and working on the computer, this could be a great job for you.

Graphic Designers can work in many different areas:

Advertising: Graphic designers at advertising companies create everything from cool logos to packaging for DVDs or cereal boxes. If you like to help your Mom with scrapbook layouts, or if you're an expert at using your computer's photo software, graphic design may be in your future.

Publishing: Companies that print things for people to read like newspapers, books and magazines need people to design every page. If your school or place of worship has a newspaper or newsletter, you could volunteer to help out. It's a great way to find out more about this job.

Websites & Video: Every website you visit, every video game you play and all the cartoons you watch on TV are put together using graphic design. There's lots of drawing involved and there's also some computer programming too. If you really enjoy art and computers, you could be on your way to creating games or sites of your own some day.

Interview with Graphic Designer, Chris Nierhaus:

Graphic DesignerChris has loved to design and draw things using his imagination for as long as he can remember. Growing up, pencils, paper, markers and paints could keep him busy for hours. Later, when he was ready for college, he chose one especially for students who like visual arts.

At that time (a few years before you were even born), computers weren't used much in the classroom yet, and most people didn't have one at home. "Everything was drawn by hand with pen and ink or pencil." As it turned out, dreaming up things to sketch as a kid had been great practice.

While still in college, Chris was offered a job where he'd get to do something he'd always wanted to do-he could help design cars! This was the first of a wide variety of jobs he would have in the field of graphic design over the next ten years.

Not long after he started working for the auto company in the styling area, he had the opportunity to move to a different position. He was then asked to build a web site. Problem was, he had no idea how to do this! Fortunately, he was given a couple of months to accomplish the task.

He'd taught himself how to do new things in the past, so he got started right away by buying software called Photoshop™ in order to learn what he needed to do. For several weeks, he studied and experimented over and over again, until he'd mastered basic web design skills. Once he'd done this, he decided he liked this new job, and wanted to learn and do even more.

From there Chris started his own part-time business and he's been helping people with his creative talents ever since. His clients have included all sorts of businesses and projects such as menus for a restaurant, logos for inventors and web sites for dentists, a landscaper, and an author.

As you can probably tell, if you like doing different stuff on a regular basis, graphic design could be the perfect job for you. That's one aspect that has kept Chris in the industry for so long, "as a designer you get so much variety. Every time you work, it's something completely different."

What You Can Do to Get Ready:

Chris's advice is very simple, "draw, draw, draw." Also, you don't have to worry about the computer at first. "Just use paper and pencil, it's faster. I still start most of my projects that way."

You might want to check out a computer or art camp during the summer too. Later on, you'll want to take classes at a college or trade school. You can also read books and work with basic programs on your own like Chris did.

What it Pays:

Because there are so many types of jobs and possible places to work, income for graphic designers can vary quite a bit. If you're hired after college, you might start out around $24,000 a year. As you gain more experience, income can go to $50,000 and above.

If you have your own business, how much you make depends on how many customers you can handle and the amount of money you charge them. You can work part-time for extra money making several hundred dollars a month, or full time and make several thousand and support your family.

Other Resources:

A graphic designer answers lots of questions about what her job is like.

Getting creative with photos can be a big part of a graphic designer's job. Find out about photography here.

This site tells you about websites and helps you make your own.



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