Design: the different job roles availableBy admin • Apr 20th, 2008 • Category: Top tips for students
A very warm welcome to all graphic design students, graduates, post-graduates and 6th formers wishing to find out more about the graphic design roles available.
Design top tips for students: Series 1 of 10
This is the first instalment in the series. By the end of the series, you’ll be in a position to understand what is involved in Graphic Design or Creative Design in the workplace, what skills are needed, how to interact with clients and most important, what you need to do to prepare yourself for your first role in the world of Graphic Design.
Graphic Designers from all walks of life – people with a secret interest in getting into the industry, to diploma students, copy shop workers and graduates are rarely equipped with sufficient insight into what roles are available in the industry, where the jobs are or, what they need to get their foot on the ladder. This article focuses on the various roles that a Graphic Designer may aspire to apply for.
“The most annoying thing that prospective employers see is the lack of preparation by further and educational establishments in preparing young talent for their careers. You would be forgiven for thinking that academia is more interested in occupying bums on seats, rather than ensuring that course graduates obtain quality jobs. In fact, I would suggest that the vast majority of design course students never end up with the job they envisaged, prior to embarking upon a design course.”
Can you imagine a medical student spending several years studying only to find out that they aren’t prepared adequately for working as a hospital doctor. And, can you imagine what would happen if there were relatively few jobs for qualifying doctors when they’d completed their course. Well, that’s exactly what graphic designers face on graduation and I personally think that it is appalling.
There is fierce competition for graphic design roles, the industry is relatively ‘young’ in that it seems to employ the majority of designers between the ages of 19-35. There is a real issue in terms of ageism and lack of preparation of graduates for the industry. Most graduates fail to obtain the jobs they were envisaging on graduation. Britain’s got talent, but it needs someone at the helm of academia to funnel the creative strength of UK designers in the right direction.
Given that we’ll deal with many of the key issues in future articles, let us focus on the main options available for graphic designers in industry.
The roles vary from company to company, require slightly different talents and more extensive options are available, however for simplicity we’ll define the roles in separate categories that form the majority of UK design job roles:
- Creative designer jobs – these jobs are generally for highly creative graphic designers where there is less emphasis on attention to detail and a greater degree of importance placed on the ability to generate highly developed creative concepts. Roles such as this are mainly found in agencies where there are more than three designers. The career path will generally lead to creative / art direction.
- Artworker jobs – here the main skills are the ability to concentrate on detail, layout and the ability to turn creative ideas into a format which is suitable for print. Speed and accuracy are vital for such jobs. The career development pathway ultimately is to run the production facilities within a studio.
- Creative artworkers – these jobs are common in the domain of small-medium sized agencies where there is a need for an individual to possess a good blend of creative skills alongside an eye for detail and speed. The career pathway is to become head of design with an excellent blend of skills.
- Illustrators - provide illustrations or technical illustrations for a variety of jobs such as computer games design, medical illustrations and a wide number of other illustrative type jobs. Generally illustrators are freelance workers or work for major agencies.
- Photo-retouching – individuals with a high skill level in retouching photographic images. These individuals may work within an agency, a reprographics house or for specialist companies which carry out a high volume of re-touching such as catalogue production companies.
- Web designers / Web developers – designers with the ability to develop web sites. Web designers tend to be creative individuals with or without a high level of programming knowledge, whereas web developers tend to possess skills such as database design plus proficiency with at least one programming language. Flash designers can fit within one of these categories or may be a video or multimedia designers.
- 3-D designers – designers who are highly skilled in using 3-D programs to produce visually accurate representations and animations of 3-D characters, products, exhibition sets etc.
- Additional roles – there are additional designer job roles such as multimedia and video designers, which by their nature are self-explanatory, however the above roles account for the majority of designer roles available.
Whatever role you aspire to, you are advised to consider your main qualities so that you may focus on developing your career in the direction which is most suitable for you.
Remember to join us for the second instalment in our ten-part Design Tips for Students series.