8 Graphic Design Career Paths to Consider in 2023
Graphic design is a diverse field with a lot of exciting career opportunities. This article will examine some of the best graphic design career paths available in 2023. The information here will prepare you to choose the best career path before you enter the industry and use your knowledge to work on real-life projects.
Regardless of which graphic design software tools you’ve learned or intend to learn – here are some exciting career paths in graphic design:
- Graphic Designer
- User Experience (UX) Designer
- User Interface (UI) Designer
- Production Artist
- Product Designer
- Creative Director
- Art Director
- Marketing Specialist
A graphic designer’s job is designing anything and, in some situations, everything that has to do with the client’s brand and identity – Logos, merch, magazine and book covers, layouts, cards, brochures, product packaging, posters, billboards, and everything else you could imagine.
The Graphic Designer is responsible for handling everything in special software (Adobe or similar) and executing a product that the client will be satisfied with.
While there are a few differences in the type of positions you could work at as a Graphic Designer, the norm generally is that you’ll have someone above you telling you what to do (if you’re in an agency or In-House, of course). However, there’s an exception: a Freelance Graphic Designer could technically pull off anything they wanted to as long as their client likes it.
User Experience (UX) Designer
Before sitting down and designing, coding, and implementing anything, you must think if your design will work with people. UX designers focus on the interaction between people and your product. It combines many things into one, like human psychology and product design, marketing, tech, business, etc.
Let’s say, for example, you go on a restaurant’s website and can’t find their menu, or you go on Amazon, and you can’t find your cart, or you see a music festival ad, and you can’t seem to find where it’s being held. All of those examples are bad user experience designs and can make or break your whole project. No one wants to break a sweat while using or perceiving your product; most people won’t even bother doing that. As a UX Designer, you’re the user’s voice, fighting for their rights.
A few things that UX designers do:
- User research and testing
- Design user diagrams
- Creating case scenarios
- Prototyping the product
User Interface (UI) Designer
You’ve probably seen UX and UI used alongside each other, and with good reason. While the former is about how the user sees, feels, and uses your product, the latter is meant to put all that research and testing into an actual, tangible design. The UI designer typically follows the guidelines set up by the UX designer as the development of the app or website goes on by implementing them into logos, tabs, arrows, images, menus, widgets, sliders, input fields, and much more.
These designers also need to prototype their designs (using Figma, XD, or the like) and go back and forth by assessing what needs to be fixed and what they can keep.
There are a few ways you can prototype as a UI designer, from sketching it out on a piece of paper to making it work on a screen. But, whatever you choose, your job is to clear up any confusion and make the programmers’ job more manageable.
A production artist, in some way, has the final say about a design project before it goes out to clients. So the job is vital, and it takes a lot of skills and a good eye for tiny details because everything needs to be checked, fixed, finalized, and rechecked before it’s sent to the client.
For example, suppose there are any color mismatches or a single letter is left un-kerned. In that case, a production artist’s job is to fix that before a banner, poster, cover, package, or other design goes into printing and production.
As a production artist, you’ll have to stick to the company’s set standards, follow specific protocols and watch out for any errors that may have happened in the production process. They’re a graphic designer’s best friend and, in many cases, their worst enemy because mistakes happen often, and someone will have to go back and fix that.
A Product Designer is a little different from a Graphic Designer because the job requires more technical skill and background for developing actual products. Product designers often need to consider the exact measurements, safety, aesthetics, and functionality of a particular product as a whole.
They also research how the product should and could work and communicate with clients to deliver the best possible functional design. So, it’s no surprise when you hear that Product Designers need to know the fundamentals of UX design.
Creative Directors are managers of the graphic design team. Aside from sometimes being the graphic designers themselves, they also need to fill the role of the person who contacts clients, budgets, schedules meetings and evaluates the employees.
These people also need solid interpersonal and customer service skills since they’ll contact clients almost daily while the project progresses.
Art Directors have much in common with Graphic Designers, but their role is supervising the other designers more than designing. They also often come up with the ideas and themes of a project while knowing what will be going on with the technical side. Again, though, that doesn’t mean that art directors don’t sometimes do the designs themselves. But they often need to chew more significant pieces when working in a team because they must guide the designers to stick to the plan.
Marketing specialists provide their team of designers with crucial information about the target demographic of the project they’re working on. However, their job is more geared towards contacting consumers, researching market patterns, creating case studies, and evaluating what works or doesn’t. It also includes working with outside agencies and marketing teams to develop the best strategies for a more compelling message and product.
We hope this article gives you more insight into how big the graphic design industry is. So, start studying; you have a long road ahead of you and many career paths opening up as you dive into the deep waters of graphic design.