How To Become a Graphic Designer


Graphic designers are integral to many organisations, using a combination of design and digital expertise to help create things like presentations, flyers, brochures, web design, adverts and more.

It is not compulsory to have a university degree in graphic design, but it can help, with starting salaries from £22,000 per year.

Good skills to have as a graphic designer

  • Creative flair
  • Art and design skills
  • Good with IT
  • Good communication
  • Able to work in a team
  • Able to work to deadlines

To become a graphic designer, applicants will have to have advanced skills in illustration, drawing and design. You will also have to be considerably creative, and be able to come up with innovative designs that fit what the client is trying to project, all whilst looking great and aesthetically captivating.

As the design work will be heavily influenced by the wants and needs of the client or team, graphic designers must also have good communication and interpersonal skills, be able to take criticism and provide feedback.

What qualifications are needed to be a graphic designer?

Whilst it is not essential to hold a university degree to become a graphic designer, many companies prefer those who have been educated to an undergraduate level or above, with some even making it a requirement.

Holding an undergraduate degree in graphic design or a related field with similar transferable skills can help to show employers that you are qualified in the skill set needed to perform the role.

An undergraduate degree in graphic design or a related field, will provide an applicant with various skills in illustration, design and software including:

  • Photoshop
  • Adobe Suite
  • HTML
  • After Effects
  • Premiere Pro
  • InDesign
  • Illustrator
  • PowerPoint

What is the salary for being a graphic designer?

The salary for a graphic designer will depend on how experienced the position is, the size of the company and the size of design projects.

The average starting salary for a graphic designer is around £22,000. However, this figure can vary drastically dependent upon the level of experience you have. The average UK salary for a Junior Graphic Designer is around £19,000, is whereas for a Senior Graphic Designer it can be £30,000 to £40,000+, depending on experience.

As freelancers, graphic designers can regularly command around £200 per day upwards.


Where can you work in as a graphic designer?

Graphic designers are in high demand throughout multiple industries, whether a bank needs their logo rebranding or a retail shop needs their new product packaging designed. Most businesses will want to have an attractive and stylish image that can captivate customers and thereby attract more business. Graphic Designers can work with these businesses to help provide just that, whether on a full-time or contractual basis.

Graphic Designers can work as either:

  • A full-time employee of a company – firms can often want to employ a graphic designer permanently to help with any and all of the company’s projects that require their set of skills. 
  • A freelancer – some companies may enlist the help of a graphic designer on a temporary basis for specific projects that require their expertise.

In whatever industry, whether in full-time employment or freelancing, although graphic designers can work for most industries, their work will always be focused on creating visual concepts for their employer’s business.

Industries include:

  • Ad agencies
  • Web designers
  • Digital marketing agencies
  • Investment banks
  • Accountants
  • Architects
  • Schools