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Options with your subject: Graphic design

A graphics qualification can give you the chance to go straight into full-time work in graphics, related areas such as web design or illustration, and many other careers…

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

Only a lucky few graduates obtain jobs as a result of their final degree shows. Internships are the name of the game in this business and are a common way of finding work and building up experience, making contacts and increasing your portfolio.

Participating in relevant competitions and exhibitions can help you to promote yourself and build up your contacts. You could try and get some work experience or do some voluntary work, probably working for a film production company, television channel or even a magazine.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

In the private sector, you could work in a variety of businesses such as design consultancies and studios. Involved in areas such as media, you may be part of a team designing, producing and selling visual media.

Advertising and PR agencies are another possibility, where you'd be involved in process of creating positive images of organisations, individuals and products, and delivering imaginative solutions that generate sales or an increase in business-interest.

Publishing is another potential area. Concerned with the design, production and marketing of books, magazines, newspapers and journals, many publishers are moving into interactive and online products.

In the public sector, jobs exist in museums, local authorities, schools, colleges and hospitals.

Find information on employers in marketing, advertising and PR, media and publishing, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

You'll develop a good mix of subject-specific and technical skills, as well as transferable core skills:

  • drawing and sketching;
  • creativity - learning to be open to new inspirations and techniques;
  • teamworking;
  • time management;
  • technical skills - you learn a variety of computer packages and skills such as illustration, printing and web design;
  • researching skills, in a variety of modes;
  • capacity to work independently, determining future learning needs in order to produce your own work and build your portfolio;
  • entrepreneurial skills - your portfolio has to be creative, imaginative and commercial.

Further study

Masters degrees are an option and help develop a graduate's work, gain in-depth knowledge of a specialist topic, e.g. typography or illustration, or move into a related area such as multimedia.

Some Masters allow you to collaborate, either formally or informally, with other creatives such as fine artists or film makers. Additionally, a Masters gives the student time to enhance portfolios and build a bigger network of contacts in the industry. A part-time MA is a great way of combining study with work experience.

Short, further education courses to learn or polish skills in different computer packages are another popular option.

Comparatively few graphics graduates go on to do a PhD.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see postgraduate study in the UK and search courses and research.

What do graphic design graduates do?

Almost half of recent graduates working in the UK are graphic designers. Other professions include web design and development professionals, marketing associates and artists.

Graduate destinations for graphic design
Destinations Percentage
Employed 79.6%
Further study 3.1%
Working and studying 2%
Unemployed 12%
Other 3.3%
Types of work entered in the UK
Arts, design and media 57.8%
Retail, catering and bar work 16.7%
Marketing, PR and sales 4.6%
Secretarial and numberical clerks 3.9%
Other 17%

Find out what other art and design graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Written by AGCAS editors
May 2012

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