Whether you work for a consultancy or set up your own studio, a degree in graphic design opens the door to a range of creative careers
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Exhibition designer
- Fine artist
- Game artist
- Interior and spatial designer
- Medical illustrator
- Urban designer
- UX designer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Courses often provide the opportunity to work on projects with leading businesses and organisations. There may also be opportunities to take an optional work placement in industry or to work abroad as part of the Erasmus+ programme.
Only a few graduates get jobs as a result of their final degree shows. Internships are a more common way of finding work and building up experience, making contacts and increasing your portfolio. The design world is small and design agencies will recommend interns who have impressed them, or contact them if there are suitable opportunities in the future.
Participating in relevant competitions and exhibitions can help you to promote yourself and build up your contacts. You could also try and get some work experience, for example working for a film production company, television channel or even a magazine, or do some voluntary work on local projects.
The main employers of graphic designers, include:
- advertising firms
- branding specialists
- design consultancies and studios
- PR agencies
- publishing companies.
In the public sector, you could also find employment with museums, local authorities, schools, colleges and hospitals.
Some graduates set up their own studios and work as exhibiting artists or work as part of a studio collective.
Skills for your CV
A graphic design degree develops your understanding of effective graphic communication and enables you to build a good mix of subject-specific and technical skills, including:
- computer software skills, e.g. Adobe graphic design software and web design skills
- digital media
- drawing and sketching
- moving image
The transferable skills you'll develop, will include:
- creativity - to be able to effectively convey ideas or meanings
- communication skills - essential for discussing projects with the client and colleagues
- teamwork - collaborating on a range of creative projects with other graphic design students and those from other creative courses, e.g. filmmakers, fine artists, dancers, philosophers and writers
- time management - managing and delivering a range of creative projects to deadline
- analytical skills
- research skills
- capacity to work independently - in order to produce your own work and build your portfolio
- presentation skills - for presenting your work or a project to others
- entrepreneurial skills - your portfolio has to be creative, imaginative and commercial.
Studying for a Masters degree can help you develop in-depth knowledge of a specialist topic, for example typography or illustration. Or, it can enable you to move into a related area such as multimedia, landscape architecture or interior design.
Some Masters offer the opportunity to collaborate - either formally or informally - with other creatives, such as fine artists or film makers. Studying at postgraduate level also gives you time to enhance your portfolio and build a bigger network of contacts in the industry.
Short, further education courses are another good option for learning new skills or honing existing ones.
What do graphic design graduates do?
More than half (54%) of graphic design graduates are working as graphic designers six months after graduation. Marketing associate professional, web design and development professional and product, clothing and related designers are also among the top five jobs.
|Working and studying||4.2|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Arts, design and media||60.3|
|Retail, catering and bar staff||12|
|Marketing, PR and sales||5.9|
Find out what other art and design graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.