Intellectual - Basic
- Problem solving ability.
- Attention to detail.
Intellectual - Specialized
- Artistic talent.
- Strong foundation in areas such as design principles and color theory.
- In-depth understanding of several graphic software packages.
- Understanding of the production process.
- Some projects are completed by individuals, and others by teams of individuals. In either case, good teamwork and communication skills are critical.
- Creativity, innovation, and an entrepreneurial spirit tend to be highly valued.
- Flexibility is critical: not only do projects end (they last from weeks to many months), the underlying technologies utilized also change.
- Able to work in an office environment, with frequent usage of computers, and possibly scanners and digitizing pads.
- Must be able to work long hours, particularly when a deadline is approaching.
Skill Maintenance requirement
High. While the basics of design (color, layout, etc.) do not change rapidly, the technical tools utilized in graphic design are constantly updated. Expect to learn new software programs, and possibly new technologies and computer platforms on a continuous basis.
Experience with software such as Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Final Cut Pro, and After Effects can get you ready to apply your graphic design skills to the web.
Demonstrated experience with the relevant computer tools for the particular job is required (e.g., Adobe PageMaker, Adobe Illustrator, Quark Xpress, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Photo Shop). The ability to work with the World Wide Web is also often needed. A portfolio of ones work will almost always be reviewed by a prospective employer.
Graphic Designer - Entry level / Internship: Comfortable using computers, experience with the relevant software tools.
Graphic Designer - Experienced: 2 years experience as a Graphic Designer
Graphic Designer - Senior: 5 years experience as a Graphic Designer
A Certificate in graphic design or an AA Degree in graphic art or a related field is required. In good economic times it was not uncommon for students to be hired before they finished their education. In today's tough economy though, those with education have a definite advantage.
The next section in this career guide ("Bay Area Education/Training Resources") provides detailed information on some of the training programs available for Graphic Designers.