Graphic Design Subject Spotlight

Why study Graphic Design? Is Graphic Design right for me? Is it a good career path to choose?

Subject Spotlight: Graphic Design

How to become a Graphic Designer

Look around you. Design is everywhere, from your breakfast cereal box to posters promoting the latest films to advertisements placed inside and outside public transport. With visual communication now being more important than ever, there are endless opportunities for graphic designers to make their mark. 

Why study graphic design?

Graphic design is an exciting, creative field where you could put your passion for art to daily use. Every sector needs skilled graphic designers to help them communicate with their audience and sell their product or promote a cause. Graphics flood the internet every day.

According to research from Hubspot, graphics and other visuals prove particularly useful when it comes to marketing, with infographics outstripping other content in the B2B arena, and Tweets with images being retweeted 150% than those without.

This is all thanks, in part, to the graphic design industry.

Is graphic design right for me?

So, you love art, but you’ve been told over and over again that you can’t make a career out of it? Graphic design might be the answer. Sure, it’s not purely about creating pretty images – it’s about producing a design to communicate your message. So, besides being creative and artsy, you will also need to be a visual-thinking problem solver and an excellent communicator to interpret and meet client needs. The fun part is, graphic designers can use any visual medium to communicate their messages. They use fonts, shapes, and colours, on social media, websites and print designs. They can use photography and animation. They can use billboards, walls or the faces of buildings. 

Man holding a printed image with more images on a computer montior in the background

Is it a good career path to choose?

Figures value the UK creative industries as a whole at £76.9 billion a year – contributing an incredible £8.8 million to the UK economy every hour. 

Graphic design is the core of advertisement worldwide, and no advertising campaign can be successful without employing the services of graphic designers. It is in the hands of a graphic designer to create highly remarkable ad components such as logos, flyers and leaflets. Graphic designers are becoming a priority in many companies and within all industries, but you will be paying particular attention to the promotional, commercial, marketing, and public relations sectors. 

Jobs directly related to your degree include: 

  • Graphic designer
  • Animator
  • Illustrator
  • Printmaker
  • Production designer

Your degree might also be useful in roles such as: 

  • Fine artist
  • Interior designer
  • Landscape architect
  • Medical illustrator
  • Photographer

You will most likely start off working within an in-house design team or design agency, but once you build on your experience and establish professional contacts, you may choose to turn to freelancing. 

Read what our current student has to say about the Graphic Design degree. 

Fact sheet

What type of qualification will I need to get?

Employers will typically prefer candidates with a degree in a related discipline, such as Art or Graphic Design.

Do I have to study full time to get this degree?

No, there are many ways to study for a Graphic Design qualification. Online options are available. 

How long will it take?

 Degree courses are normally three years. Most students studying part-time/online are expected to complete the course in 4.5 years. 

What are the entry requirements?

In most cases, 2 A-level qualifications (or equivalent) will be required to enter an undergraduate degree. However, often work experience can be taken into account alongside other qualifications. 

What type of jobs could I get?

A full range of design jobs across all industries, but mainly within promotional, commercial, marketing, and public relations sectors. Some job titles include Animator, Graphic designer, Illustrator, Printmaker and Production designer.

What type of salary could I expect as a graduate?

 Starting salaries for junior graphic designers can be in the region of £15,000 to £19,000. Once you've gained some experience, these can rise to £27,000.At a middle level, you can expect to earn £25,000 to £35,000.
Salaries for senior graphic designers or creative leads range from £35,000 to £55,000.A creative director can make £60,000+ a year.If you work as a freelancer, you can earn anything between £200 and £400 a day with experience. The rate increases when you have a track record and recommendations.