Graphic designers specialize in visual communication using both traditional mediums and modern technology to inspire and influence consumers. Evidence of a graphic designer’s work shows up in nearly every part of our lives. For someone who likes art, thrives under pressure and has a competitive streak, graphic design could be a perfect career choice.
Someone interested in the industry has a wide array of career choices to choose from, such as a web designer, illustrator, art director, layout artist, brand designer, and creative designer. Those starting out will have the best chance of finding employment in metropolitan areas. However, for those who would prefer to live and work in a more rural area, there will still be jobs available. Still, those interested should be prepared for more competition.
A new graduate has the opportunity to work in many different industries as well as work with a vast array of clients. If you’re flexible and can easily adapt to the changing interests and timelines of multiple clients, working as a graphic designer will be a job you enjoy, which is essential to your creative process.
What is Required?
While there are no legal requirements at the state or national level for those interested in graphic design to obtain formal education, due to the competitive nature of the design industry, proper education will go a long way toward helping a new graduate stand out when applying for work.
Students should also know that many employers prefer to hire employees who have a formal education. This guarantees that they are coming into the job with a foundation of knowledge. Most programs will also require their students to build a portfolio of works that can be used to prove their skills and knowledge.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 62 percent of graphic designers across the nation obtained at least a bachelor’s degree. This is a good indication of what is required in order to build a successful career for yourself in the field.
Choosing a Program
With the field of graphic design being such a competitive one, prospective students will want to make sure that they are choosing a program that will adequately prepare them to excel in the industry. The following list contains some essential attributes that you can look for in a program.
- Supportive Instructors
Look for a program that has supportive instructors. Take a tour of the department and talk to some of the instructors if you can. A good program will have professors that actually care about the success of their students.
- Proper Facilities
Before choosing a program, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll be learning in proper studio facilities. This is something else that a tour can help you to confirm.
- Internship Opportunities
Gaining some real-world experience prior to graduating can be invaluable and in some cases even lead to employment even before you graduate. The lack of internship opportunities should have you immediately questioning the legitimacy of the program
- Updated Content
The design industry is an ever-changing one, so you want to make sure that the program teaches skills in the latest technologies as long as traditional mediums.
The Top Schools in Delaware
There are not toomany choices for post-secondary education for potential graphic designers, so it will be a bit easier to decide the best program for your needs. The following schools are rated the top in the state and would well prepare anyone for a career as a graphic designer.
University of Delaware, Newark
The University of Delaware is located in the small city of Newark, which is situated in the Northern tip of the state. The city is located about 20 min away from Wilmington and boasts a population of just over 33,000 people.
The four-year BFA in Visual Communication program offers students the opportunity to experience an intense studio-based program in a small group setting. Students learn to design in multiple media and are exposed to many real-world experiences through field trips, study abroad programs and visiting professionals.
The first two years of the program focus on core art and design courses. The third and fourth year exposes students to subjects such as design methods, typography methods, interaction design, books arts, illustration methods, and portfolio preparation just to name a few.
In order to obtain their degree, students must have completed 124 credits. In the spring of their sophomore year, all students who wish to pursue their MFA must pass a portfolio review in order to proceed into their third year. All students have the opportunity to complete an internship in their fourth year, which gives them invaluable industry experience.
Delaware College of Art and Design, Wilmington
The Delaware College of Art and Design is located in the city of Wilmington, which is the largest city in the state of Delaware. The city is located on the banks of the Christina and Delaware rivers and boasts a population of just over 70,000 people.
The two-year Associate of Fine Arts degree in graphic design offers students the ability to concentrate in one of two areas: Advertising design or Communication design. Students in the advertising stream will focus on developing visual content as it applies to advertising media such as posters, ads and marketing collateral with an emphasis on linking images and typography. Students in the communication stream will focus on developing visual content as it applies to print and web media.
This two-year Associate’s program can act as a stand-alone program for those that wish to enter the workforce immediately or as a stepping stone for those who wish to pursue a Master’s level degree at another school. Students have the opportunity to participate in an internship during the summer between their first and second years.
Wilmington University, New Castle
Wilmington University is a private non-secular school located in the town of New Castle, which sits six miles south of Wilmington on the Delaware River.
The four-year Bachelor of Science in Graphic design program exposes students to industry-leading tools and the skills to create both classic and digital imagery. The school aims to turn out students who are flexible and skilled enough to deliver in any industry, be it educational, cultural, political or commercial.
The first year is made up of a core foundational course. Then they have the opportunity to learn skills in Typography, Concept Development, Principals in Color Theory, Portfolio Production, Business of Freelance and many more.
Over the course of the four-year program, students must obtain at least a C- in the following courses Illustration, Advanced Vector Drawing, Advanced InDesign, Advanced Photoshop and Package Design. All students must complete an internship in their fourth year, but they also have the opportunity to complete a two-semester-long placement with an employer in the community. Students must have completed 60 credits and hold a min GPA of 2.5 in order to be eligible to participate in the experience.
Delaware Technical Community College, Dover
The Delaware Technical Community College is located in Dover, the capital and second-largest city in the state.
The two-year Associate’s Degree Program in Advertising Design prepares students for a successful career in the design industry by building skills in concept development, communication, collaboration, research, problem-solving and presentation skills. Students will learn to create using traditional mediums as well as modern technologies.
During their two years at the college, students will have the opportunity to learn a wide variety of industry-specific skills and take part in courses such as Vector Graphics, Illustration, Advertising and Promotion, Composition, Layout Graphics and more.
In order to graduate and earn their Associate’s Degree, students must complete at least 62 credits. Students can either enter the workforce immediately after graduating or use the program as a stepping stone to completing a Master’s program at another institution. Students have the opportunity in their fourth year to participate in an internship which would give than an excellent amount of industry experience prior to graduating.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
In Delaware, designers can expect to make an average of $54,650 which is higher than the national average of $50,710. At the lower end of the scale, when just starting out, salaries start around $35,190, and at the top 90 percent of earnings which is indicative of time and education, designers can make up to $80,060 per annum.
New graduates will need to be prepared for an extremely competitive job market as the field of graphic design is only expected to grow by two percent from 2018 – to 2028 in the state. This means that there could be as few as 60 new job openings over a span of ten years.
Industries with the highest rate of employment of graphic designers are specialized design services, advertising and public relations, printing, newspapers and consulting services. Regardless of your choice, you’ll find that a degree in graphic design can help you launch a successful and enjoyable career. If you’re an artist and love digital trends, combining this passion allows you to do a job you love with every project you take on.