Becoming a Graphic Designer in Kentucky

The field of graphic design applies several page layouts and visual elements to create an interactive format that connects with people. It involves the use of a visual medium to pass a message across. These visual media can be billboards, posters, flyers, illustrations, infographics and animation.

The history of graphic design goes as far back as the Egyptian hieroglyphics, where they used symbols to communicate. However, the term was created in the 1920s print industry. Graphic design during this time was used to refer to aesthetic appeal and marketing. But as the world has progressed, graphic design has become more than just marketing.

The Role of Graphic Designers

Graphic designers are professionals who use their hands or computer software to create visual concepts to pass a message to people. If you have ever thought of using images or any visual art to communicate an idea, a career as a graphic designer may just be right for you. Graphic designers captivate consumers by combining elements such as images, words, abstractions and graphics to create a variety of design elements and produce brochures, animations and advertisements.

You can become a graphic designer in Kentucky by getting a college degree. You can do a two- or four-year program and graduate with either a BS (Bachelor of Science), BA (Bachelor of Arts) or BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts).

As a graphic designer, you will work with multimedia animators, programmers, digital marketing specialists and web designers. You will also collaborate a lot with copywriters responsible for writing the words you will base your design around. Therefore, you should be a team player because you will be working in a collaborative team most of the time.

Requirements for Admission to a Graphic Design Program in Kentucky

Kentucky does not have standard requirements for becoming a graphic designer. However, many companies in the state may choose people who have a bachelor’s from a university because it gives them a more substantial background. If you want to stand out and have a unique style, you should consider going to an accredited school that offers graphic design. The National Association of Schools of Arts and Design (NASAD) accredits graphic design in schools in the United States.

You will have to look up the school and check their specific requirements. Some schools may require you to be admitted into their school first before majoring in graphic design, and some may only offer it as a minor course. One similar requirement across most design schools is the need to submit a portfolio during the admissions process. A portfolio shows your skill, but a good portfolio will make you stand out and provide insight into your capabilities.

Another vital thing to have is some form of experience. You can intern or volunteer at an art studio or ad agency. This will show the admission committee that you want to have a career in graphic design and are passionate about improving yourself.

Also, you can take online courses to enhance your knowledge and be up to date with design trends. You can take these online courses on platforms such as edX and Udacity. Note that as a prospective graphic designer, you will need to know how to use some software that will help you design, such as Inkscape, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and CorelDRAW.

Best Graphic Design Schools and Programs in Kentucky

The University of Kentucky College of Design – Lexington, Kentucky

The graphic design classes at the University of Kentucky College of Design challenge the students to create sophisticated solutions to visual problems. You do this by applying information hierarchy and exploring visual concepts. You’ll take a lot of introductory classes that will help you hone your skills in creating and formatting content.

While at this school, you may combine graphic design with studio courses such as photography, digital illustration and printmaking. You also have access to equipment such as large format printers and 2D and 3D scanners that help you in your study. There is also a fabrication lab with 3D printers and laser cutters/engravers. To be accepted into this program, you must apply as an undergraduate student. To apply, visit here.

Hite Art Institute – University of Louisville – Louisville, Kentucky

The graphic design program in this school focuses on three things: conceptual development, compositional eloquence and technical proficiency. These are taught through both computer and hand-based work.

When you complete this program, you will be awarded a BFA program. This program aims to prepare you to assume leadership positions in graphic design. Admission into this program is very competitive because only 22 people are accepted each year.

To apply for the BFA program at Hire Art Institute, you must already have a major at the school. Also, you must have completed foundational art courses like foundation design methods and have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5.

Kentucky Wesleyan College – Owensboro, Kentucky

Kentucky Wesleyan College’s graphic design program will introduce you to the foundational principles of art and design. When you are done with your foundation design course, you will be introduced to graphic design coursework. This coursework will focus on identity design, publication, web design, typography and other advanced projects.

All your classes will be done at the state-of-art computer lab in Kentucky Wesleyan Ralph Center. You can choose to do the program online if that is more comfortable for you. You will also be able to get a creative internship while at the school to give you practical experience. Some design and art companies you can get internships in are Media Paxton Group, Owensboro Museum of Fine Art and Legends. Note that you can also take graphic design as a minor course. In this case, your coursework will focus on teaching you how to apply graphic design to your major course.

To get admitted into the school, you need to submit your high school GPA, past transcripts, SAT scores and a personal essay. When you have been admitted, you would have to complete the foundation art courses to get graphic design as your major.

Somerset Community College – Somerset, Kentucky

In this community college, you will learn the basics of graphic design, web design and visual communication. You will learn how to create innovative multimedia suitable for today’s digital world. The course includes instructions on the foundational elements of design and classes that will teach you how to use design software.

You will take courses in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat. These courses are also available online. The program at this school takes two years to complete if you are studying full-time and you are awarded an Applied Science Degree upon completion. You can then use this degree to transfer to another four-year graphic design school.

Morehead State University-Morehead, Kentucky

The Morehead State University prepares you to pursue a career in graphic design in corporate, government and non-profit sectors. The school offers a standard BFA program and a BFA in art and design with teaching certification. There is also a Master of Fine Arts program in graphic designing and other related fields like animation, painting, photography and printmaking.

Advanced individual studies are offered in 2D art, 3D art, art education, digital art and art history. To apply to any of these programs, you will have to submit your portfolio for review. However, this is done when you are already an undergraduate Morehead State University student. You usually apply for the BFA program in your second year, and by then, you should have completed between 21-and 36 credits in art courses. You should also have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA and a 3.0 GPA in the art and design course.

Outlook and Salary for Kentucky Graphic Designers

The average yearly salary you can earn as a graphic designer in Kentucky is $44,550, which is lower than the US average of $54,680. However, in Kentucky, the salary range typically falls between $40,000 to $60,381. This amount can be higher because of other factors like city and type of job. For instance, Louisville graphic designers earn an average of $55,747, and graphic designers in Frankfort earn around $54,069.

In 10 years, your yearly salary can increase by around $21,000. These averages are just rough estimates and do not always tell the full story. You can freelance as a graphic designer and earn way more than the yearly average on one job alone. Having an extra degree or experience in UX/UI designing, coding and even business can increase your pay because they increase your value in the job market. You can also apply to more jobs if you have additional skills.

Working as a Graphic Designer in Kansas

Graphic designing is not a limiting profession; you can choose to work wherever you want, from advertising agencies to animation studios. People can also choose to be self-employed because of how dynamic graphic designing can be. The growth of web3 and NFTs has further increased the earning power of graphic designers. You could mint your designs and sell them on OpenSea, one of the largest NFT marketplace. You can also work as a UI consultant, visual communicator, or art illustrator, to name a few. Right now in Kentucky, here are the jobs available:

  • Designer, Pearson, Frankfort, $50,000 yearly
  • Graphics Designer, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, $29,000 to $56,000 yearly
  • Graphic Designer, Cannabis Retail Brand, Bowling Alley, $16,000 to $22,000 yearly
  • Production Designer, Texas Roadhouse, Louisville, $50,000 yearly
  • Production Designer, Keeneland Association, Lexington, $26,000 to $50,000 yearly
  • Graphic Designer, Drees Homes, Ft Mitchell, $29,000 to $55,000 yearly
  • Graphic Designer, Vivid Impact, Louisville, $32,000 to $57,000 yearly
  • Graphic and Technical Designer, Kruger, Elizabethtown, $30,000 to $66,000 yearly
  • Graphic Designer, Econfibre, Georgetown, $50,000 yearly
  • Graphic Designer, American Air Filter Company, Louisville, $30,000 to $55,000 yearly