How to become a Graphic Designer

Graphic designers produce visual communications, including art and layouts of text for reproduction in print and electronic media such as magazines, newspapers, books and websites, as well as image designs for corporate identity programmes, exhibitions and advertising. Graphic designers may specialise in a number of fields, including brand and identity strategy; digital and web-based design; television, film and computer graphics; set and exhibition design; corporate design; book and magazine design; and advertising and illustration. They may progress to positions such as design directors, art directors or creative directors.

Personal requirements of a Graphic Designer

  • Creative and imaginative
  • Understanding of colour and form
  • Able to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Good communication skills
  • Good marketing abilities
  • Able to work as part of a team

Education & Training for a Graphic Designer

To become a graphic designer you usually have to complete a VET qualification. Applicants may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of work. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in graphic design or a related area such as digital media or visual communication design. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and a visual arts or design subject are normally required. Applicants may also be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of work. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Additional Information

Graphic designers are required to have computer and technical skills.

Duties & Tasks of a Graphic Designer

Graphic designers:

  • talk to clients to get a clear understanding of their visual communication requirements and develop design 'roughs' (sketches)
  • prepare comprehensive layouts of the design using techniques such as photography, illustration and computer-generated imagery
  • identify communication problems and develop visual solutions
  • present and propose designs to clients for approval
  • prepare designs for print or digital publication and signage
  • design and set up exhibitions for advertising or educational purposes
  • supervise all design production stages, including arranging and supervising printing.

Working conditions for a Graphic Designer

Graphic designers may work as members of a design team in design studios or advertising agencies, or alone undertaking consultancy or freelance work.

Employment Opportunities for a Graphic Designer

Graphic designers work for advertising agencies, graphic design houses, commercial art studios, computer game developers, retail stores, printing firms, book and newspaper publishers, and marketing and public relations firms. They often work as part of a team, but may also work on a freelance basis. Quality, individuality, skill and a high standard of work are needed to find employment. Competition for jobs is very high and many employers consider the quality of artwork in a graduate's portfolio to be the most important selection criterion. Smaller design studios often prefer graduates who can do their own artwork as well as formulate design concepts. There may also be opportunities to move into related industries such as film and television.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT 1.7%

NSW 37.5%

NT 0.3%

QLD 15.7%

SA 5.4%

TAS 1.3%

VIC 31.2%

WA 6.9%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 45%

Female 55%

Education level:

Not completed Year 12: 2%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 9.3%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 9.2%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 26.9%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 45.7%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 6%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.1%

20-24 - 6.1%

25-34 - 26.8%

35-44 - 22.6%

45-54 - 19.5%

55-59 - 8.2%

60-64 - 7.1%

65 and Over - 9.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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