Graphic designer

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Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would use your creative skills to design the look of websites, packaging, adverts and more.

Companies would rely on you to come up with eye-catching designs that will draw in more customers.

You could be working on anything from corporate projects where design requirements are very clear, to smaller jobs where you would be able to let your creativity run wild. 

On a typical project, you might:

  • Discuss the project with clients and colleagues
  • Work out costs for the project
  • Choose the best materials and style
  • Make rough sketches or computer visuals to show the client
  • Use specialist computer software to prepare designs
  • Produce a final layout with exact specifications for typefaces, letter sizes and colours
  • Ensure that budgets and deadlines are met

You may also produce 3D designs for packaging, exhibitions and displays.

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work from around 9am to 5pm, but you would need to work longer hours when there are deadlines to meet. As a freelance graphic designer, your hours would vary depending on the work you get.

Environment

You would usually be based in a studio or office, but may spend some time visiting clients and printers.

Travel

You may spend some time visiting clients and printers.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Using computers
  • Designing
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Being creative
  • Budgeting
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

Most graphic designers have a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or a degree (SCQF level 9/10) in Graphic or Visual Communication or Art and Design.

You can enter some Art and Design or Graphic Design National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF level 5) with no formal qualifications but most courses require National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

To enter a degree (SCFQ level 9/10) requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

Useful subjects

Courses often require:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Art and Design
  • Product Design
  • Graphic Communication

Other ICT and design-centred subjects may be helpful.

You will also need

You will generally need a portfolio of your work when applying to courses and to jobs. 

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show creative, digital and visual communication skills such as Skills for Work Creative Digital Media (SCFQ level 4) or Creative Industries (SCFQ level 5).

Work-based qualifications such as a Diploma in Creative and Digital Media (SCQF level 7).