Graphic Design Jobs: 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

There are many different career opportunities in the graphic design field for those who enjoy art, technology, and communication. Learn more about the earning potential and the job opportunities that await you.

[Featured Image]  A job seeker wearing a gray jacket, black top, and glasses looks for graphic design jobs on a tablet.

The graphic design field offers many job opportunities in various settings. You can use your graphic design skills to work as a web designer, illustrator, product developer, or art director.                                                                                                                                                         Take a look at five types of jobs you can pursue in graphic design, the salary, and the skills and software knowledge you need to work in graphic design.

Graphic designer salary

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for graphic designers in the UK is £30,611 [1]. Graphic designers in London earn an average of 16.4 per cent more than the national average. These job titles also find higher than average salaries in London (14.1 per cent more) and Bristol (3.6 per cent more) [2]. Keep in mind that higher cost of living will attribute to higher salaries. 

Graphic design jobs

Within the field of graphic design, you might choose to work in web and mobile design or in print design and publication. Consider these and several other job options to pursue as a graphic designer.

User interface (UI) design

As a user interface (UI) designer for web and mobile, you’ll create designs for websites and apps. You may work on projects such as app and website design, game interfaces, and landing pages. You’ll typically: 

  • Use technologies to create functional websites.

  • Ensure sites are easy to navigate. 

  • Incorporate the needs of users and clients

  • Translate a brand's image into colours, fonts, graphics, and layouts.

  • Present content to clients or other stakeholders.

  • Update websites as needed.

Web and mobile designers can work for large or small companies, and some work remotely as freelancers.

Print, publication, and layout design 

As a graphic designer specialising in print, publication, and layout design, you’ll need good typography and photo editing skills and a good grasp of colour theory. You’ll need to know what images work best in print-ready copy.

Some of the material you may work on includes:

  • Book covers

  • Greeting cards

  • Newspaper and magazine layouts

  • Museum exhibit catalogues

  • Menus

  • Brochures

  • Album covers

  • Apparel

  • Stationery

  • Business cards

  • Ad designs and layouts

Newspapers and magazines need graphic designers to layout pages, create ads, and typeset. Job opportunities are also available with advertising and public relations agencies. 

Brand identity and logo design

As a logo designer, you'll create logos to match the personality of businesses or organisations. The goal of the logo is to have instant brand recognition. Cadbury, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Volkswagen, and Apple are examples of recognisable logo designs. 

Brand identity designers create the entire look and feel of a company’s visual presence by designing colour palettes, typography, and other design elements. You would also typically define a brand's strategy and guidelines. 

Infographics and data visualisations

In this field of graphic design, you’ll work with large data sets to make information understandable and accessible to the general public through infographics or data visualisations. 

Infographics are visual representations of facts, stats, and other information that tell a story and draw conclusions or show relationships among items. For example, you might create infographics for marketing content, blog posts, case studies, or resumes.

Data visualisations are visual representations of data organised to make it easier to understand and analyse. Common places you may create data visualisations include user dashboards on apps, reports, newsletters, and editorials.

Data visualisation and infographic designers can benefit from background knowledge and experience with data science. 

Marketing and advertising design 

If you enjoy behavioural psychology and consumer behaviour, marketing and advertising design offer careers focused on understanding consumer purchasing habits. You’ll work with ad campaigns that can involve print and digital advertising, social media graphics, posters, banners, marketing emails, and brochures. 

As a marketing and advertising designer, you'll work with a team of other professionals and clients to create effective ad campaigns. You'll research current trends and your target market's characteristics and needs to know how best to influence them. You may work directly for a company or organisation, an ad agency, or as a freelancer.  

Skills needed to work in graphic design 

Graphic design requires creativity, an artistic eye, and strong technical skills. A graphic designer will use programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Canva. 

A career in graphic design also requires good communication skills to articulate ideas to clients. Brainstorming is especially important for creating mood boards and generating creative solutions for clients. Knowledge of typography, leading, kerning, and tracking is especially important for branding and advertising. The ability to pair fonts and understand colour theory are skills that graphic designers also need.

As a graphic designer, it helps to be familiar with programs like Keynote or Milanote for creating mood boards.

TIP: A mood board is a collage that shows photographs or illustrations, type pairs, textures and designs, and color schemes and pallets. This helps to inspire the end design, and it gives the client an idea of the direction you’re taking and the opportunity to make changes or suggestions.


Software programs for graphic designers 

As a graphic designer, you'll use software programs to create your designs and projects. Graphic designers often work with the following programs:

  • Adobe Photoshop is among the most popular programs used in graphic design. It's used for photo editing, digital art, animation, and web design. It has a variety of tools and is compatible with Windows or macOS.

  • Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based graphic design software programme used to create business cards, logos, and posters and is compatible with Photoshop. 

  • Adobe InDesign is used for layout and page design by newspapers and magazines for print and digital media. InDesign is compatible with Photoshop and Illustrator.

  • Canva is an online program with templates for creating Facebook and Instagram graphics and stories, banners, posters, and brochures. Canva offers hundreds of templates and tools although not all features are available due to legal restrictions.

  • WordPress is a popular web-building program that professional web and mobile designers use because it offers many free and customizable templates. 

The type of work you’ll do as a graphic designer determines the program you’ll use, and some designers will use multiple programs, depending on the project.

Qualifications and requirements 

The qualifications and requirements needed to begin a career in graphic design depend on the type of design and the employer’s needs. Most often, you’ll need basic computer and creative skills.  


When you seek a graphic design position, you’ll want a strong portfolio showcasing your best work. Because so much of your work might be internet-based, you should have a website so prospective employers can view your portfolio. Be sure to add a link to your CV or LinkedIn profile.


Employers often look for candidates with experience. If you’re just starting out, consider gaining experience as a volunteer or through internships. Volunteering to create a logo or poster for local businesses or organisations is an avenue for gaining experience. 


Graphic designers need to have a good command of colour theory and typography for selecting aesthetically pleasing serif and sans-serif font combinations. You’ll want to be comfortable using design software and all its available tools and command shortcuts. 


Educational requirements for graphic designers vary by position. A degree isn’t always necessary if you are creative, have good knowledge of design principles and programs, and a solid portfolio. A degree in graphic design can put you ahead of the competition and offers the chance to start building a strong portfolio. You’ll also learn colour and design fundamentals, animated graphics, colour theory, typography, and web design.

Some educational programs available include:

  • Short design courses. These short courses can be taken full or part-time. Courses can also be taken at the foundation and masterclass levels.

  • Foundation degree in graphic design (FdA). This degree programme will prepare you for a career as a graphic designer by providing experience working on real-life design briefs.

  • Graphic Design BA (Hon). This degree programme helps you learn theory, technique, and application. This will typically take three years.

  • Fine Art BA (Hon). This degree programme focuses on graphic design fundamentals and often offers opportunities for internships. This option will typically take three years.

Next Steps

If you’re interested in learning about graphic design consider the Google UX Design Professional Certificate. This programme is designed for beginners with no experience or prior education to enrol. Upon completion, gain a sharable Professional Certificate to showcase in your CV or Linkedin profile.

Article sources


Glassdoor. "Graphic Designer Salaries in United Kingdom.,2_IN2_KO3,19.htm?clickSource=searchBtn." Accessed August 4, 2023.

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