What can I do with a major in graphic design?

Search for opportunities

Speedpro Imaging
Asante Design
Mitchell Printing

Graphic Designer
Design Coordinator
Web Designer

Search for employers hiring graduates in your major

Employers in NY: 3,203
Employers in US: 42,068


Explore the numerous career fields related to your major

Print Design

Type Design
Magazine Design
Newspaper Design
Book Publishing
Publication Design
Brochure/Newsletter Design
Cover Design:

  • Book 
  • CD
  • Video 

Label Design
Publicity Pieces
Advertising Layout
Photo Editing/Photoshop Art
Identity Design
Logo Design


Publishers including:

  • Magazine 
  • Periodical
  • Book 
  • Directory
  • Newspaper

Design firms
Advertising agencies
Publishing houses
Business form companies
Publicity firms
In-house creative departments
Large retail stores
Nonprofit organizations
Government agencies
Self-employed (freelance) 

Sample occupations

Graphic designers have a hand in creating countless items, large and small, from posters to identity systems and much more. Research all the niche areas and then gain the tools and technological skills to succeed in that area.
Assemble an impressive portfolio of work samples.
Complete a related internship to gain relevant experience and to contribute to your portfolio.
Work on campus publications in design or layout or find a part-time position with a local publication.
Develop excellent communication skills and learn to work well on a team of professionals.
Volunteer to create brochures, newsletters or other publications for campus organizations.
Develop problem-solving skills, attention to detail and the ability to meet deadlines.
Join professional associations as a student member. Become knowledgeable in production and printing processes.
Develop broad software application skills in MAC and PC based programs but not at the cost of developing a solid background in design.
Participate in local or campus design contests.

Three Dimensional Design

Signage Systems
Exhibition Design
Environmental Design
Promotional Display Design


Design firms
Product design divisions of large corporations
In-house creative departments
Advertising agencies
Museums and attractions
Government agencies
Self-employed (freelance)

Sample occupations

Find an internship in a design studio that specializes in 3D design especially for signage, exhibition, promotional display and environmental design which are very specialized.
Gain skills in model building and three-dimensional design. Develop a willingness to experiment.
Join a related professional association such as the Package Designers Council.
Develop excellent computer skills and strong written and oral communication skills.
Participate in design contests.

Electronic Media Design/4D Design

Film Title
Television Graphics
Video Games
Computer Graphics
Motion Graphics
Website Design
Interactive Media


Film studios
Motion picture production firms
Television stations
Computer systems design firms
Video game designers
Software firms
Video production houses
Internet media companies
Online publishers
Online retailers

Sample occupations

This is a highly specialized area of design that is not widely taught in all design programs. Research programs carefully to find ones that emphasize this area. Consider attending specialized programs in order to learn about television and motion graphics, animation and video game design.
Develop excellent computer skills in a variety of platforms and design software.
Gain relevant experience through part-time jobs and internships.
Volunteer to design the website for a student or local community organization.
Work for the campus television station.
To work in television and film, consider relocating to areas of the country where the entertainment industry is more prevalent.
Stay current with media and cultural trends.
Participate in design contests.


Creative Services
Art Direction
Corporate Identity Design
Logo Design


Advertising agencies
In-house creative departments

Sample occupations

Supplement curriculum with course work in advertising or business.
Complete an internship in an advertising agency.
Work on the campus newspaper in the advertising division.
Learn to work well in team environments and to communicate your ideas effectively.
Develop the ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure.
Be prepared to move to larger cities for the most job opportunities.
Learn to work with a variety of media.
Create a strong portfolio of a work samples.

General information and strategies

  • Carefully research design programs to find one that fits your career goals.
    • Programs vary in terms of the areas taught so not all programs will prepare students for all areas of design.
  • Approximately 3 in 10 graphic designers are self-employed. Freelance designers must develop strong abilities in networking, sales and persuasion.
  • Graphic designers work in countless industries on a wide array of projects.
    • Research the field thoroughly to learn about career options and the experiences and skills necessary to work in those areas.
    • Some graphic designers choose to specialize their work while others complete a variety of projects.
  • You may have to start entry-level and work your way up the career ladder.
    • Take a first job based on the industry and type of design you desire to work with because work from your first job will comprise your professional portfolio.
  • Some graphic design areas cross in multiple media such as educational design, identity design, information design and systems design.
  • Graphic designers must be able to tolerate criticism and direction in their work, since much of their work involves creating a product for a customer.
  • Graphic designers are typically artistically skilled, imaginative, and effective problem-solvers.
  • Develop a solid background in communications theory.
  • Learn to listen effectively to client needs and communicate ideas effectively.
  • Subscribe to and read graphic design materials such as Print, Eye, Communication Arts, Step into Graphics, Griphis, Computer Graphics and Applications, and others relevant to your interests.
  • Student design magazines such as, CMYK and Creative Convocation, solicit student work and have regular competitions. (Try to get your work published.)
  • Join major design organizations and societies, e.g. The American Institute of Graphic Arts, The Society of Publication Designers, University and College Design Association, New York Directors Club, Society of Illustrators, or the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation.
  • Become familiar with as many computer graphics and design software packages such as Quark, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Plan to stay up-to-date on new developments in the industry.
  • Successful graphic designers are well-read and in-touch with changing consumer preferences and can react to new trends.
    • Learn about your product and who will use it.
    • A liberal arts education helps designers learn a little about a lot of things.
    • Additionally, graphic designers should develop good research skills, work well on a team, and learn a foreign language if working in international design.
  • Graphic design is moving towards a more user/viewer way of thinking that allows the user/viewer to contribute to the design.
  • Volunteer to create brochures, newsletters or other publications for campus organizations.