14 Types of Graphic Design Careers

Graphic design careers come in many flavors. That is, there are so many different specialties within the graphic design industry that it can be difficult to know what to pick if you’re looking to get started. What type of design are you interested in? What skills do you need for each career subspecialty? What on earth are you supposed to do? Yes, it’s a lot to figure out. But don’t fret: you’re not alone in this.

Featured photo

In this article, we will outline 14 of the most common types of graphic design careers. So whether you’re a recent graduate looking to jump into a new career or a seasoned pro wanting to change specialties, there’s sure to be something here to pique your interest and inspire you to learn more.

Let’s get started!

1. Brand Identity Designers

a role of color negative film

As the name suggests, brand identity designers are responsible for creating visual identities for companies and organizations. This includes everything from logos to color palettes to typography. They work to define a brand’s personality and message and create visual elements such as logos, color schemes, typography, and other design elements that help communicate a brand’s image to its audience.

In addition to creating these visual elements, brand identity designers also work to ensure that they are consistently applied across all of a brand’s marketing materials, including its website, social media accounts, business cards, and other promotional materials. The goal of a brand identity designer is to help businesses create a strong and distinctive visual presence that effectively communicates the brand’s message and personality to its target audience.

2. Packaging Designers

Packaging designers have the difficult task of creating attractive and functional packaging for products. Their designs need to be aesthetically pleasing, but also sturdy enough to protect the product inside. Good packaging designers are able to come up with unique solutions that will stand out on store shelves.

Packaging designers work with a variety of materials, including paper, cardboard, plastic, and glass, to create packaging that is suitable for the product and meets the requirements of the market. They may also be involved in the development of packaging materials and technologies and may work with engineers and other specialists to ensure that the packaging they design is cost-effective and environmentally friendly. They also often work closely with product designers, marketing teams, and other team members to create packaging that meets the needs of the brand and its target audience.

3. Interface Designers

Interface designers, also known as user interface (UI) designers, are professionals who design the interfaces of software and websites. They are responsible for creating intuitive and user-friendly interfaces that allow people to easily interact with digital products and services.

You’ll find them creating layouts, graphics, and other design elements that effectively communicate the functionality of the product and make it easier for users to navigate and use. They also work to ensure that the interface is visually appealing and consistent with the brand’s overall aesthetic.

4. Motion Graphics Designers

Motion graphics designers combine animation and video to create dynamic visuals for television, film, and the web. They need to have a strong understanding of graphic design principles as well as animation to create compelling motion graphics. They may use software such as After Effects and Photoshop to create dynamic and engaging visuals that help tell a story or communicate information.

Designers in this field work on a wide range of projects, including commercials, music videos, corporate videos, and film titles. They may also work on interactive media, such as video games and virtual reality experiences. In addition to creating motion graphics, motion designers may also be responsible for planning and storyboarding the animation, selecting music and sound effects, and working with clients and creative directors to ensure that the final product meets their vision and goals.

5. Web Designers

a woman web designer working with code and multimedia content

Web designers are responsible for designing websites from start to finish. They must be able to create visually attractive designs that are also user-friendly and functional. Web designers use many tools and need to understand languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, to create the visual elements and user interface of a website. They need to have a good design eye as well with competence in general graphics and composition. 

6. Illustrators

Illustrators create illustrations that help tell stories or convey messages. They often work in traditional mediums like pen and paper, but they can also use digital tools like Photoshop or Illustrator to create their artworks. Illustrators must be able to create visuals that capture the desired emotion or message for a variety of purposes, including books, magazines, advertisements, product packaging, and websites. 

They are typically adept at a variety of styles, ranging from realistic to more stylized and expressive approaches. And they may be hired by clients to create specific illustrations for a project, or work on their own to create a portfolio of work that can be used to attract potential clients.

7. Advertising Designers

image of skyscrapers in new york city with advertisements

Advertising designers create visuals for advertisements, which include print ads and billboards. They also work with digital banners online. To be good at their job, they need to understand how colors, shapes, fonts and other elements can be combined to make an effective visual ad.

By using a variety of design tools, they’ll need to create logos, graphics, and layouts for advertisements. They may also be responsible for choosing colors, fonts, and other design elements that effectively support the overall concept and message of the campaign.

8. Signage Designers

Signage designers are responsible for creating signs for businesses, events and other purposes. They need to be able to design signs that are both visually appealing and easy to read from a distance. They should understand how people respond to different fonts, colors, and shapes when creating signs and have a generally solid grasp on psychology.

9. Publishing Designers

Publishing designers work on all types of printed materials, such as books, magazines, and even newspapers. Their job is to create designs that are both visually appealing and easy to read. They need to have a good understanding of typography in order to make their designs effective.

Designers that work in publishing also have to be able to understand the content they are working with in order to create an effective design that suits it. They often collaborate closely with editors and writers in order to ensure that the design supports the content of the publication.

10. Print Designers

Print designers are responsible for creating printed materials, such as business cards, flyers, and posters. They need to understand how different color combinations will appear on paper in order to create effective prints. Good print designers also need to be familiar with the printing process in order to ensure their designs look great when they are printed.

Additionally, print designers may also need to work with photography and other design elements in order to create effective designs. They must be able to effectively combine different elements, such as color, typography, images, and layout, into a cohesive design that communicates the desired message.

11. Environmental Designers

Environmental designers work on projects that help to improve the built environment. They work to create functional, attractive, and sustainable spaces that meet the needs of the people who will use them. Environmental designers may work on a wide range of projects, including residential and commercial buildings, public parks and plazas, and transportation hubs.

They may also work on larger-scale projects, such as master plans for entire neighborhoods or cities. Environmental designers use a variety of tools and techniques, including computer-aided design (CAD) software, to create detailed plans and renderings of their designs. They also consider factors such as site analysis, zoning regulations, and sustainability when developing their plans.

12. Product Designers

image showing a woman holding a cosmetic product

Product designers are professionals who design physical products, such as consumer goods, industrial equipment, and medical devices. They are responsible for creating functional, aesthetically pleasing, and innovative products that meet the needs of the people who will use them.

These designers work with a variety of materials and technologies to create prototypes and final products. They may also be responsible for conducting user testing and research to ensure that the product is effective and meets the needs of its target audience. Product designers often work closely with engineers, marketers, and other team members to develop and refine their designs. 

13. Exhibition Designers

Exhibition designers work on creating engaging displays for museums, galleries, and other spaces. They must have an understanding of architecture, lighting, and graphics in order to create effective exhibits that draw in audiences. Exhibition designers must also be able to think about how people will interact with the space in order to make it more inviting.

14. User Experience (UX) Designers

User experience or UX designers are responsible for creating user-friendly products and websites. They must have a strong understanding of how people interact with technology, as well as graphic design principles, in order to create engaging experiences for users. Good UX designers also need to be familiar with the latest industry trends in order to keep up with competitors.

Picking a Graphic Designer Career: Quick Tips

Reading through the above career descriptions might feel a bit overwhelming, so to simplify things for you, we’ve put together a few tips for making a more informed career choice.

  • Let your experiences and current skill set serve as a starting point. What do you already know, and what do you need to learn?
  • Think about the types of projects that interest you most. Do you prefer designing logos or websites? Do you like working with photography or illustration?
  • Think about where your career path might take you. What type of job would you like to have in five years?
  • Research the different types of graphic design careers. Consider what type of work appeals to you and if the career path is right for your lifestyle.
  • Get involved in internships or volunteer opportunities with companies or organizations that specialize in graphic design. This will help you gain experience and build a portfolio of work.
  • Consider taking courses or attending seminars in specific areas of graphic design. This will help you develop the skills that employers are looking for.
  • Network with other designers, both online and offline. This can be an excellent way to learn more about the industry and possible job opportunities.

With the right knowledge and experience, you can find the perfect graphic design career for you.

Which Graphic Design Career Suits You?

Graphic design is a diverse field, and there are many different career paths you can take. With the right combination of education and experience, you can find a graphic designer job that fits your skills and interests. Do some research to learn more about the various types of graphic design careers available, and determine which one would be the best fit for you. 

Good luck!