Graphic design career

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Robert Green designs magazines and company literature for a Glasgow based design agency. A big part of his job is winning new clients by coming up with designs that beat the competitors.

What is your job as a graphic designer?

My company produces magazines and corporate design for lots of clients – from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office to the British Airports Authority and British Gas. I work on existing publications like monthly magazines, one-off jobs like annual reports and also design new projects from scratch.

How do you come up with new designs?

We have to interpret the brief and come up with a creative solution that fits a client's budget and needs. I make some sketches to give me an idea of the basic shapes and sizes and then start to work on the computer. The first stage is deciding on the size of the page, how it will fold and how words and images might sit on the page.

Then, I set up a grid on the layout programme to set the number of columns and where pictures might go. This gives you the skeleton of the page – a template to work from.

What about selecting the items for the template?

I think about the type style – the font – and headings, illustrations, photos and so on. I set up a style sheet which creates a template of styles for titles, main text, bullet points, captions and other elements of the page.

After this stage, I can be more creative and play with those different elements to create an interesting, effective page.

How do you present this to the client?

We print out the work, mount it on boards and present the options to the client. We have to talk through what we've done and why and help them understand how it fits their brief.

What equipment do you use?

A computer and design software program. I use pens and pencils to do initial sketches.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am spending quite a lot of time on designs for pitches for new business. When an organisation wants a new corporate look or magazine, it sends a tender document and a brief out to around 10 design agencies. Those agencies then have to compete by coming up with the best ideas.We call this pitching for business.

Who do you work with?

In Glasgow, there is a production manager who organises print, a business manager who works to get us more clients, a writer and another designer.We also have a big team of writers, graphic designers, multimedia designers and video experts in our London office.We share ideas a lot.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

I love being able to use my creativity every day. I have had other kinds of office jobs and it is not the same. I am doing what I enjoy.

Robert's route to becoming a Graphic designer

  • Foundation course in art and design.
  • Degree in graphics and illustration.

Robert's Graphic design tips

  • Look at other people's work and keep up-to-date with what is in fashion.
  • Get inspiration by going to art galleries, picking up postcards and looking at what was done in the past.

List of graphic design jobs












  • Advertising art director
  • Advertising creative
  • Editor: publishing
  • Illustrator
  • Printer: origination
  • Print finisher

A computer graphic designers salary

  • Starting salary will be between £10,000 and £18,000, depending on the type and size of company.
  • Experienced designers might earn between £19,000 and £35,000.
  • Senior graphic designers can earn more than £40,000

A career in Graphic design

  • Most graphic designers have a degree or an HNC/HND.
  • You will also need to show employers a portfolio of your work.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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