By PublisherLast Updated March 10, 2022
Graphic design schools in Canada offer some of the fastest and most practical ways to train for this fun creative field.
Can you visualize expanding on your existing talents as you become a professional designer? You could create the future you imagine in less time than you might realize. That's what many of the training programs at graphic design colleges make possible. They can put you on a direct path toward outstanding opportunities in graphic art, visual communications, web design, interactive media design, and digital illustration.
5 Questions About Graphic Design Careers in Canada
For many creative people, going into graphic design ends up being a terrific career choice. After all, it enables them to make a good living by doing something they enjoy. It frequently comes with a lot of other advantages.
That's why it may be worth your time to learn more about what this vocation involves, what its potential benefits are, and how to begin preparing for it.
Check out these five frequently asked questions:
1. What Does a Graphic Designer Do?
Graphic designers use their creativity and technical skills to produce appealing visual elements or layouts that help communicate ideas and information. Some of them specialize in creating designs that will be printed. Others specialize in producing designs for films, videos, the Web, or other forms of digital media. And many of them do a combination of everything.
A graphic designer job description can cover a huge variety of tasks. For example, on any given day, a designer might do any of the following:
- Consult with clients or art directors
- Sketch thumbnail ideas
- Illustrate graphics using computer software
- Manipulate digital photos
- Create typographical layouts
- Get cost estimates from printers or other suppliers
- Hire and coordinate the work of photographers or illustrators
And those tasks represent only a fraction of the many possibilities. That's particularly true when you consider the amazing diversity of projects that a graphic designer might contribute to during any phase from initial concept to completion. Examples can include:
- Logos and brand identities
- Brochures and other printed marketing collateral
- Advertising or editorial layouts for magazines
- Book covers and page layouts
- Product packaging
- New typeface designs
- Tradeshow booth graphics
- Posters, billboards, signs, and other environmental graphics
- Film and video titling
- User interfaces for games, mobile apps, or software
- Websites and digital ads
Plus, as a graphic designer advances within their career, the responsibilities can grow. For instance, consider what the following roles can entail (listed from entry-level to most advanced):
- Junior graphic designer: Often produces graphics and layouts based on the concepts of art directors or more senior designers for relatively simple projects.
- Intermediate graphic designer: Frequently makes more conceptual contributions and produces designs for a wider range of more complex projects.
- Senior graphic designer: Typically oversees the concepts and designs of complex or very important projects through every stage while sometimes directing the work of other designers.
- Art director: Generally establishes the style and conceptual guidelines for all designers, photographers, and illustrators while coordinating their work, selecting appropriate vendors, and making other high-level creative and production decisions.
- Creative or design director: Typically leads and manages an entire design department or works as the creative boss of an advertising agency or design or marketing firm.
2. What Is a Typical Graphic Designer Salary?
The answer to this question depends on location, employment setting, and level of experience. But Canadians in this field often make good money. So just how much does a graphic designer make?
According to Job Bank estimates, the nationwide median wage for graphic designers in Canada was $27.47 per hour. However, in some provinces, the wage is higher.
It's also important to note that salary isn't always the only form of compensation in the field of graphic design. Many designers earn bonuses and extra employer benefits. And many designers who have full-time employment in the field also perform some additional freelance work.
In a 2016 / 2017 survey, over 56 percent of the respondents said that they freelance on the side. And those who performed freelance graphic design work full-time billed clients at a rate of $53 per hour, on average.
3. What Are Other Benefits of Going Into the Graphic Design Field?
Aside from the fact that it's fun and provides the opportunity to earn a good salary, being a graphic design professional can have additional advantages such as:
- A strong career outlook: Over the next three years, job prospects are expected to be fair to good in most provinces.
- Quick advancement potential: Many talented designers can advance into higher positions within five years of entering the field. And many go on to become art or design directors within 10 or 15 years.
- Client and employer diversity: Graphic design is used in almost every industry, which means that potential clients are easy to find. And employment can be found in advertising agencies, design studios, or public relations firms, and also within interactive media studios, web development firms, and the in-house marketing departments of all types of companies.
- Extra workplace benefits: Many graphic designers receive paid sick leave, extra paid vacation time, personal time, disability insurance, and medical and dental insurance.
4. Do I Need a Graphic Design Degree?
Given the nature of today's marketplace, post-secondary graphic design training is advisable. However, you don't necessarily need to earn a degree. It’s possible to learn everything you need for entry-level roles by completing graphic design courses as part of a shorter diploma or certificate program.
When exploring how to become a graphic designer, also keep in mind that employers will want to look at more than the education on your resume. They will want to see a strong graphic design portfolio that clearly shows your talent, creativity, and technical abilities. Thankfully, many programs focus on helping design students put together effective portfolios before graduation.
5. What's the Best Way to Get Started in Graphic Design?
First, you need to learn about basic design aspects like typography and colour theory. Then you need to develop a strong set of graphic design skills that includes the ability to use software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign at a high level. Finally, it would help if you created a compelling portfolio of work. And the most practical way to do all of that is usually to go through a formal training program.