What is a Graphic Designer?

gprovan

Member
I found this general description of a Graphic Designer on a website and it made me wonder:
A graphic designer creates posters, bus wraps, billboards, packaging, logos and marketing materials, depending on the industry—graphic designers work at magazines, advertising and marketing agencies, and more. Selecting photos and typefaces, and developing layouts for advertisements, annual reports, brochures, magazines and other projects are also part of the gig.
This description pretty much describes my idea of a Graphic Designer. However, adverts for Graphic Design jobs these days require you to be an Illustrator, photographer, web developer, animator, video editor, Microsoft expert, IT Consultant, etc. The list seems to be endless.

Why do people think Graphic Designers can do absolutely everything, when they don't expect the same from a Photographer or Web Designer?

Interested in your thoughts. :)
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
Every industry is the same - looking to hire someone to do 3 or 4 peoples jobs for under the industry value for even 1 of the jobs.

This usually comes from Managers who do not know what they need or who to hire, so it's a blanket sweeping statement. They usually get someone to go along for the ride, but usually that ends up being a very demanding role, and the Manager cannot understand why 1 person cannot do it all, as they have no experience themselves.

Usually it's a good idea to steer clear of this type of job advertsement.

A graphic designer can be a print designer or a web designer or both, but usually not also a videographer, video editor, website editor, front end developer, App developer and whatever else they throw in there.

The saying is real - "Jack of all trades, master of none".
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
Well I can beat that... my entire qualification has been 'recategorised' lol.

My actual degree qualification is Product Design (Hons) BSc (it's still available too), I studied essentially how to make a physical product from concept through to manufacture including engineering etc (think design a chair and then have it mass produced).... if you search for product design jobs these days it's basically asking for a UI/UX designer.... which is nowhere near the same because that's realistically a type of graphic design.

If I want to find my version of Product Design, I need to look for Industrial Design which (at least when I was at Uni) was essentially just coming up with designs without any idea if they could be made....ie none of the engineering and/or prep for mass production.... ie the BA version of my course when I was at uni.

It's made even worse when people in the industry are saying the things I'm qualified to do is actually industrial design (ie to manufacture) and what I was taught industrial design (no manufacture) is product design.... essentially it's a big ass cluster f***. Some of it's due to American 'terms' being intermingled with UK terms which really doesn't help much.


So basically jobs and qualification 'names' mean absolutely nothing these days, it's now more about can you fill the job role and if it's paying you enough to do the job(s) they require. The issue is like with everything graphic design (well design in general) is incredibly undervalued due to 'everyone having photoshop' and the places that shall not be named offering up work for the price of a packed lunch. Then throw in people (graduates etc) that are so desperate to get on the ladder etc they'll actually apply for these jobs that require far more than they should.

Edit: In reality there is some crossover between 'areas of expertise', I could throw in that I have to do marketing, graphics, video etc too, I have to be able to 'sell' a product to clients by doing visualisations/models etc too, it's just how much crossover the job entails.
 
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gprovan

Member
Following on from this. Here's another advert for a 'Creative Services Assistant'
Personally, I think this is a bit much of an ask, especially when it's offering £23-25k.

With creativity, vision and big ideas, you will provide high quality creative which meet branding, accessibility and diversity requirements across digital and print communications: graphic design, animation, photography, website and staff Intranet.

Main duties and responsibilities include:
  • Provide high quality creative services such as animation, photography, website updates and all design including infographics and social media graphics.
  • Showing strong conceptual design thinking for digital and social media design projects.
  • Create and maintain up to date patient information library.
  • Create and maintain photograph library for print and web.
  • Updating corporate websites and staff Intranet as effective marketing, communication and engagement tools, monitoring usage so that the sites can be managed and developed effectively.
Key skills we need
  • Graphic design, animation, photography.
  • Proficient in Microsoft and Adobe Creative software, in particular Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Lightroom, Animate, After Effects, Spark. Premier Pro an advantage.
  • Proficient in Microsoft 365, in particular Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Sway and MS Forms and Sharepoint.
  • Specialist knowledge of web content management system and software.
  • Working knowledge of digital and print production.
  • Highly developed skills in translating creative service briefs into quality products which meet the needs of the organisation, get key messages across and meet accessibility standards and equality requirements.
  • Attention to detail and the ability to present complex information into effective creative services products that meet the needs of a range of different audiences.
  • Organised and efficient multitasker with the ability to forward plan and develop a range of projects at one time.
  • Excellent communication and customer skills.
This role is suited to someone who will enjoy a varied role, can work on multiple creative projects at a time, and is willing to work hard in order to achieve great results.
 

gprovan

Member
This one is offering £17-22k

The role has a title - “Creative Designer” - but if it’s titles that interest you most, it may not be for you. You’ll be expected to turn your hand to a variety of design projects and create exceptional work, with an emphasis on digital and design for the screen. In other words you’ll be kept busy creating beautiful, involving and intriguing work on everything from campaign identities, websites, brand guidelines, motion graphic videos and engaging adverts.

Being our creative designer is a great opportunity for an experienced and currently unfulfilled graphic designer, but you need to be ready to push us, ask questions and even throw the odd tantrum when you’re convinced you’re right. You’ll report straight to the Content Director, working alongside our two senior creative designers and get to work on juicy projects that need serious skills.

What you’ll do:
  • Work on design/creative projects
  • Work solo or in collaboration with creatives to develop visual direction of projects
  • Present work and communicate effectively with the internal team and clients
  • Think digital first - you’ll primarily be focused on design for the web and screen
  • Design and Art direct motion videos
  • Develop key visuals, style frames, mood boards and storyboards
  • Collaborate with other designers, art directors and direct creative third parties
  • Stay on top of best in class international work
  • Share research and knowledge to inspire the wider team
  • Have your voice heard - we want you to bring ideas to the table!
What you’ll bring:
  • 2+ years agency experience as a graphic designer
  • Strong concept development and visualisation skills
  • Ability to work on own initiative and identify opportunity
  • A strong sense of influence and ambition
  • Technical mastery in the Adobe creative suite
  • A strong sense of ownership of work and quality
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong ability to work within fixed deadlines
  • Ability to be a team-player with a co-operative, good-humoured attitude
Bonus Skills:
  • Motion/Animation skills - experience in After Effects would be favourable
  • Experience in front end dev packages like Sketch or Figma
  • Elementor page builder experience
  • UI/UX design experience
 

ry0ryryry

New Member
Following on from this. Here's another advert for a 'Creative Services Assistant'
Personally, I think this is a bit much of an ask, especially when it's offering £23-25k.
Yeah, they assume graphic designers can pretty much do everything in the Adobe Creative software for £23-25k. Absolute bonkers
 

oldcelt

New Member
This is something I have talked about for decades. Having gotten into the design business long before PC's, I have seen it go from "wow these computers will speed up my work" to "everyone with word calls themselves a graphic designer". I actually adopted the term "Graphic Design Specialist" for myself in the mid-1990's. I had evolved into pre-press and handled so many files from "Graphic Designers" that thought they had created something that could be printed, only to find out it would take me re-doing the entire job because they really did not know what they were doing. The result over the years has been to de-value the entire process because these people would spend 5 minutes learning Word and then under cut real pros to take design jobs. The bosses that hired them did not know any different and as the years went on it became the norm. Real pros had to start learning other facets of the business just to get a foot in the door for the same low pay.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
Yes, it really sickened me the other day; I was walking by a barber shop and there was an advert for a job opportunity. The sign says if you are a registered barber...

So you have to register to become a professional hair dresser... But there are no such boundaries for entry in design
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
Yes, it really sickened me the other day; I was walking by a barber shop and there was an advert for a job opportunity. The sign says if you are a registered barber...

So you have to register to become a professional hair dresser... But there are no such boundaries for entry in design
To be fair, that 'registered barber' thing is a voluntary thing (last I checked) although the 'council' that registers barbers were trying to push for it to be legal requirement for all barbers/hair dressers to be registered by law (same as doctors etc)... I'm sure there's no financial gain for them at all....

Last I checked the only registration you need to cut hair in a shop is for health and safety etc.
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
But isn't it something
Don't get me wrong, I'd love for there to be some sort of necessity for a qualification/training, but unless every country follows suit it won't make much difference, especially with places like India/Pakistan who are already charging stupidly low prices but pretend to be based in the UK/USA.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
True, not like you can get a haircut over the internet.
Or travel to India for a haircut.

With no barriers to entry through the industry just gets diluted.
In saying that, a self-taught hairdresser cannot just come in from a foreign country to setup, they'd need to be registered.

It would have to be such a way that it's almost a requirement for businesses to deal with only registered graphic designers.

Much like you would having to deal with financial institutes.
 

oldcelt

New Member
Don't get me wrong, I'd love for there to be some sort of necessity for a qualification/training, but unless every country follows suit it won't make much difference, especially with places like India/Pakistan who are already charging stupidly low prices but pretend to be based in the UK/USA.
yes, but keep in mind that those guys are supplying b. card art at billboard size to clients here and the communication is the same as tech support. I have had to deal with SO MANY of them. Colors are almost always wrong also.
 

oldcelt

New Member
I often thought it would be cool to have a show like Ink Master...ya know....like 'Design Master" and a bunch of old timers "like us" would judge these "so called" "designers" with challenges we came up with.
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
I often thought it would be cool to have a show like Ink Master...ya know....like 'Design Master" and a bunch of old timers "like us" would judge these "so called" "designers" with challenges we came up with.
there have been 'design shows', although not necessarily in the UK and I'm not sure if there were graphics ones but there were some that cover my 'product design'.

off the top of my head...
  1. blown away - netflix show with glass blowing as the main topic
  2. forged in steel - discovery, making bladed weapons
  3. framework - furniture design and manufacture. This was actually pretty good, sadly only got one season :( The winner Jory Brigham is insanely talented and skilled.
  4. ellens next great designer - furniture, not as good as framework
  5. interior design - too many to list
There's also some shows which focus on designers, Abstract: The Art of Design is one which is on netflix for example
 

oldcelt

New Member
there have been 'design shows', although not necessarily in the UK and I'm not sure if there were graphics ones but there were some that cover my 'product design'.

off the top of my head...
  1. blown away - netflix show with glass blowing as the main topic
  2. forged in steel - discovery, making bladed weapons
  3. framework - furniture design and manufacture. This was actually pretty good, sadly only got one season :( The winner Jory Brigham is insanely talented and skilled.
  4. ellens next great designer - furniture, not as good as framework
  5. interior design - too many to list
There's also some shows which focus on designers, Abstract: The Art of Design is one which is on netflix for example
Yea but I mean Graphic Design. One where you would have to prove you had the skills that would have been valued back in the day AND the know how to produce with the current tools.
 
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