Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

“If you do it right, it will last forever.”

Massimo Vignelli

Career Opportunities

Graphic designers and interactive designers work in just about every industry imaginable including advertising, publishing, entertainment, technology, finance, health, education, and more. Many designers work in advertising agencies, design firms or in-house marketing departments. About one out of three designers are self-employed working as freelancers or own their own design studio.

Being a successful graphic designer or interactive designer requires excellent communication skills, attention to detail, creativity, problem-solving skills, and up-to-date knowledge of the latest software. Creating an impressive design portfolio is critical in order to obtain employment.

Job outlook

Graphic design and interactive design, like many creative fields, are competitive professions. While publishing and advertising are two of the most prevalent industries when it comes to employing designers, companies in all types of industries are increasingly producing marketing materials in-house. In many cases, designers also significantly contribute to online content and social media campaigns. Opportunities will continue to be plentiful for talented individuals, especially those with web design, animation and strong interpersonal skills.

Earning potential

AIGA publishes an annual survey of design salaries in an interactive format. In Illinois, wages for graphic designers, multi-media artists and animators ranged from $30,660 to $73,240 per year according to 2011 Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) statistics. According to the US Department of Labor, the median annual earnings for graphic designers in the US was $44,830 in May 2013. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,690, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,260.

Career choices with your degree

Graphic designers and interactive designers may carry business cards with titles such as:

  • graphic designer
  • web designer
  • multi-media designer
  • digital artist
  • production artist
  • technical artist
  • pre-press technician

With additional training and experience, you may have titles such as:

  • art director
  • creative director
  • type director
  • technical director
  • photographer
  • illustrator
  • animator
  • web developer
  • producer

Last updated: 1/8/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young