How To Become a Visual Designer: A Step-by-Step Guide

The creative reach of a visual designer can be broad and impactful: visual designers can help control the finished look of a project, build a company’s brand, market a product through visual engagement, and connect people to an organization’s mission or product.

If you’re interested in cultivating that role within the field of graphic design, a visual design career might be a good fit for you.

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While visual design and graphic design careers overlap, a visual designer has a big impact on the layout, design, and overall look—and success—of a project.

In many respects, the visual design field has grown out of the related areas of graphic design and user interface design, according to the Interaction Design Foundation, a nonprofit education and training resource for designers.

Visual design can incorporate the principles and aesthetics of fine art. In some cases, the work can be less technical than other graphic design careers—in other words, less behind the scenes and more focused on conveying a broader vision.

A visual design career can be a good fit for a graphic design professional with a strong sense of the elements of design, and a feel (as well as training) for how to shape and improve a product or to bring about the most impactful experience.

Experience is key to visual design, and a successful visual design project is one that engages the customer or client and, if applicable, allows for easy interface. Here are a few areas where visual designers can use their skills:

Visual designers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in design and should have a firm grasp of the Adobe Creative Suite, particularly InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. Experience with other software may be required.
  1. Build a firm foundation in design. …
  2. Learn different types of design software. …
  3. Consider getting a bachelor’s degree. …
  4. Take advantage of an internship. …
  5. Build a strong portfolio. …
  6. Start applying for jobs.

Simple Tutorial on Becoming a BETTER VISUAL DESIGNER!

What does a visual designer do?

A visual designer controls the artistic layout, concept, design and overall aesthetic of digital projects. Their roles may vary according to the industry or project. Here are common responsibilities of visual designers:

What is a visual designer?

A visual designer is a professional who incorporates concepts from user interface design, fine art, graphic design and web design to create artistic and appealing visual elements on a website. Visual designers require mastery of typography, color theory and other elements of design. They focus on the layout and design of online platforms that connect businesses to their customers. Businesses and individuals hire them to websites and applications.

How to become a visual designer

You can become visual designer by following these steps:

1. Build a firm foundation in design

To pursue a career in visual design, its helpful to start by learning the basics of design concepts. You can continue to build on these fundamentals throughout your career. There are many components of visual design to learn and master, including:

2. Learn different types of design software

Visual designers use design software, like Photoshop and InDesign, for nearly every part of their work. Its helpful to have an in-depth knowledge of a few different software programs to create various elements for clients. Consider taking a course or completing a tutorial on the programs you choose so you can learn as much as possible.

3. Consider getting a bachelors degree

Though you dont need a bachelors degree to get into visual design, earning one can help you become a more competitive candidate, increase your earning potential and expand job opportunities available to you. Consider getting a degree in visual design, graphic design or a related field. The coursework can help you learn and master different design software, which is especially useful for your career.

4. Take advantage of an internship

Completing at least one internship during your education is a good way to learn how to apply your knowledge in a professional setting. You can typically seek internships during the summers in between semesters, or you can even complete one after graduating from high school or college. You can work with a student adviser to set up an internship with a company partnered with your school. If youre interested in one or two specific businesses, you can reach out to them directly to see if they offer internships.

5. Build a strong portfolio

As you develop your skills and complete your education, create a design portfolio that shows your work. A portfolio optimally contains 10 to 12 examples of your best work, which you can show clients and employers. Try to include works that display a range of abilities, style and unique elements.

There are several online platforms that offer paid and free portfolio plans. You can also host your portfolio pieces on a personal website and even your professional social media handles. Include only your best works in your portfolio to make a good first impression on clients and employers.

You can build your portfolio in many ways. Consider adding work you completed in one of your classes, or offer your services to friends and family members in exchange for the ability to add the work to your portfolio. You can also add any personal projects you completed.

6. Start applying for jobs

Once you complete your education and build your portfolio, you can apply for entry-level visual design roles. Add your portfolio link to your resume, and consider tailoring your resume for each application to stand out. It may also be helpful to send a cover letter in with each application to describe your work and detail one or two of your projects.

You can find work in many industries, including advertising, web design, branding, digital advertising and marketing. You can also freelance if flexibility and independence are important. There are several platforms dedicated to freelance jobs for visual designers that you can explore.

What skills does a visual designer need?

Visual designers should know what colors and other stylistic elements have the most impact on the audience. Here are other skills that a visual designer must have:

Visual designer salary and job outlook

Please note that none of the organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


How can I be a visual designer?

How to become a visual designer
  • Build a firm foundation in design. …
  • Learn different types of design software. …
  • Consider getting a bachelor’s degree. …
  • Take advantage of an internship. …
  • Build a strong portfolio. …
  • Start applying for jobs.

How long does it take to become a visual designer?

How long does it take to become a visual designer? To become a visual designer can take three months to four years, and it depends on if you enter the field with or without a degree. Self-taught designers who have mastered the latest creative software and have a portfolio can qualify for a job in this field.

Are visual designers in demand?

In general, employers hiring for visual design positions will require that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, fine arts, visual communications, or a related field.

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