Graphic Design Jobs: Where Are They and What Skills Do You Need to Land Them?

Graphic Design Jobs: Where Are They and What Skills Do You Need to Land Them?

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This is a guest article contributed by Callie.

Some words of wisdom for those aspiring graphic designers out there: the better you understand the industry, the better your odds are of landing a job. It seems elementary but it’s tough to find a job if you don’t know where to look. It’s even tougher if you don’t possess the skills and abilities needed to be successful in the position.

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So in order to assist you in your research about the graphic design industry, this article will answer two important questions:

The answers to these questions were exposed after using real-time employment data from to analyze nearly 40,000 graphic design job postings in the USA from 2013.

You’ll learn about the top graphic design hot spots in the U.S. (see Europe here) and also discover some of the hottest design skills employers are seeking. Use this information to help you in your quest to land your dream graphic design job.

Graphic design job locations

Whether you’re just curious about opportunities close to home or you’re looking to relocate to land your dream job, the following map will be a handy resource in determining where the graphic design hot spots are located.

Graphic Design Jobs Map

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Photo Credit: Rasmussen College

Above you’ll see the number of U.S. graphic design job openings based on region. The color-coded key will help you determine the prevalence of job opportunities in each state.

Top 5 Cities for Graphic Design Jobs

Now that you’ve got a feel for where the jobs are, let’s take a look at the top five U.S. cities that offered the most job opportunities for graphic designers in 2013. You’ll also see the three employers with the most graphic design job openings for each city.

See also this article on how to get a job at a design agency.

1.  New York City, N.Y.

CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
Ralph Lauren

2. Los Angeles, Calif.

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Forever 21
Fox Broadcasting Company
Creative Circle

3.  San Francisco, Calif.


4.  Chicago, Ill.

Razorfish, Inc.
University of Chicago

5.  Seattle, Wash.

Starbucks Coffee

Graphic design skills you need to succeed

Knowing where the graphic design jobs are is essentially useless if you’re not qualified to land one. Graphic design is a fast-paced industry that is constantly adopting new techniques and technologies, so it’s important to know which skills are worth focusing on to increase your appeal to employers.

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Graphic designers must possess a unique balance between creative innovation and technical prowess. The aforementioned analysis of job postings revealed the top graphic design skills that employers are seeking in prospective designers.

The data can be divided into two categories: soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills tend to be inherent characteristics that are more difficult to teach. They play a pivotal role in the day-to-day operations of the job but in such a technical profession, they don’t do much good unless accompanied by the necessary hard skills. Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that can be measured.

Take a look at the five most requested hard and soft skills for graphic designers.

Hard skills in demand:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Many more

Soft skills in demand:

  • Communication & coordination
  • Business environment
  • Problem solving
  • Process flow
  • Digital strategy

Bringing it all together …

Now that you’ve gotten some insight about the industry, you can start to make a game plan for your future as a graphic designer. Consider all the roles, and take some time to determine which of these skills you already possess and which still need some sharpening. You can use this data to identify where you need to focus your efforts in order to develop yourself as a well-rounded designer.

Once you’ve pinpointed where you’d like to work and you master the necessary skills, all that’s left to do is get your foot in the door and start gaining experience. Your curiosity and eagerness to learn about the industry already suggests that you’re destined to be a designer!

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Callie is a Content Creator for Collegis Education. She enjoys writing education and career focused articles to help individuals find their place in the work force. She also regularly contributes to a graphic design career blog. Connect with Callie on Twitter and Google+.

8 thoughts on “Graphic Design Jobs: Where Are They and What Skills Do You Need to Land Them?”

  1. Bula Mate

    Nice article by the way, very true about the skill part. Unfortunately, design as a career, here in the Fiji Islands is not an option most people take up. i bet after reading this most people’s views will change. Design is the coolest and well paid job according to me. You got to have passion for what you do. Congrats or your new achievements bro and keep up the good work. I AM YOUR FAN FOR LIFE.

  2. Your Graphic design skills for success are very true. I like your blog too much. We are also graphic design company Sydney. If any one need job or need any services from us everyone can contact us.

  3. your graphics design skil very powerfull. you better understand and good industry.good job in grphics designing. we good communication skill and hard skill.

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