How to Become a Visual Designer: Skills, Salary & Examples



Visual Design Career

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.

What Is Visual Design?

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 image to bring about the most impactful experience.

Visual Design Examples

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:

Artwork and images

A visual designer often plays a huge role in deciding which images and artwork is used, and how best to use them. Visual designers often work as part of a team but, especially at an art director level, their decisions can carry a lot of weight.

Branding

Conceptualizing web pages, mobile apps, brochures, and even branded clothing items that effectively convey an organization’s branded message can be part of a visual designer’s role.

Infographics

Consolidating complex data (like surveys or other research) into a visual presentation can be a graphic design challenge; visual designers can help teams package complex ideas into a more appealing and accessible package.

Landing pages and layout

Creative teams can get mired in the details of an organization’s home page or landing page; a visual designer can often take a “step-back” approach that helps clear up visual clutter and convey a cohesive message.

Logos and icons

Visual designers often play a huge role in creating and developing branded logos that can connect with customers and make an organization immediately recognizable.

How to Become a Visual Designer

In general, employers looking to hire for visual design positions will require that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, fine arts, visual communications, or a related field. However, it’s not always necessary to have a four-year degree to qualify for a visual design position since some employers give a lot of weight to experience, training or certifications, technological know-how, and a strong portfolio.

In many cases, graphic design software programs offer ways to get certified for proficiency. The following are just a few of the many to consider:

Adobe

Adobe’s graphic design platforms are among the most prevalent in the industry; its offerings include Adobe Certified Association certification in graphic design and illustration.

Calarts

Offered by the California Institute of the Arts, this online program offers a Graphic Design Specialization certification through the online learning program Coursera.

Creative Bloq

A clearinghouse website for “art and design inspiration,” Creative Bloq offers access to online graphic and visual design courses, some of them free.

LinkedIn Learning

Get training in visual design basics as well as in advanced design tools with LinkedIn Learning’s array of tutorials and courses in graphic design.

Skillshare

Skillshare offers a range of graphic design courses, covering topics like graphic design basics, logo design, and digital illustration.

Visual Designer Skills

There’s an array of skills and tools to master as you build your visual designer career. The thread connecting all the skills below is communicating—not just visually (though that’s obviously important), but in other ways too:

Technological know-how

Staying current on evolving practices and keeping technical skills up to date is critical.

Excellent verbal and written skills

Communicating ideas to colleagues, clients, and supervisors is fundamental to bring concepts to fruition.

Multitasking

Juggling multiple projects, or multiple tasks within a single project, is a common responsibility for visual designers.

Attention to detail

A visual designer with a sharp eye for detail can have huge influence on a project’s success, along with keeping track of what needs to be done, and when.

Collaborative 

For some employers, a visual designer’s ability to work collaboratively with a creative team is an absolute requirement.

Independence

Especially if you’re a freelance or contract virtual designer, it’s helpful to cultivate independence and the ability to self-start, self-motivate, and meet deadlines and expectations without prompting.

Visual Designer Salary

The salary for visual designers is about $65,000 a year on average, according to PayScale calculations. Factors that affect pay levels can include experience and training, technical proficiency, and the strength of your visual design portfolio.

The PayScale research on salaries found that companies including Amazon and IBM were among the top employers looking to hire for the job title of visual designer. Companies whose salaries for visual designers topped the list included Amazon, Microsoft, and the New York-based digital agency Huge.

Finding a Visual Designer Job

Just like other graphic design jobs, we offer visual design jobs with work flexibility. At FlexJobs we see remote, flexible schedule, and freelance options for qualified candidates.

And our listings are guaranteed to be legitimate jobs, meaning finding a flexible job can be easier and faster.

CONNECT TO FLEXIBLE VISUAL DESIGN JOBS >>>

Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com