Print Design Career Guide: Job Description, Salary and More
If you’re looking to launch a career in print design, the field has a lot to offer, despite the competition from other categories in the graphic design field.
A print design job can take you into various aspects of media and entertainment, and it can also offer paths into other sectors of graphic design careers. A range of industries require printed products like brochures, pamphlets, catalogs, and product packaging—tangible, physical items that require artwork in printed form.
The publishing industry is a major employer of print designers. Print designers in publishing can be tasked to work on products like book covers, magazines, greeting cards, museum exhibit catalogs, or even in the textile or apparel industries.
The number of graphic design jobs is expected to grow by 3% through 2028, according to federal figures. However, jobs in some print sectors (newspaper, periodicals, and directory publishers) are projected to decline sharply (by 22%) in that same period.
What Is Print Design?
Print designers work, often in a digital format, to conceptualize and design an end product that’s usually printed in physical form, on materials including paper, plastic, cloth material, or even ceramics. Educational and trade organizations like the nonprofit Printing Industries of America can be a great resource for information.
Keep in mind that print designers usually don’t do the actual printing of the product they’ve designed. Their work can be categorized as largely more artistic, although a high level technical proficiency, especially when it comes to graphic design computer software programs, is a necessary skill.
Examples of Print Design
The publishing industry employs talented print design professionals to conceptualize book covers that can bring a book’s concept to life.
While most news organizations and magazines have an online presence, many still produce print editions that are put together with the help of print designers.
From nonprofits to corporate entities, organizations of all stripes often produce informational or promotional information in print form.
Even though there’s a lot of “do-it-yourself” software offering templates for posters or flyers, there’s still demand for print designers who can take the design up to professional levels.
Retail outlets (especially high-end ones) often hire print designers to create everything from packing to shopping bags and totes.
The fashion industry hires for print designers, often to create prints used for everything from haute couture print designs to silk-screened T-shirts.
The restaurant industry hires graphic designers specializing in print to create attractive menus that feature their best food; designing for big-chain restaurants, for example, can offer print designers a nationwide platform for their creations.
Graphic Design vs. Print Design
Print design is effectively a subset of the broader field of graphic design. While there can be a fair amount of overlap, a print design career offers a specific path and particular skill sets that lend themselves to creating designs for tangible products.
If you have a keen eye for designing “things” (as opposed to results that are purely visual), you may have a bent toward a career in print design, within the broader framework of the graphic design field.
How to Become a Print Designer
If you’re just launching your career as a print designer, check out educational programs and training affiliated with the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. It’s a great resource for college-level programs and networking.
In addition to formal education, consider on-the-job training and internships that can help you build your resume and your portfolio. Getting your foot in the door with an entry-level job can help you build your network and grow your design skills.
Print Design Job Responsibilities
As a print designer, you may be called on to work as part of a creative team to come up with a product design. Or, you may work independently, reporting to an art director or other supervisor for feedback as you go.
A print design career may entail creating a product from inception, bringing it from the drawing board through the final finished stages. Or you may be handed a general concept from an employer, with the expectation that you’ll refine the concept through to the completed product. The flexibility to work remotely, part-time, or freelance can be part of the appeal of a print designer’s job responsibilities.
Print Designer Salary Expectations
According to PayScale, the average salary for print designers in the U.S. is $54,750 year. That can vary greatly, of course, depending on the employer and the industry.
A print designer for a corporate employer or a major publishing house is likely to earn more than a similar professional working for a nonprofit, for example. Other factors that can affect your income level include your training, education, background, and proficiency with design technology platforms.
Finding a Print Design Job
Due to the software and online programs used by print designers, many design jobs can be done from home, on a freelance contract, or on a flexible schedule. No matter what kind of flexibility you desire in a print design job, FlexJobs offers a safe way to find these types of jobs.
Our print design job category is updated regularly with new jobs, and we guarantee that every job is with a legitimate employer.
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com
Tags: graphic design career
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