Updated December 2023
Graphic design is probably one of the most misunderstood fields out there. Every year, we meet with students who are interested in applying to this program—but only a few truly understand what a graphic designer does or what it's really like to work in this field.
For one thing, there are a lot more job options than most people realize. And the skillset for graphic designers is quite a bit more complex and technical than you might think.
This post is dedicated to setting the record straight and busting the most common graphic design myths, once and for all. From the real purpose of design, to career options, tools of the trade, and the skills you’ll need to be successful—it’s all here.
Get the straight facts on what it means to become a graphic designer. Understand what to expect in training and at work...and find out if this career is right for you. Let’s get started!
Myth #1: Graphic Designers Must be Talented Artists
Not everyone who works in graphic/web design is a natural-born artist. Some people in this field are more technically minded. Or they’re great visual thinkers and excellent problem solvers. Or they love working with the latest software programs and digital design tools.
The point is, working in graphic design requires more than raw artistic talent. Success in this field depends on a combination of skills. Creativity is definitely an asset—but you don't need to be great at drawing or painting to become a graphic designer.
Myth #2: Graphic Designers Don’t Need Business Savvy
Unless you’re independently wealthy and plan on designing just for yourself, you’ll be working for someone else—like a brand, business, or design agency.
That means you need to understand how that business works, and how your designs will help your employer reach their business goals. Do you need a degree in business? No. But a basic understanding of marketing strategy, ecommerce, and user behaviour are very useful for graphic designers.
That’s why good graphic design training addresses business and communication strategy, so students can learn to speak that “language” before heading out into the workforce.
Myth #3: Graphic Design isn’t a Technology Field
Quite the contrary. Today’s graphic designers use a variety of software and computer applications to get their projects done. In fact, working in this field demands fairly strong tech skills—or at least, a willingness to learn.
Graphic/web design training focuses heavily on teaching students how to use tools like:
- HTML/CSS programming
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe InDesign
- Adobe Dreamweaver
Myth #4: Graphic Designers Only work in digital
No so. While digital media has definitely transformed the world of graphic design, there are still many applications for print work.
Authors still need book covers. Musicians still want album art. There is still demand for posters, signage, product packaging, and other non-digital products.
It all depends on how you want to specialize. Many training programs teach a combination of digital and print graphic design techniques.
Myth #5: Graphic Designers have limited job options
This is a really common misconception. The truth is, today’s graphic/web designers have more job options than ever before. They can work for:
- Advertising/marketing firms
- Small businesses
- Large corporations
- Film and television
- Web design companies
- Your own business
Myth #6: Graphic Design & web design are two totally separate fields
It’s true that most graphic designers aren’t full-stack web developers—but, many training programs include a combination of graphic and web design courses.
At Herzing, for example, our program teaches programming, wire-framing, and website design, PLUS the principles of graphic design, so graduates are prepared to work in both domains.
Quite a few employers want graphic designers with web design skills. Understanding how your design will play out in a live environment makes it easier to collaborate with developers and create a truly great user experience.
Plus, a lot of graphic design jobs demand skills that span everything from digital to print to web design. The more you know, the more job options you'll have.
Myth #7: Graphic Design is Just about making things “look good”
Graphic design is about communicating key ideas and prompting action. Whether that’s inspiring someone to consider a new idea, buy a product, or get up and do something—graphic design is about much more than making things “look good.”
In fact, the whole point of design is to go deeper than the surface. Design is about solving problems and making important connections with your target audience.
It’s not about chasing after all the latest visual trends or basing work on your own personal design preferences. Graphic designers help people see and experience the world in new ways. A great design can be a total game-changer.
Myth #8: Graphic Design is easy
If it really was easy, why would so many people need to hire designers in the first place? Couldn't they just do the work themselves?
Graphic design is a complex, challenging discipline. It involves creativity, problem solving, technical skills, people skills, and the ability to communicate and adapt ideas.
Every project presents its own unique challenges. Sure, some small aspects of design can be repetitive...but on the whole, this career is about solving new problems every single day.
It takes training, hard work, and dedication to become a respected graphic designer.
Myth #9: Graphic Designers have final say on every project
Any working graphic designer will laugh out loud when they hear this one. Graphic design is very much a two-way street. Your client explains their preferences and goals for a project. You submit a proposal you believe meets those criteria.
And then there’s usually a long back-and-forth throughout the entire duration of the project where you’re negotiating ideas with the client. This process usually involves plenty of edits, discussions, and revisions of your original concept.
Whether it’s about settling the budget or debating some tiny detail, graphic designers almost never get final say on the finished product. The work evolves as it progresses—and the client always comes first.
That’s why communication, collaboration, and flexibility are such important skills for graphic designers. You need a thick skin to succeed in this business!
Myth #10: It Takes at least 2 years to FInish graphic design training
Yes, some graphic design schools offer two-year programs—but there are other alternatives out there. You’ll find accelerated training that takes well under a year to complete. You can even do a part-time graphic design program in less than 24 months.
At Herzing College, we offer a 10-month accelerated graphic design program. Training also includes a six-week internship.
So, if a busy schedule or limited budget is holding you back from taking a longer program, know that shorter, flexible options are out there!
Still Have questions about Graphic design?
If you’re wondering about graphic design training or have questions about the career, your next step is to talk with an admissions advisor. Advisors are experts in matching students with programs and helping them map out a career plan that works.
Meeting with admissions will help you understand more about training, financial aid, how to manage your schedule, and whether the school is right for you.
Get started by clicking below to see the graphic design program. Check out courses, admissions requirements, student work, and chat live with an advisor. We’re here to help!