Where Can a Graphic Design Diploma Take You? 5 Creative Career Paths

Examples of student work from the Herzing College Graphic Design Program (Toronto campus)

When most people think "graphic designer", they immediately imagine someone who designs for websites, posters, or advertisements. But, the truth is, there's a whole world of other graphic design applications and career paths out there.

From film and television, to book and album covers, to public services—talented designers are wanted across industries to communicate ideas in creative and compelling ways.

Considering a graphic design diploma, and looking to explore your career options after college? Here's a mini-tour of where design training could take you.

 

1. Graphic Design for Film & Television

Ever wonder who creates the props and set pieces used on film and television sets? An actor reads a newspaper in a scene—but where did it come from?

Who creates the sign for a store-front, packaging for window displays, posters shown on a city street, or those detailed maps and scrolls characters use in adventure movies (think Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter)?

This is all the work of talented graphic designers. Designers for TV and film help create the world the story unfolds in...they add atmosphere, realistic touches, and accessories that make the set feel real for actors and audiences.

Annie Atkins is an award-winning, well-known graphic designer for film and television. She's worked on a long list of high-profile projects, including the Grand Budapest Hotel, The Boxtrolls, Vikings, Titanic: Blood and Steel, and Bridge of Spies.

She focuses on the smallest details, ensuring historical accuracy of things like postage stamps, passports, love letters, and banknotes, creating items that perfectly fit the time and place of each story.

Check out the short video below to meet Annie, and see examples of the amazing products she's designed for films.

 

 

 

2. Graphic Design for Public Services & Spaces

Where do those graphics on busses and subway trains come from? The ones that tell you what to do in case of emergency, where priority seating is, and how to find the nearest exit?

What about the symbols and designs used in train stations, airports, and other public spaces, communicating everything from directions to rules of conduct? This is all the work of graphic designers.

Employers such as the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) hire designers to create maps, infographics, charts, and presentations—for both print and digital. Here's a look at a recent job posting by the TTC, looking for graphic designers to join their team.

Graphic design is all around us, as we travel the city's public spaces. From public art galleries and museums, to shopping malls, libraries, and transit systems. Design is used to communicate, inform, and inspire, around every corner.

 

3. Graphic Design for Book Covers & Album Art

Many a famous graphic designer has made their name designing album covers, posters, and book jackets. This type of design is extremely creative, and gives designers an opportunity to think outside of the box—to draw interest and attention to the events, writers, and musicians their designs represent.

Here's an excellent example of eye-catching, provocative book cover art by designer, Janet Hansen (who is based in New Jersey, and works for Penguin books).

graphic design diplomaImage source: Artsy.net

 

Album cover design is another popular career path for creative designers. Take a look at this epic example from Italian graphic designer Stole “Moab” Stojmenov—hired by Migos to create the collaged cover art for their album, "Culture".

 

graphic design diplomaImage source: Billboard.com

If you love art and music, you could take your graphic design diploma and pursue a career in book and album art. This is an ideal way to take part in these creative industries, collaborate with talented people you admire, and really stretch your abilities as a designer.

 

4. Graphic Design for Logos, Product Packaging & Branding

There are many graphic designers who specialize in logo design and branding. They are experts in developing and communicating a unique identity for brands—and then distilling those ideas into a few simple characters, symbols, and colours.

Take the luxury retailer, Tiffany & Co., for example. Their logo and packaging design was created by legendary graphic designer, Paula Scher, known for her expertise developing identities for corporate brands.

Scher did a "makeover" of the iconic Tiffany brand, changing the font-type, colour, and production technique for their logo and packaging.

 

graphic design diplomaImage source: Pentagram.com

Paul Rand is another famous designer, known for his work with corporate logos. He has designed logos for global delivery service, UPS; television broadcasting company, ABC; and computer hardware company, IBM.

With so much pressure on brands to stand-out and convey a unique identity, logo and branding development has become a key area of graphic design.

 

5. Graphic Design for Marketing & Advertising

And last, but certainly not least, we have the vast realm of graphic design for marketing and advertising. This work encompasses everything from logos and branding, to websites, social media, print, and online advertising.

Designers who work in this field are often employed by design firms, marketing and advertising agencies—or work in-house for a business or brand.

This is where you'll probably get your start after completing your graphic design diploma. Working as a junior designer for an agency or company, you'll help a wide range of clients with things like landing pages, email templates, banner ads, brochures, infographics, business cards, posters, and website design.

You'll help style project proposals, assist with branding strategy, and work closely with copywriters and web developers. In this role, you'll get experience with all kinds of design projects, and a closer look at graphic design as a tool for brand promotion and business growth.

You'll have the chance to discover where your strengths lie, and which kinds of companies you'd like to work with moving forward in your career.

Agency and corporate design work is challenging, busy, and involves juggling multiple projects at once. But that's all in a day's work for a talented graphic designer!

Are you serious about pursuing a graphic design career? Interested in learning more about graphic design colleges in Toronto?

We'd love to hear from you.

Use the link below to explore Herzing's Graphic Design Program. Learn about courses, careers, admissions, and tuition. Browse examples of student work, and connect with a knowledgeable advisor to plan your next steps. We're here to help!

Learn More About Computer Graphic Design Training at Herzing