Graphic design is a competitive field, so getting an apprenticeship part-time while in school or just out of school is highly beneficial. In an apprenticeship, you will be working with a professional in the field getting a first-hand view of not only how your mentor designs, but also key issues like how to deal with clients and how to manage a busy work schedule. Consider the different major areas of graphic design and choose the one that best aligns with your skills, such as packaging design, website design, logo design, print design or editorial design.
Industrial Design Apprenticeship
Having an apprenticeship with an industrial graphic designer will have you working with someone who creates day-to-day products such as cars to televisions. Industrial designers use a combination of engineering, aesthetics and graphic design skills to complete their work. This internship is likely to be in a large company assisting an entire department with design work. Work that can be passed to an apprentice could include drafting once the design is complete.
Website Designer Apprenticeship
Interning for a web designer could mean learning from a single person, which should be kept in mind when choosing a place to apprentice. While you may learn a lot about design department hierarchies in a large company, you may learn more assisting a small group of individuals and get more interesting tasks. Web designers create user-friendly online experiences for their clients that are functional, but also aesthetically represent the brand of the company. Apprenticeships will have you watching how these ideas and designs are formed, and work wise you'll be doing back-end design once overall design is conceived.
Freelance Graphic Designer Apprenticeship
It may seem ineffective to work with a freelance graphic designer, but many graphic designers have this as their career goal and you can learn a lot with the right person. Freelancing in graphic design requires not only desirable and specific specialization within the design world, but also business savvy and excellent time management skills. Working for a single person also gives you direct access to your mentor and a greater chance to do highly relevant work.
Book Designer Apprenticeship
Apprenticing with a book designer could happen in a large publishing house or a small design firm. Consider which is a better fit for your career goals. Graphic designers focus on publications laying out visually appealing books, including images, fonts and jacket design. They also often work directly with printers to be sure the colors and print come out as needed for a client. Your duties at a publication design studio could be to work with a printer to lay out the physical elements of the book for presentation to a client.
2016 Salary Information for Graphic Designers
Graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $47,640 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, graphic designers earned a 25th percentile salary of $35,560, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $63,340, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 266,300 people were employed in the U.S. as graphic designers.