Graphic design is a big commercial industry demanding a unique blend of technical and creative expertise. Some believe that graphic designers’ sole work is to make use of their artistic talent to craft catchy videos and stunning images. But graphic design goes beyond applying pure art with an aesthetic satisfaction. Instead it is the crossroads of visual arts, communication, psychology and other expert areas. A good design transfers an intended message that aligns to the purpose of the business it represents. To achieve this, graphic designers essentially instill in themselves a business mindset while applying design thinking expertise in order to understand their clients’ needs and deliver purposeful art.
The following list summarizes 5 different graphic designer roles that require you to have not only a pair of artful eyes, but also a fair share of market knowledge and customer relationship experience to successfully stand out as professionals.
1. User Interface/User Experience Designer
Web design are generally sub-categorized into UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) design, both of which are instrumental to creating a functional product like website, software or application. UX design focuses on the technical aspect concerning the logic and structure of the elements a user sees and interacts with. On the other hand, UI design involves the visual aspect of these interactive elements, which are expected to align to the intended use of the product or service. In other words, UI design relates to enhancing the usability of a product by refining its appearance.
UI/UX designers generally embody a basic understanding of coding techniques apart from visual communication and design knowledge. Generally, UI/UX specialists have high graphic design competency. Their job is to make the interaction between the customers and the product as intuitive and efficient as possible. For such reason, UI and UX design tend to be performed by the same person.
In the modern age of technology, UI/UX designers are versatile talents who are highly sought after by various businesses. These professionals play a crucial role in increasing brand awareness (thus commercial growth) by enhancing the aesthetic value of various companies’ products. The average salary of a UI/UX designer in Singapore stands at S$41,271, and the figure can go much higher in relation to the designer’s experience and accreditations.
2. Logo Designer
Although a lot of graphic designers may not solely limit their designing capabilities to just making logos, it is one of the most interesting and exciting category of graphic design. A logo designer is an artist responsible for crafting the visual representation by means of icons that symbolizes the nature and brand value of the clients and their businesses.
Not only do they need to be artistic, they should also have a strong technical knowledge in utilizing software such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Coral Draw and so on. With that said, logo designers usually go through a process of understanding fundamental business and developing concepts to create the symbolism of their clients’ business functionality and vision.
On average, a logo design can cost small businesses or start-ups from about S$150 to S$1500 in Singapore. However, a client with high budget allowance may even pay up to a six-figure price for a professional logo designer with an impressive portfolio. Therefore, how a logo is worth has a lot to do with the client profile and the weight of the project.
3. Photoshop Artist
Photoshop artists work along with other professionals like photographers, fashion designers, multimedia designers, interior designers, marketers and brand administrators to create images that enhance a sense of reality, marketability and impact. Photoshop artists are capable of much more than simply retouching and beautifying photographs; they can manipulate images to create mesmerizing artworks.
As the name suggests, these artists are the masters of Adobe Photoshop software. However, other artistic and technical knowledge covering design principles, design thinking and fine arts are also highly favored.
Photoshop artists can either land at corporates or engage in freelance projects for ad-hoc clients, depending on their qualifications and portfolio. Their work typically includes improving photographs through retouching activities, color grading, realistic manipulation and adding other kinds of visual appeal. Generally speaking, photoshop designers may not require a formal education to establish a successful career, though several clients may prefer them to have a proper degree. An impressive portfolio, however, is usually the distinguishing factor for many photoshop artists.
As of 2018, the basic annual salary of a graphic designer with photoshop skills in Singapore starts at S$29,623 exclusive of bonuses and commissions. In larger companies like Gallagher & Associates Asia, a graphic designer can earn up to $72,000 a year which is 161% above national average. Regardless, this figure is highly subjective and tend to vary greatly since many of them get paid on a per project basis.
4. 3D Modeling Artist
3D Modeling artists combine their design skills with technical knowledge to create the prototypes of the products ranging from everyday appliances like mugs and coffeemakers to more complex products like automobile designs. They work with people across several industries to build new or modify existing products to enhance their functionality and overall user experience. Many such designers are highly observant, detail-oriented and make use of both fine and applied arts to transcribe ideas into models on a screen, which then become the actual products we see and use in real life.
There are a lot of 3D modeling software and its applicability varies depending on the type of the product to be designed or prototyped. SketchUp, Autodesk Revit, Autodesk 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Maya, Blender and Z-brush are all professional 3D modeling and animation software highly employed by practitioners in game design, architectural & interior design and other forms of design visualization.
How much 3D modeling designers may make a year depends on the type of the product they design. Those engaged in construction projects can earn a loftier amount than much less complicated projects, but again the designer’s portfolio can greatly determine his or her compensation package. That said, these professionals make an average of S$41,866 a year in Singapore.
5. Layout Designer
Layout designers are usually employed in journals, books, magazines and similar publication houses. They collaborate with marketing specialists, journalists, writers and advertisers to produce informative and attractive contents with a fresh and unique look.
Layout designers, also known as visual concept artists in a more general term, use Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator software to reinforce information through visual communications. Layout designers make use of photographs, illustrations, typography and text to blend them with design principles and to deliver a set of printed pages that are more viewer friendly. Layout designers also create posters, flyers, brochures and covers that can easily market products, services or personas.
Being the most common and versatile designers, layout designers can secure jobs within PR & marketing specialized firms or in such department within other corporate companies regardless of the business they run. Their pay grade is highly subjective to the nature of the industry they’re employed in. Those with longer industrial experience and a wider mastery of design software including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign can loft up the salary.
Graphic designer – being a fair blend of art and business – is a very interesting role. The versatile nature of graphic designers makes it even more fascinating and highly practical, especially where every industry would demand creativity to thrive in today’s markets. Therefore, if you’re one of those out there considering a career in graphic design, don’t be afraid to follow your passion. Whether it is website design, logo design or modeling artist, your options are wide open, and the choice is yours to decide on how to build your profession.