A Career in Graphic Design
Click here for a list of design schools.
Click here for information about GDC national scholarships.
Graphic design has an enormous and significant impact on society and culture. Designers create visual communication that educates, informs, persuades and inspires the public each day. Designers put a face to our government, institutions, advertising, products and services. Look around you and you will find something created by a graphic designer — cereal boxes, postage stamps, transit shelter advertising, textbooks, magazines, newspapers, websites, mobile apps, event posters, logos, and even shopping bags. Graphic designers thrive on solving communication problems, meeting tight deadlines, and producing original solutions.
If you're considering a career in graphic design, there are many colleges and universities offering programs leading to diplomas or degrees. Contact the schools listed at the top of this page, and consider programs that meet your career aspirations.
In this dynamic industry, you can look forward to working with other talented and creative people, including photographers, illustrators, writers, marketing strategists, typographers, web developers, printers — and other designers. Graphic design is a field where you can practice anywhere in the world from anywhere in the world.
You will be a part of the huge communications industry, one of Canada’s largest employers. Whether you work in a small studio or a large institutional design department, you'll find exciting design challenges, rewarding financial benefits, and unlimited career options as a graphic designer.
The Design Process
Graphic designers are visual communicators. They thrive on the challenge of solving communication problems. Design projects can range from creating a banner ad for a website or designing a poster for an event promotion to the development of a comprehensive brand identity for a corporation.
The typical design process begins with a meeting with the client and a creative brief. After discussing the project goals, audience, budget, and schedule with the client, the designer develops a proposal detailing expectations about the work clarifying objectives, project background, the design process, deliverables and estimate. The client accepts the proposal and the designer draws up a contract with the project parameters and payment terms.
The designer starts the project by gathering information, analyzing the problem and developing a strategy. Research is an important component of the design process. Designers look at the client's competition, target audience, and engage in market and ethnographic research, user experience analysis, and visual exploration to support the process. The client and the designer discuss the project requirements and potential opportunities, and the designer begins working on ideas for the design solution.
Concepts, sketches, storyboards, mood boards and concept maps are all part of the initial ideation phase for the design solution. These are further developed into formal presentations to the client for discussion, input and approval. The design process is iterative and can take several weeks or months depending on the scope of the project.
Once the client approves the design solution, the designer further refines the concepts, develops the final content and begins the production phase for the deliverables. If photographs or illustrations are required, they must be art directed and produced. If a website is needed, the designer must establish the structure and functionality.
The designer may need to implement the solution across multiple media platforms — print, web, motion, mobile, environmental (3-D), packaging and social media. The designer is responsible for working with several specialized areas within the creative industry to produce the deliverables, managing and supervising the project up to the final completion.
The project ends with a project debriefing between the client and the designer to review the process, outcomes, feedback and to identify potential new opportunities. A key part of the designer’s role is to build a relationship with the client.
The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada
Founded in 1956, the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) is the national association of professional graphic designers. GDC members uphold the GDC Code of Ethics, which was adopted to guide our members in their professional practice in a way that ensures a fair balance between the needs of our Members, our clients, our profession and our world. The GDC is also a member and subscribes to the recognized and accepted standards of ethics, professional code of conduct and responsibility of the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda).
Represented by regional chapters across the country, GDC members subscribe to the objectives, goals and conduct of the Society and are concerned with design as away of life and livelihood. In private practice or salaried employment, in education or public service, members form a network of professional assistance that is a resource to business, industry and the public.
For educators, membership in the GDC requires the same qualifications as an applicant for CGD™ certification, but no portfolio submission. Click here for more information on GDC Membership for Educators.
To contact the chapter nearest you click here.
You can also e-mail the for more information.
Illustration: Madison Tuff, GDC Student Member, Capilano University
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