What is a Graphic Designer?

What is the role of the Graphic Designer?

The role of a graphic  design is to create visual concepts, either from sketches or via software. This to show ideas that have been informed or inspired by the client. They create the overall layout and design for magazines, brochures, advertisements, etc. The role can also be set for them to create lettering, illustration, etc.

For a freelance graphic designer, their role is for clients to come to them, and either have their work produced for free or a little bit of money. This path to be a graphic designer gives you more experience and can make your CV look better for future clients to hire you.


What job opportunities exist?

  •  Junior graphic designer
  • Magazine designer
  • Illustrator
  • Printmaker
  • Production designer
  • Advertising art director
  • Multimedia specialist


What skill sets are needed by a Graphic Designer?

For a graphic designer, the main skill to have is design skills and methods of producing work, i.e. drawing and sketching, printmaking, typography, digital media, etc. This is essential and also to have technical skills to use software like InDesign and Photoshop.

You need to be creative, having to be open to new ideas, inspirations and different techniques.

To be a graphic designer, teamwork is a key skill to have, as there is a lot of collaborating with creative projects with other designers and working with different creative courses.

Time management skills are needed. This even if you are freelance or working for a large company, deadlines would be set, so organisation skills are included in this.

The capacity to work independently in order to complete deadlines, produce your own work and to build up your portfolio.


Who do you think are the top five design companies within the UK and why?

Q Magazine – this music magazine is said to be “the UK’s biggest music magazine, music news, reviews and world exclusives with the most important bands on the planet.” This company started in 1986 and has been successfully been running for over 30 years.


I think this is one of the top five companies because it is a long-running and successful magazine, music is a big part of our culture, and it is suitable for all generations. I really like how bold the ‘Q’ icon is, which captures my eye straight away, and the layout and structure of the whole cover are simple and easy to process.

Mojo – this is a popular music magazine published by Emap until 2008 then Bauer, monthly in the UK. Following the success of Q magazine, Emap was looking for a title to release a classic rock magazine. It was first published in 1993 in keeping with its classic rock aesthetic.  With its in-depth coverage of popular acts, it has been the inspiration for Blender and Uncut magazine.


I believe this is one of the top five magazines as it features mainstream and classic rock music, targets a wide audience, and has been successful in the industry. It also includes a CD which ties with the theme of the magazine, which is also a good selling point for the magazine. I also like the layout and structure of the magazine, as it is simple, but bold and stands out.

Rock Sound – latest rock, metal, pop-punk and metalcore music news and reviews, music videos and pictures magazine. The magazine aims at being more underground and less commercial, whilst still having coverage to more well-known acts. Although primarily aimed at the British market, the magazine is also sold in Australia, Canada and the US.


I think this is one of the biggest music magazines as it is mainstream, eye catching and has a main focused category of music. I collect this magazine as I love the content, the charts, the bands, and also the design of the magazine. The magazine construction of the front covers is what always gets me to buy them. They are always bold, the lettering colour and font stand out, and the main image is usually my favourite artist. I think this is one of the top five, as my generation grew up more on the rock music, and also when you buy a magazine, I mainly purchase them for the posters, stories and the pleasure I get from it.

NME- New Musical Express is a British music journalism magazine published since 1949. It is mostly associated with rock, alternative and indie music. It was the first British paper to include a singles chart. In the 1970’s it became the best-selling British music magazine. In 1996, NME.com was launched. It became the worlds biggest standalone music site.


This is one of the UK’s top 5 magazines as it a big seller, successful and modern. It keeps up with the technology, which is important for younger generations as we would not buy hard copy products, and would be easy to browse and find it. This is a well-known organisation and targets a wide audience based on the theme and genre of the issue.

Kerrang! – It is a UK-based magazine devoted to rock music. It was first published in 1981 as a one-off supplement in the Sounds newspaper. Kerrang! was initially devoted to the new wave of British heavy metal and the rise of hard rock acts. In the early 2000’s it became the best-selling British music magazine. From this magazine, there is now a music channel, music tour, awards ceremony, radio and website, all from the success of the magazine.


I think to me this is the biggest and most successful rock music magazine in the UK. I think it delivers to people from teenagers to adults. It is always up-to-date with the latest trends, news, concerts and chart. This was my first magazine I purchased when I was young, and still collect them to this day, as they are now a part of me and my life. The image above I actually have a paper based magazine of, as the front cover image is of my favourite band, the font colours are my favourite colours and stood out to me more.

I have previously in college been inspired by Kerrang! magazine and the influence of John Longbottom inspired me to create my own covers based on his work. He has worked with Kerrang! as their former news and online editor.


Which skills do you have already?

The skills I had before coming into university were, communication skills – as I work in retail, communication is vital. Also from my job I gained team working skills, as I had to train staff, work with others to set up displays and work with my managers.

I have good time management skills, as I set out times in available times of the day to do certain work. I would plan out when I had college, work from college, my job, and free time to spend with family and friends. This structure helped me a lot and kept everything organised.

I have Photoshop skills from studying media studies and photography in college. This was our main editing software to produce DVD covers, magazine covers and editing photographs. By having these skills, it is helping me more in university as we have to use Photoshop. Also, the principles are similar to InDesign and Illustrator.

I am an individual worker. I complete projects on time, in my job I would help customers, cash up, serve customers and customer services. If I had any problems, I would happily ask for help from family, friends, tutors or employees.


What other skills do you need to acquire? And what steps will you take in obtaining these skills?

I need to develop my presentation skills, as I am quite shy to talk in front of a large audience and to remember a lot of detail. My confidence has grown slightly since I have started university, but I think over the next 3 years, my pitching and presenting skills will develop, and I will be more confident to interact more and give a good pitch and sell my products.

My networking skills need to be built, even though I am on most networking sites, I need my work to be noticed. With the development of my work over the next few years and experiences with other design companies, I can show a better portfolio of work, and build up my network.

I need to develop my skills in Adobe, as in the magazine industry, it is all mostly technology based and is important to know how to use InDesign and Photoshop. With practise over the next few years, my skills will develop to create covers and content pages for magazines, books, brochures, etc.


Which ways can you use interactive “self-promotion” in obtaining job opportunities?

Social medias – Facebook, twitter, websites, blogger and letterpress.

Collaborating with other designers, artists – work can be recognised through the collaborators work through their social media sites and portfolios.


Self-promotion through creative CV’s, business cards, brochures, etc.

References from designers.


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