Hi, I’m interested in knowing more about the tasks a graphic designer will do in their day to day work. I’m working an assessment about the graphic design industry and the information will be very useful for a brochure I am creating.
Assuming this is a position under employment –
Is this a junior, intermediate, or senior position? Or an art director or creative director?
A freelance graphic designer, perhaps?
intermediate graphic designer position
Depends on what industry they are in and what company they work for. I can guarantee you the designers I know do a lot of things atypical of the standard “graphic designer”
How esoteric do you want to get?
Every company is different. Every situation is different. Every job and the expectations that accompany it are different.
In general, though, an intermediate-level designer should be able to handle most routine projects from beginning to end while receiving help and advice from a senior designer or art director.
In an agency, for example, the CD or AD might meet with clients and account executives to determine the overall conceptual direction of a multi-part ad campaign.
The AD might develop an overall look and personality for the campaign’s components. They might work with writers, photographers, illustrations, and freelancers. They might design some of the more complex or central pieces. The AD would also be responsible for coordinating the activities of the other team designers to ensure that everything was done right, on time, and within budget.
Senior designers would work with the AD on the more important pieces and help fine-tune the overall visual direction of the campaign. A senior designer would be expected to take on a variety of projects from beginning to end with minimal guidance needed from the AD. Senior designers might also be expected to help supervise and advise intermediate and junior designers.
Intermediate designers might be expected to follow the lead the AD and senior designers set while designing collateral pieces themselves — a flyer or brochure, for example. An intermediate designer might also assist both junior and senior designers.
A junior designer might assist in the routine production of everything and be given smaller design assignments to help build up competency and experience.
Of course, this is just one example of a typical agency environment, but it differs from one agency to another. From my experience, the best results are achieved when the hierarchy I’ve just mentioned is informal and a bit fuzzy, with a team approach that gives people ownership of their pieces of the puzzle and a voice in the broader project.
From my weird end of the design spectrum, an intermediate level designer might:
- be sent on site to take measurements for wall murals, hanging art, and most importantly the sizes of the doors in the entries and the elevators to get their stuff where it needs to go.
- stay late after hours to create graphics for a broadcast that airs in less than a week.
- research historic photo content and secure the rights to use them in non-standard contracts (ie Life of the Exhibit isn’t usually an online order option.)
- create artwork based on design templates created by the AD for any given project. This is pretty much fill-in-the-blanks but quite a bit of creativity is needed to get the content flow that keeps visitor attention.
- attend project meetings and progress inspections at any outsource vendors.
- review and approve proofs and process samples (though we usually require sign-off by the AD, not the help when it comes to 5-figure print jobs.)
- be available for questions from outsources.
- be familiar with all kinds of output and production processes beyond the standard “brochure or ad campaign.”
If you’re wondering what kind of job requires this kind of thing, check out images of Broadcast Design or Environmental Graphic Design.