Graphic Designer

Graphic design is a form of visual communication essential in the marketing of products and services to the consumer. The work of the graphic designer is always geared to the needs of the industry, and includes such tasks as designing annual reports and magazines, posters and books, product packaging and labels, as well as advertisements.

The graphic designer aims to develop a unique and recognisable identity for a product, service, organisation or idea. Their services are required whenever an advertisement goes into print in newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, leaflets, brochures, posters, show cards, package designs, signage or logos.

Graphic designers attempt to transmit specific messages by means of appropriate visual material. A message may be aimed at projecting a certain image of an organisation, transmitting information or promoting a service or product, and should be based on careful market research.

Graphic designers are also involved in the production of film and television advertisements, in the illustration of books and articles, in layouts and in the design of book covers, calendars, labels, wrappers, letterheads and trademarks.

The designing of the corporate identity of an organisation is one of the many interesting facets of the designer’s work. This may entail the creation or modification of a “logo”, which is a single, visually dominating form symbolising the characteristics, nature or name of the organisation or business. This promotes a strong visual image of an organisation. In order to produce a design that reflects general attitude, choice and taste, graphic designers require thorough knowledge of the market. Ideas need to be continually adapted and modernised in order to keep up with, or be ahead of, market trends.

Areas of specialisation for graphic designers depend on the type of work, for example, rendering artist, layout artist, lettering artist, fashion illustrator, book illustrator, freelance illustrator, and/or specifically on the type of employer, for example, advertising agency, packaging manufacturer and publisher.


  • advertising agencies

  • advertising or marketing departments of large organisations

  • printing and publishing firms

  • in-house studios of large firms, such as newspapers

  • graphic design firms

  • industrial companies

  • educational institutions

  • government departments

  • manufacturers and packaging firms

  • self-employment on a freelance basis, acting as consultant to larger firms

Getting Started

  • gain practical experience by doing posters, illustrations and layouts for schools, church and community groups

  • develop your artistic skills, take courses in art and design

  • get a portfolio of your work together

  • try to get a part-time or holiday job with an advertising agency or department

  • speak to graphic designers and artists about this type of career


Africa Digital Media Institute, Asanska College of Design and Technology, Boston City Campus & Business College, Central Johannesburg TVET College, Centurion Academy, Chinhoyi University of Technology, College of Cape Town , Concept Interactive, CTU, Damelin, Durban University of Technology , Greenside Design Center College of Design, Inscape Education Group, Kenyatta University, Kyambogo University, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Motheo TVET College, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, North-West University, Pearson Institute of Higher Education, Prestige Academy, Rongo University College, Rosebank College, Ruth Prowse School of Art, Technical University of Kenya, The Animation School, The Open Window School of Visual Communication, Thekwini TVET College, Tshwane North TVET College, University of Education Winneba, University of Johannesburg, University of Nairobi, University of Pretoria, University of Rwanda, University of Technology Mauritius, University of the Free State, Vaal University of Technology, Varsity College, Vega School of Brand Communications, YMCA Comprehensive Institute

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