Many of today’s high school students are becoming more skilled with technology, but also crave a creative outlet at the same time. If that sounds like you, beginning to learn graphic design might be the perfect fit.
Learning graphic design in high school can provide you with many important skills that you’ll need post-graduation. By taking the time when you’re young to learn the basics and discover your unique style, you’ll be that much further ahead of your peers when it comes to entering the job market. Many profitable careers require a background in graphic design, and learning these skills can also enhance your life in other ways.
Graphic Design as a Hobby
Even if you aren’t sure you want to pursue a full-blown graphic design career, it can make for an engaging hobby. You’ll need access to some specific software programs, but today’s tech-savvy high schoolers are capable of grasping complex technologies with relative ease. Speaking of technology, your first step toward starting your new hobby will be to get your hands on Adobe’s Creative Cloud—this software is a graphic designer’s ideal toolbox.
Graphic designers are particularly proficient in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. You can research tutorials on YouTube to learn more about how to use each program in the Creative Cloud. For practice, you can try recreating the designs that appeal to you to see if you can figure out how they were made. You can also join online communities of other graphic designers to share your work and receive both criticism and inspiration from others who share your passion.
Careers in Graphic Design
In the most basic sense, a graphic designer’s work is focused on still or static images, like logos, billboards, or advertisements in magazines. Having a graphic design career means that you will help create advertisements, logos, and any other visual media to help communicate the message of a brand or a company. Graphic designers also can work for a specific agency or freelance to work with a lot of different people. Their average annual salary is roughly $49,000 per year.
As more and more industries are embracing the digital space, graphic designers have had to shift their focus toward designing images that will translate best online. Below, you’ll find more information about other career paths that require a similar background but might have more growth opportunities in the future.
Although web design and graphic design are two different careers, there is some overlap in skills. Smaller businesses or startups might even want to hire someone who can do both rather than pay salaries for two people. Therefore, it’s worth exploring a career in web design if you enjoy the creative side of graphic design but also have a knack for computers. Web designers combine their knowledge of appealing graphics, current advertising trends, and computer programming to create engaging web pages for their clients. Virtually every business across all industries needs the help of web designers to get their business noticed by consumers. On average, a web designer can make about $44,000 per year. Your income can increase significantly if you become a senior web designer or a design director as you progress through your career.
User Interface (UI) Designers create the look and feel of websites and mobile applications. They create interactive elements to make sure the user has a positive and intuitive experience. Their ability to make a program aesthetically pleasing while ensuring accessibility and inclusivity makes these professionals in high demand across a wide range of industries. The estimated salary of a UI designer is around $86,000 per year and a senior UI designer typically earns an annual salary closer to $114,000.
A motion graphics designer is another example of a career path that requires graphic design skills. These professionals can combine text, sound, and motion to create enticing animations that quickly grab the attention of the viewer. You will usually see the work of a motion graphics designer in places like YouTube, social media, and even the opening credits of television shows and movies. A successful motion graphics artist usually has a solid proficiency in many different software programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. With a motion graphics background, you may be able to find employment as a 2D or 3D animator. Depending on which part of the country you live in, these jobs generally earn around $64,000 annually, though some can earn up to about $95,000 per year.
Graphic Design Builds Important Skills
Learning the fundamentals of graphic design can help build valuable skills, not only for a career but for personal development as well. One of the benefits of web design is that it’s an extremely hands-on process: you have to learn by doing. Research shows thatproject-based learninghelps people retain information more efficiently. Becoming aware of current trends at an earlier age will help you become more aware of how and when things change, which is a desirable skill in the job market regardless of industry.
Graphic designers frequently work in a larger team, which means the best designers will have the ability to thoroughly explain their ideas to others and receive feedback without taking it personally. All of these are transferable skills to other careers and can be useful in personal relationships as well.
Learn Graphic Design in NextGen’s Summer Classes
If you’re a high school student who wants to learn more about graphic design, you may be interested in NextGen Bootcamp’s graphic design courses for high schoolers.
Learn more in these courses
Graphic Design Summer Program NYC
- Weekdays only
- 50 hours
- Open to beginners
Learn the graphic design theory and the essential Adobe applications, including Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. In this summer course in NYC, high school students work on real-world design projects.
Graphic Design Summer Program Live Online
- Weekdays only
- 50 hours
- Open to beginners
In this graphic design program for High School students, you'll master the most powerful tools in graphic design: Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop.
UX & UI Design Summer Program NYC
- Not currently scheduled
- 45 hours
- Open to beginners
Learn the skills to become a UX or UI Designer. This course teaches UX & UI design concepts, industry-standard tools, and research methods.