For those who love technology and art, graphic design is a great career to pursue. However, it can be a confusing one, as well. Many questions are asked by people preparing to enter the field, most of which are regarding the various costs involved in the industry – this includes cost of education, cost of quality tools and the amount you can charge as a professional.
A graphic designer will typically earn a Bachelor’s degree in order to learn proper techniques and develop a portfolio. Experience as shown by a portfolio is perhaps the most important thing for a graphic designer to have. Like any career, there are many requirements that seem difficult to obtain, but at least you don’t need a good credit score!
With that said, is a degree in graphic design really worth it? The answer is simple: yes. Not only will a degree enable you to build a quality portfolio with the opportunity for feedback, but it will also help you stand out among other competitors in the field. A degree in graphic design can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000, although the average cost for an out-of-state student is around $34,000.
Quality tools are incredibly important for a serious graphic designer. While it is possible to get things up and running for under $1,000, your tools would not be up-to-date and the quality of your work would suffer. Proper tools will cost anywhere from $5,000 to over $10,000 depending on what you invest in. You will need a quality computer, a second screen, proper graphic design software, potentially 3D software, stock photography and a drawing tablet.
With all of the costs to get started out of the way, how much will you be able to charge? The answer to this question is difficult and changes depending on your skill, experience, and clientele. Luckily, there are many guides available for how to charge for your work.
For those just starting out, it’s possible that the end result of how much you charge will leave you making $5 an hour. Of course, nobody would be happy with that. However, with dedication and motivation, you can steadily increase your rates to top company prices of $100 an hour for graphic design work. In the end, it all depends on your strategy.
In the end, a career in graphic design is incredibly rewarding for those who love what they do in the field. There are plenty of opportunities whether you run your own freelance business or work for a company. However, the industry is incredibly competitive and you will need to put in a lot of work before you begin to see any results.
As noted earlier, it’s not uncommon for a graphic designer to receive less than minimum wage for projects when they are first starting out. As you move up, however, you can rise among those who charge top dollar and be rewarded for your talent and art. All it takes is a little hard work and elbow grease – on your computer, that is.