In my years in the creative design industry I’ve worked with many designers. A question I get asked often is:
What is the job of a Junior Graphic Designer?
While this might be up for personal interpretation, there are certain traits that describe a junior designer. Maybe you are looking to hire one. Or maybe you are planning your graphic design career and want to know where you stand. Well let’s get some details, shall we?
As you might have guessed, a junior graphic designer is close to the starting point in the corporate ladder. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean the designer is a “greenie.” Some have a certain level of experience already. In most cases, before a junior designer you’ll get a student or an intern. In many cases the junior designer might be a very talented artist, but the lack of long-term experience in real-world designing will hold the designer in a junior position for quite a bit of time. A junior graphic designer would be responsible to produce all kinds of creative designs under close supervision of the department head or team leader. In most cases, projects are handed over to the junior designer in an organized manner with clear deadlines. The junior designer rarely takes decisive actions that will change the direction of the final product without the close supervision of the department head. Additionally, they rarely have the responsibility of managing their own time.
As far as experience goes. A junior designer usually has about 1-3 years of graphic design experience. They would generally be somewhat fresh out of college or some even studying still. In other cases, such as with a recent person I was working with, they might be in the middle of a career change. Coming from a different career, they can land a job as a junior designer until they learn the ropes of the new industry. Like with any other industry, having a degree is good, but experience trumps that. No matter what, you have to go through the learning stages in real-word applications.
According the AIGA Graphic Design Salary Survey (2010)* – A junior graphic designer salary, for a designer in a full time position in the USA will make between $29,000 – $35,000 a year. However, due to the high competition for new jobs and the current job market, I can tell you it’s most likely less than that. My estimate is between $22,000 – $29,000 a year. But don’t despair. If you really want to be a successful designer, you can! While this initial step as a junior designer doesn’t pay much, it’s a great learning experience. Also, I remember my junior designer days back in 2001-ish to be some of the most fun I’ve had as a designer. So, take it one step at a time, crawl, then walk, then run. Be diligent, and you’ll get there!
If you are working on developing your career as a designer subscribe to my blog here. I post a lot of valuable information that will greatly help you.
*Source: AIGA – Aquent Survey of Design Salaries 2010 – designsalaries.org (USA job for an entry-level designer in a 10-99 employee national company)