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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

Tips on Becoming a Graphic Designer in New York City

Written by ACR StaffFebruary 27, 2012
Did You Know.....Full Sail University offers online degree programs in computer animation, game art, and game design? Learn more about Full Sail University's online programs.
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New York City is the largest city in America, with a population of about 8.1 million and as many as 350,000 commercial businesses.  It's also home to about 8,000 professional graphic designers.  More than forty percent of New York State residents live in New York City.  New York City businesses maintain a vigorous, ongoing demand for experienced graphic design professionals.

New York City Schools and Training Programs for Graphic Design

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Hundreds of colleges and Universities in the state of New York offer degree programs in graphic design, with dozens in New York City alone.  Popular New York City design schools include Barnard College, Fashion Institute of Technology, Hunter College, NYU, Pace University and School of Visual Arts, among others.  In addition, some aspiring New York City artists earn graphic design degrees online.  Successful design colleges with online degree programs for graphic design include The Art Institutes, ITT Tech, University of Phoenix and DeVry, all of which have physical campuses throughout the United States.

Graphic artists at New York City design schools often major in visual communications, fine arts, photography or even architecture.  A typical graphic design degree program at a New York City design college will include drawing, computer graphics, animation and typography, as well as related non-visual-arts courses like online marketing, sociology and psychology.  More advanced topics include video game design, packaging design, environmental design and interactive media.

Working as a Graphic Designer in New York City

Many New York City graphic designers work for leading local advertising agencies.  Top New York City ad firms include Grey Advertising, Horizon Media, Jack-Morton-Worldwide and Ogilvy-One-Interactive, among others.  Some local artists design film credits, visual displays and promotional materials for top New York City movie producers like Lang Syne Films, News Corporation, CKX Incorporated, Interep, Warner Brothers and literally thousands more. 

Communications designers in New York City also work for art galleries, museums, colleges, animation studios, event planners, cultural venues, real estate offices, news syndicates, software developers, internet start-ups and countless more commercial businesses.  Citywide graphic design jobs include product packaging, technical illustrations, medical charts, instructive  diagrams, brand logos, book covers, web pages and street signs, to name only a fraction. 

United States companies currently employ more than 280,000 professional graphic designers.  Amazingly, as many as seven percent of them work in New York City.  Starting salaries for New York City graphic designers are based primarily on education, experience, expertise, commitment and, in many cases, geographic location.  Designers employed in New York City tend to earn higher incomes (on average) than designers almost anywhere else in America.  A recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the average annual salary for a professional graphic designer employed in the state of New York is around $57,525, with an average hourly rate of about $27.70.  Somewhere around half of all graphic designers employed by U.S. companies earn between $30,000 and $60,000 a year.  New York ranks first among states in terms of average income for graphic designers, thanks to New York City.

Skills of a Graphic Designer

Graphic design is professionally commissioned visual art that communicates specific messages to large groups of people.  Artists require special training to perform this work, which is why so many employers prefer to hire designers who hold degrees in graphic design. 

Communications design professionals must possess a solid grasp of drawing styles, computer-generated art, basic photography and expert typographical technique.  Desired personal traits of graphic designers include patience, precision and, of course, first-rate communication skills.