With a resident population approaching six million and close proximity to Washington DC, the state of Maryland is ideal for artists pursuing careers in graphic design. Many commercial businesses throughout Maryland (not to mention throughout Washington DC) employ graphic designers for all kinds of visual assignments.
Maryland Schools and Training Programs for Graphic Design
Colleges all over Maryland offer degree programs in graphic design. Top Baltimore design colleges include Maryland Institute College of Art, University of Maryland and Morgan State University. Schools offering similar programs in other parts of Maryland include Howard Community College in Columbia, Harford Community College in Bel Air and University of Maryland at College Park.
Many Maryland communications designers earn their degrees online. Among the largest schools offering online degree programs in graphic design are The Art Institutes, ITT Tech, University of Phoenix and DeVry.
Graphic designers at Maryland colleges typically major in Communications Design or Fine Arts. Courses include website design, digital art, photography, animation, technical drawing, typography, printmaking and software applications, among other relevant topics.
Working as a Graphic Designer in Maryland
Maryland graphic designers are in relatively high demand. Statewide employment opportunities include designing brand logos, sketching new inventions, creating promotional art and developing educational materials, as well as fashioning book covers, web pages, product packaging, street signs, home interiors, textiles, assembly instructions and more.
Some graphic designers work for top Maryland advertising agencies like GKV Communications, Great Cheese, Siquis Limited and TBC Direct in Baltimore, or Adnational and The Washington Panafrican in Columbia. Other local designers create film credits, movie posters and promotional materials for Maryland motion picture producers. These include Academy Film Productions, Clean Cuts Music, Dubmax and Morgan Creek Productions in Baltimore, as well as Pilot Productions and Spotlight Productions in Columbia.
Additional Maryland businesses in need of communications designers include patent offices, software companies, colleges, book publishers, retailers, equipment manufacturers, industrial contractors, architects, real estate agents and internet start-ups.
Companies across America employ more than a quarter million graphic designers. Starting salaries depend mainly on education and previous professional experience. Design portfolios help potential employers make hiring decisions and determine starting incomes. A design portfolio is a group of photo images, created by the designer and representing the designer's best work. About half of all graphic designers in the U.S. earn somewhere between $30,000 and $60,000 a year.
Skills of a Graphic Designer
Graphic design is the communication of messages via visual forms, most commonly used for monetary gain. The job often involves page layout work, which has to do with manipulating the size, color, location, orientation and motion of images and backgrounds.
Graphic designers remain acutely aware of subtle visual effects like juxtaposition, or how moods are affected by color and light, or how the physical appearance of a word can change its meaning, or the importance of the location of the observer. Today's graphic artists combine psychology, visual arts and high-technology to produce desired reactions from consumers. The desired reaction often involves making people want to spend money.