The state of South Dakota, with a population of more than 824,000 and numerous commercial businesses, is an ideal home state for many hundred professionally employed graphic designers. Businesses, arts organizations and community groups all over South Dakota hire local graphic artists for a virtually limitless assortment of visual tasks.
South Dakota Schools and Training Programs for Graphic Design
Several good colleges and Universities in South Dakota offer degree programs in graphic design. Popular South Dakota design schools include National American University and Western Dakota Technical Institute in Rapid City, as well as Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls, Northern State University in Aberdeen and South Dakota State University in Brookings, among others. Beyond the many state-based design colleges are many online graphic design degree programs available nationwide. Among the largest design schools with online degree programs are The Art Institutes, ITT Tech, University of Phoenix and DeVry.
Visual Communications is the popular major for graphic artists enrolled at South Dakota colleges. A core curriculum in graphic design normally includes computer graphics, photography, drawing, digital imaging and other related topics, often supplemented with more advanced courses like Typography, New Media, Commercial Packaging, Information Technology and Environmental Design.
Working as a Graphic Designer in South Dakota
Many graphic design professionals who live in South Dakota work for leading local ad agencies like Nichols Media and Western Commercial Printing in Sioux Falls, as well as Hot Pink Ink, The Marketing Store and The Sharp Agency in Rapid City. Some local artists team up with top South Dakota motion picture companies. Leading local movie producers include PDS and Vision Video in Sioux Falls, along with Crow Ridge Productions and Eagle Television in Rapid City. Other South Dakota graphic designers work for colleges, museums, news syndicates, photo studios, publishers, software developers and many other commercial businesses. Statewide graphic design jobs include video games, company logos, magazine and newspaper layouts, educational materials, book covers, web pages, product packaging and more.
Today's American companies employ more than a quarter million professional graphic designers. Base pay can depend on educational background, professional experience, proficiency and availability, not to mention artistic talent. Geographic location also plays a role, to some extent. The average annual income of a graphic designer employed in the state of South Dakota is about $32,950, with an average hourly pay rate of roughly $15.85, based on a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About half of all graphic designers currently employed at U.S. companies earn between $30,000 and $60,000 a year. South Dakota ranks last among states in terms of average annual income for graphic designers, although low taxes and low cost of living help compensate for the relatively low incomes.
Skills of a Graphic Designer
Professional graphic designers are highly experienced in typographical technique. They know which font styles and colors to use, as well as the right line heights and spacing for each individual project. Graphic designers are also skilled at drawing and photography, as both disciplines come in handy during the development process. Website design skills are also helpful, not only for self-promotion, but also because employers typically prefer designers who can multitask. Graphic designers must also be fully familiar with the latest professional graphic design software.
Preferred personality traits of graphic designers are ability to follow directions, calmness under pressure, critical thinking skills and zealous attention to detail. Yet professional graphic designers, being the artists that they are, still find imaginative ways to express their uniquely creative styles.