The state of Oklahoma, with a resident population of about 3.8 million, two large cities and many thousand commercial enterprises, is the home of roughly 1,300 professional graphic designers. Companies all throughout Oklahoma employ communications design specialists for an inexhaustible assortment of visual tasks.
Oklahoma Schools and Training Programs for Graphic Design
Many dozen colleges and Universities in Oklahoma offer degree programs in graphic design. Popular Oklahoma design schools include Oklahoma City Community College and Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City, as well as Tulsa Community College, Tulsa Technology Center and Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. In addition to state-local graphic design schools, many aspiring Oklahoma artists earn degrees online. Among the largest design colleges with online degree programs are The Art Institutes, ITT Tech, University of Phoenix and DeVry.
Graphic artists at Oklahoma design schools frequently focus on fine arts. A graphic design degree program at an Oklahoma college might include course work in computer science, online marketing and psychology, as well as drawing, digital arts, typography, animation and interactive design.
Working as a Graphic Designer in Oklahoma
Many Oklahoma graphic designers work for leading local advertising agencies. Among the most successful Oklahoma ad firms are Third Degree Advertising and Visual Image Advertising in Oklahoma City, as well as Bargain Post and Phillips-Johnson in Tulsa, to name a few. Some local artists design film credits and promotional materials for highly acclaimed Oklahoma motion picture producers. Top-grossing Oklahoma filmmakers include Little Mountain Productions and ET Zepper Studios in Tulsa, as well as the Oeta Foundation and Critical-Mass-Productions in Oklahoma City, among others.
Communications designers in Oklahoma are also commissioned by art galleries, museums, colleges, news syndicates, software developers and many other commercial businesses. Statewide jobs for graphic designers include high tech illustrations, medical charts, video games, educational products, logos, instructional materials, book covers, web pages, product packaging and literally hundreds more.
Businesses in all fifty states combined currently employ over 280,000 graphic designers. Salaries depend mainly on education, experience, skills and level of commitment, not to mention geographic location. According to reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for a graphic designer employed in the state of Oklahoma is around $34,475, with the average hourly pay rate around $16.60. Roughly half of all professional graphic designers employed in the U.S. earn between $30,000 and $60,000 a year. Oklahoma ranks third from last among states in average annual salaries for graphic designers. However, the state's relatively low cost of living helps compensate for this deficiency.
Skills of a Graphic Designer
Graphic design work consists primarily of layout, which is basically the manipulation and arrangement of visual objects against two- or three-dimensional backgrounds. Professional communications designers must have certain qualifications. These include, among other things, good communication skills, advanced drawing technique, proficiency with software applications, web design ability and (especially!) first-rate typographical expertise. Preferred personality traits of professional graphic designers are strong focus, much patience, extreme punctuality and a healthy sense of perfectionism, not to mention the genuine creative talent that gives the best graphic artists their competitive edge over the rest.