two paths

Different Paths

The Design Firm

Design firms consist of numerous types of designers, illustrators, and creative directors. Depending on the project, a creative team has members with different areas of expertise, such as logo designers, layout designers, and illustrators. A creative director is in charge of managing the team, and has the final say on each project.

The Logo Designer

Logo designers provide a novel and innovative way of expressing the identity or key idea of a company using a recognizable image. Logo designers take information given to them by the client and use their creativity and knowledge of marketing strategies to create a company, brand, or product's visual identity.

While their job is very specific, it is of vast importance; companies spend thousands of dollars to find a logo that is recognizable, memorable and unique. Logos are one of the strongest marketing tools as they provide an image that consumers become familiar with.

While some companies hire in-house logo designers, most turn to graphic design firms or advertising agencies to design logos, since that is where the majority of experienced logo designers can be found.

The Layout Designer

Layout artists are responsible for much of the graphic design you might not notice. Behind every magazine, book and newspaper lies a great deal of design, and it is the layout designer's job to chose how typefaces, text, colors and images interact on the printed page.

Design firms, advertising agencies, magazines and newspapers usually employ layout designers. There is also a strong demand for freelance layout artists, as many independent publishers, organizations, bands, and the like require a variety of layout-related services.

The average salary a layout artist is about 25,000 to 50,000 dollars a year. Wages vary by employer, area of the country, level of experience, responsibility, and size of the project.

The Illustrator

Illustrators create illustrations that represent an idea through images. Illustrators may create drawings for printed materials, or for commercial products such as textiles, packaging, wrapping paper, greeting cards, calendars, and the like. Illustrators use many different mediums, from pencil and paint to digital formatting.

In addition to design firms, illustrators also find employment with magazines, book and software publishers, and manufacturers. The average earnings for salaried illustrators are around $30,000 to $50,000.

The Creative Director

The designers listed above comprise a creative team. These teams are responsible for the design of the majority of the products, magazines, advertisements, and websites you come across. In charge of this team is the creative director, who manages the concept and timeliness of design projects. Creative directors usually start their career as graphic designers and work their way up, much like in the corporate world.

Creative directors play a major role in the development of a project, since they make decisions concerning the visual elements of the project, and by giving the final say on the selection of photographs, content, colors, and other elements.

All creative directors have advanced training in graphic design, primarily because they spend their early careers as designers. Ultimately, however, the majority of a creative director’s time is spent supervising and doing administrative work.

Creative directors are usually employed by advertising agencies, magazines, newspapers, public relations firms, and manufacturers. Many corporations and dot-com businesses also hire creative directors to manage their creative presence. Creative directors may also be self-employed, usually opening their own design firms later in their careers.

The average salary for a creative director is about 50,000 to 80,000 dollars a year. Like with any job, wages are dependent on the region, level of experience, and size of the company. Many creative directors also earn bonuses each year, which equal up to about 10 percent of their salaries.