Creating designs and illustrations for web pages, newspapers, magazines, advertisements and films is a competitive job, but it can be fulfilling for a person who is creative and organized. The demand for web page and multimedia designers should increase over the next decade, but it's not for everyone. Continue reading to determine if it's a good fit for you.
Web page and multimedia designers combine aspects of computer science and graphic design in their professional endeavors. They must have an artistic eye, the ability to transform an idea into a design and an engineer's pragmatic nature and problem-solving skills. Studies in web page and multimedia design are available at many colleges and universities through degree programs that focus on web page design technologies. These are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree level in web graphic design, multimedia design and development, multimedia technologies, information design and multimedia.
Undergraduate and graduate students select courses based on their personal talents and strengths. Most programs begin with basic courses in color and design. Later, students learn to create designs using computer technology and explore other methods for incorporating media, such as songs and sound bites, into their designs and web pages. They gain experience using design software, such as Illustrator, Flash and Photoshop. Participants gain practical experience applying design and animation principles on web sites and other mediums through web and design courses and through internships. Some classes focus on other aspects of design technology, such as animation, advertising and typography.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), graphic designers and multimedia designers should have a creative streak, an eye for detail, be able to communicate their ideas, keep up with changing trends and budget their time effectively so they can meet deadlines (www.bls.gov). The BLS projects that between 2008 and 2018, employment should increase by 13% for graphic designers and by 14% for multimedia artists and animators. As of May 2010, multimedia artists and animators made a median annual salary of $58,510 and graphic designers made $43,500.
According to the BLS, most employers require that applicants have at least a bachelor's degree. However, individuals who have a lesser degree, such as an associate's degree or a certificate, could find a position as an assistant designer. With experience, additional career opportunities could be available. Artists should have a portfolio containing their best work and update it consistently so they can look for additional opportunities.
A bachelor's degree could lead to a position as a graphic designer. Students learn how to create videos, web pages and software that incorporate other multimedia styles. According to the BLS, about 60% of artists are self-employed, so they may work for independent businesses to design ads or create web pages. Multimedia designers who aren't self-employed might work for newspapers, magazines, book publishers, software publishers, the film industry or advertising firms.
Individuals with a master's degree could also find a career in graphic design, web design or multimedia design. Many administrative positions also require a master's degree, so graduates with this degree could oversee other artists work and make decisions regarding work the pieces needed for a newspaper, magazine or website and strive to create a consistent flow. A position as an art director, deciding which pieces the gallery should display, may also be an option.