Graphic arts technicians (NOC 5223)

About this job

Graphic arts technicians help conceptualize projects; interpret design specifications or sketches; prepare page mock-ups, layouts and lettering; and prepare production materials for press, electronic or multimedia publishing.

People in this occupation:

  • work for publishing, communications, advertising, marketing, printing and multimedia establishments, and for television and film production companies
  • may be self-employed
  • should be creative and enjoy careful, precise work
  • must possess organizational and communication skills
  • must be able to work to deadline
  • should have strong computer skills
Common job titles
  • animation (cartoon) camera operator
  • animation (cartoon) inker / painter
  • artist, mannequin
  • compositor - animation
  • compositor - film
  • graphic arts assembler / hand painter


Graphic arts technicians perform some or all of the following duties:

  • review the graphic designer’s instructions
  • produce or help with developing and producing design concepts
  • capture elements such as titles, text, drawings, illustrations, graphics, lettering and colour harmonization using a computer
  • produce computerized images and drawings
  • digitize images using peripherals and transform them using retouching systems, graphic palettes or specialized software
  • do layout, page make-up and placement using the conceptual mock-ups provided
  • produce proofs and camera-ready materials and prepare film and any other prepress materials
  • paint or ink individual cells of 2-D or 3-D animated drawings according to animator’s specifications using an electronic palette
  • lay out, draw or paint letters, figures, logos and designs for windows, advertisements, billboards, vehicles, books and publications, using specialized software or painting equipment
  • work in an environment that includes a variety of skill sets

Work environment

Graphic arts technicians usually work 35–40 hours per week. However, they may have to adjust their work day to suit clients' schedules and deadlines, sometimes meeting with clients in the evening or on weekends.

Graphic arts technicians who work for manufacturing establishments, large corporations or design firms generally work in bright and comfortable settings. Self-employed graphic arts technicians may work from a home office and may travel to meet with clients.

Those who work with computers for extended periods of time are at risk of eye strain, back strain and wrist problems. Correct positioning when using computers for long periods will reduce these risks.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Recent graduates may find work in a variety of design sectors, such as advertising agencies, communication design firms and newspapers.
Some entry-level graphic arts technicians choose self-employment.
With experience and training, workers in this group may progress to graphic designer positions. With further experience they may progress to management or senior positions such as senior designer, art director or creative director.

Additional resources