Graphic designers and illustrators conceptualize and create images to communicate information.
Want to learn more? Watch this WorkBC Career Trek video and see what it’s like to work in this type of career.
Graphic designers who are also supervisors, project managers or consultants are included in this unit group.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 5,420
Graphic designers and illustrators usually work in studios or offices, but increasingly work from home. Work hours tend to be Monday to Friday; however, some jobs demand more flexible hours or overtime.
Self-employed graphic designers or illustrators may be required to work longer hours, in part because they want to establish themselves or because they cannot afford to hire assistants or clerical staff. They may also adopt flexible hours in order to meet with clients in evenings or on weekends.
Because graphic artists and illustrators often spend a significant amount of time on computers and do work that requires intense concentration and hand-eye coordination, eye and wrist strain are possible.
Graphic designers and illustrators frequently work hard to meet deadlines, so they need to be able to handle stress.
Source: 2016 Census
Graphic designers and illustrators are required to have a university degree in visual arts with specialization in graphic design, commercial art, graphic communications or cartooning. Other professional requirements may include:
Certification with GDC requires a confidential portfolio review of the person's work by the local GDC chapter. A designer must also have five to seven years of combined education and professional practice to receive a licentiate (LGDC) designation or have more than seven years of combined education and professional practice to receive a professional (MGDC) designation.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
Most job opportunities will arise within urban centres, where employment is typically more common. Digital animation continues to be a large and growing field. The television and film industry employs a large number of animators. In the illustration field, there is an expanding demand for digital artists; however, there is currently a surplus of artists to fill these positions.
An increasing desire for visual and “brand” appeal for information, goods and services means that graphic designers and illustrators will be wanted by product designers and by advertising and marketing firms. As a result, more and more designers are undertaking marketing and public relations work.
Specialized services in urban centres, including Flash web designers, Web 2.0, dynamic web developers, and in particular, sustainable design practitioners, are in demand. Sustainable design practice is relatively new, but growing quickly, so there is currently a demand for knowledge in this area for consultants and designers alike.
Many short (one year or less) training programs are offered. However, graduates from these programs do not fare as well in the labour market, since candidates with more extensive education have a greater chance of being hired.
Individuals beginning a career as an illustrator may wish to consider joining an illustrator or graphic arts organization for access to workshops, peer mentoring and opportunities for employment-related networking.
Junior positions are open to recent graduates in different design sectors, such as with advertising agencies, communication design firms and newspapers. Many entry-level illustrators choose self-employment as an option.
With experience and further education, workers in this group may progress to management or senior positions such as senior designer, art director or creative director.