Male designer works at computer illustration

Graphic design encompasses a broad field that includes  print and digital design. Many graphic designers lack digital skills — their education and experience is more focused on print collateral such as business cards, postcards, static billboards and apparel. However, the future of graphic design is firmly rooted in the growth of digital design.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment of graphic designers in computer systems design and related services to increase 20 percent by 2026. “Companies are continuing to increase their digital presence, requiring graphic designers to help create visually appealing and effective layouts of websites.”

The demand for digital design across industries outweighs any other part of the graphic design industry. Digital design specialists will continue to be in high demand as businesses serve and market to clients and customers via digital means.

What is Digital Design?

Digital design refers to what is created and produced for viewing on a screen.

Digital designs can include content such as multimedia presentations, social media collateral, email and web ads, digital billboards and signage, pitch decks, 3D modelling and 2D animation. Due to the wider skill set needed to produce these pieces, graphic designers specializing in digital design are comfortable with standard industry tools (e.g., Illustrator, Photoshop and Indesign) and languages featured in digital assets (e.g., HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3).

Digital designers are able to perform the same tasks as graphic designers. However, their knowledge and skills expand to include and focus on digital applications. Typical roles and responsibilities do not change for digital designers. The BLS provides the following duties for graphic designers:

  • Meet with clients and management to discuss the scope of a project
  • Create designs using digital illustration, photo editing software and layout software
  • Create visual elements like logos, images and illustrations to help deliver a desired message
  • Design layouts, selecting colors, images and typefaces to use
  • Present design concepts to clients and management
  • Incorporate changes recommended by clients and management into final designs
  • Review designs for errors before printing or publishing them

Interested in a Design Career?

Created with working students in mind, our Digital Design program offers career-focused courses delivered by experienced professionals on a fully online platform.

Explore Degree

How to Land a Job in Digital Design

The BLS states that graphic designers usually need a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. Candidates should also have a professional portfolio that demonstrates creativity and originality. It should also feature their best designs.

These requirements are similar for digital designers. A bachelor’s degree in a program that focuses on digital design is ideal. Digital design candidates should take time to perfect their portfolio. Finally, candidates should make sure they are aware of recent resume and interviewing tips and apply them to the digital field.

Digital Design Salary

The median annual wage for graphic designers is $48,700, according to the BLS. The top industry in terms of salary for graphic designers is advertising, public relations and related services ($49,540). This industry closely aligns with digital design. Other industries were much lower than the average: newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishers ($42,180) and printing and related support activities ($39,210).

Based on real-time salary information from PayScale at time of publication, the average salary for digital designers is $51,843.

Learn Digital Media and Design at Southeastern University

Not all graphic designers are able to perform the same tasks as digital designers, who specialize in this new, growing area of the industry. Launching a career in digital design requires specific knowledge and skills.

Gain the understanding needed to become a digital designer with Southeastern University’s online Bachelor of Science in Digital Media and Design. The curriculum in this program focuses on graphic and Web design, digital media, analytics and communications. Upon graduation, you will be prepared to lead others and excel as a communicator, designer and marketer.

Created with working students in mind, this program offers career-focused courses delivered by experienced professionals on a fully online platform. Contact an enrollment counselor today to learn more.