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What is a graphic designer?

A graphic designer is a creative professional who creates visual materials for advertising, marketing, and publishing. The goal of their designs is to be visually appealing, represent a brand identity, evoke emotion, and communicate a specific idea that inspires or captivates a particular target audience. 

A graphic designer’s work might include designing:

  • Logos
  • Typography
  • Websites
  • Social media ads
  • Brand identity kits 
  • Flyers & brochures
  • Digital art
  • Icons
  • Promotional materials
  • Signage
  • Books & magazines, and more.

They might use industry standard software, like InDesign, Photoshop, or Illustrator, or create their designs by hand. 

Graphic design is a relatively widespread role and designers can find work in various settings, including: 

  • Advertising or marketing agencies 
  • Web  design firms
  • Print production businesses
  • Publishing houses
  • In-house at any business that requires a graphic designer to create visual imagery
  • Freelance, offering their services to different businesses on a contract or per-project basis. 

What does a graphic designer do?

  • Meeting with clients to discuss designs, concepts, timelines, and budgets 
  • Using computer software to create designs or doing them by hand
  • Collaborating with other team members, such as copywriters, web developers, brand strategists, or marketing coordinators 
  • Receiving feedback on designs and making changes when necessary
  • Coming up with colour schemes and combinations to convey particular emotions or brand identity
  • Customising designs to fit into the correct dimensions and requirements for websites, social media ads, banners, brochures, and more 
  • Conceptualise ideas and research emerging design trends and technologies.

What is the best graphic design course?

The best graphic design course in Australia is the Diploma of Graphic Design. Those who wish to study a more entry-level beginners course can choose the Graphic Design Pathway, which provides you with valuable graphic design skills needed before enrolling in the Diploma. 

Diploma of Graphic Design

This nationally recognised qualification teaches you everything you need to know to develop your design skills and start your career as a graphic designer. Course topics include:

  • Producing typography 
  • Creating and manipulating graphics 
  • Colour theory and design processes 
  • Visual communication history and theory
  • Graphic designs for branding and identity 
  • Graphic design for 2D and 3D applications 
  • Creating a design brief
  • Working with photomedia 
  • Providing freelance services.

To pursue the Diploma of Graphic Design, students must already have some knowledge of graphic design skills and ability. Entry requirements include: 

  • Completing two graphic design tasks using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign, or 
  • Providing examples of existing work that meets similar criteria, or 
  • Enrolling in Graphic Design Pathway programme. 

The course is self-paced and can be completed in a maximum of 24 months. After completing the Diploma of Graphic Design, you can apply for jobs as Graphic Designer, Digital Designer, or Package Designer.

Graphic Design Pathway

The Graphic Design Pathway combines the Diploma of Graphic Design with all the essential knowledge required as a prerequisite. The course is perfect for those who do not yet have a portfolio and have little to no experience with graphic design. 

As well as all the course contents covered in the Diploma of Graphic Design, you will learn graphic design essentials, such as: 

  • Principles of design 
  • Colour theory 
  • Typography & logo design
  • Design process 
  • Design brief 
  • Digital design using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

The course is self-paced and can be completed in a maximum of 27 months. Upon successful completion, you can apply for graphic design roles, such as Graphic Designer, Digital Designer, or Package Designer.

How much you can earn after graphic design courses

According to current resources, the average annual salary for graphic designers in Australia is $84,997, or $43.59 per hour.  Entry-level graphic designers can earn $73,837 while more experienced positions can offer up to $107,398 per year. 

How to become a graphic designer

A typical pathway for becoming a graphic designer in Australia involves:

  1. Study a Diploma of Graphic Design. If you do not have experience in graphic design or a portfolio to submit, you can instead opt for the Graphic Design Pathway to learn all the essentials, such as how to use graphic design industry software.
  2. Gain experience with an internship, volunteer work, or entry-level position that allows you to build up a portfolio with diverse works. This can help you when applying for future roles. 
  3. If you’d like to continue expanding your career to positions like Senior Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Art Director, Creative Lead, or UX Designer, consider pursuing further education to build on your skills and confidence.

What are the skills you need to be a graphic designer?

Graphic design requires a combination of technical and soft skills in order to create striking designs and work well within a team. These include: 

Colour theory 

This is an important technical skill that’s required when creating visually pleasing images. Colour theory can be used when creating colour palettes for brands or projects and aligning your work with a business’s mission and values. 


As collaboration is an essential part of a graphic designer’s role, communication skills are valuable. They can be used to help you properly interpret a client’s needs, convey your ideas to others, and understand feedback so you can adapt your designs accordingly. 

Software knowledge 

Graphic designers usually use computer software to create their designs, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. You must understand how to use these tools and make the most of their features in your designs. 


Graphic design is first and foremost a creative field, and you must have a creative vision that allows you to create unique and compelling designs for each client or project. 

Is it hard to be a graphic designer?

If you have not undertaken the appropriate education, graphic design can be a difficult skill to master. It may sound easy to create beautiful designs, but a solid understanding of colour theory, layout, brand identity, and typeface is necessary in order to make designs aesthetically pleasing. If you lack the technical skills, then it can be difficult to pull off a successful design!

What are the benefits of graphic design courses

Graphic design courses equip you with all the necessary knowledge required to excel as a graphic designer, including theoretical knowledge, technical know-how, and knowledge of computer software. 

You’ll not only understand the elements of visual design and how to create a design that’s compelling and attractive, but also how to interpret design briefs, work with clients, and start your own freelance business. In the end, you will have an impressive portfolio of work you can submit when applying for jobs. 

Should you study a graphic design course online?

Absolutely! Online graphic design courses are the best way to study. These are just some of the reasons:

  • Start now: Instead of waiting for term dates to begin, you can enrol in an online graphic design course as soon as tomorrow!
  • Self-paced: Online courses are self-paced. This means you can complete them as slowly or quickly as you like, as long as it’s within the course timeline. 
  • Flexibility: You can fit your online study into your current lifestyle and work commitments. You have the flexibility to study at a time that suits you, on days that suit you, and from wherever you like. 

Is a graphic designer a good career?

Graphic design can be a fun and lucrative career for artistic people who enjoy collaborating with teams and expressing their creativity in different ways. You’ll get to work on lots of different projects that keep things new and exciting. 

On top of that, graphic design offers the opportunity to work on a freelance basis, so you can run your own business at a schedule that suits you. Many graphic designers work remotely, so if digital nomad is something you’re interested in pursuing, graphic design might be the perfect career for you! 

Graphic design courses online

Ready to start your creative and fulfilling career in graphic design? Browse our online courses on this page and enrol as soon as you’re ready!


  1. How do I become a graphic designer in Australia?
    The best place to start is with a Graphic Design Pathway. If you already have some knowledge of graphic design and a portfolio you can present, go for the Diploma of Graphic Design.

  2. How long is a graphic design course?
    This depends on the course you enrol in. The Diploma of Graphic Design can be completed in around 24 months while a Graphic Design Pathway can take up to 27 months.

  3. How much is a graphic design course?
    This depends on the course you enrol in, the institution, and the payment method you use. Many institutions offer payment plans and may even offer a discount for some students. Browse our courses and ask for a free class pack to learn more about pricing.

  4. Is being a graphic designer a hard job?
    Graphic design can be difficult to pull off if you lack the technical expertise and theoretical understanding. This is why it’s so important to study before attempting to pursue your graphic design career.

  5. What is the next level after being a graphic designer?
    After graphic design, you can choose to branch off into a specialisation, such as UX Design, Creative Director, or Art Director role.

  6. What is the difference between a graphic designer and a graphic artist?
    A graphic artist is more involved with creating visuals that portray a story, idea, or emotion, for example, for books, comics, or movies. Graphic designers primarily create content for audiences based on a specific purpose outlined by a client, usually for marketing, publishing, media, or advertising.