If you have a creative streak but are also passionate about the digital world, you can excel at graphic design – even without a university degree. For those looking at starting their careers quickly, Pitman Training offers a focused graphic design program. The courses will help you get the skills you need to become an outstanding graphic designer.

A graphic designer salary starts at £28,000 and can go higher as you gain more experience. That’s right. It’s based on experience, not degrees. Essentially, developing your creativity, flexibility, and innovation allows you to create more complex designs, which attracts more clients. It is also important to learn the modern tools necessary to bring ideas to life.

Going to university is a big decision and sometimes because of time, money, or other challenges, it’s just not realistic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pursue your dream career. Here’s how to become a graphic designer beginning right where you are.

graphic designer at work

What do graphic designers do?

A graphic designer is often part of the creative team of an organisation. They are vital to branding and promotions. Job tasks vary depending on the employer, but the basic role of a graphic designer is to create and design visual elements for the organisation. These are used in logos, product packaging, on the company website and social media accounts, as well as signs and advertisements.

When done well, the work of a graphic designer becomes the image that people think of when they hear the company name.

Some of the tasks involved in what graphic designers do include:

  • Client meetings to discuss projects
  • Using software to design visual elements
  • Manage project budgets and timelines
  • Research competitors and graphic design trends
  • Show samples to clients and incorporate feedback
graphic designer using soft skills

Soft/hard skills necessary for a graphic design career

A graphic designer needs to master digital design and computing skills, but they will also need ‘soft skills’ to really excel in their careers. These are skills such as:


Graphic designing is one form of visual communication, and it helps if you’re a strong communicator. However, there are other ways that communication can help boost your career. Consider the different methods that you’ll be using to communicate with clients about their design projects. Some meetings will be face-to-face while others will be through phone calls or even emails.

You’ll need to know how to convey your message or creative ideas using each of these methods. Remember that many of your clients won’t have an understanding of design jargon. You can improve your communication skills by practising explaining complex graphic design concepts in ways they will understand.

creative graphic designer


Being innovative and having a strong imagination are essential qualities in the world of graphic design. You’ll need to come up with creative designs that capture the eye, but also convey the brand message.


Each project will have obstacles that will need to be overcome. These could be challenges with the design software or the need to incorporate changes. Sometimes, clients may decide to go in a different direction and you’ll need to re-design the visual elements. Overcoming these frustrations requires patience and persistence.

Time management

Whether you work for one employer or decide to freelance, being able to juggle multiple projects will be expected. You’ll need to use your time effectively to meet your deadlines. Moreover, those who are able to manage their time well will be able to focus on producing quality work.

graphic designer using hard skills


Graphic designers need to understand what clients are looking for and what they want from a visual element. Being able to actively listen is an essential skill for a career in graphic design. You can hone your listening skills by focusing on what the other person is saying. Then repeat it back to them in your own words to see if you understood correctly. This allows them the opportunity to clarify what they are trying to say.

On top of these soft skills, learning how to become a graphic designer requires some technical knowledge or hard skills. These include:

Design principles

Designers need to understand how to bring together different digital elements to create an outstanding piece of work. Learning design theory, typology, colour coordination and more will give you the tools you need to become a master at your graphic design craft.

Design software

Editing software will become your best friend when you’re a graphic designer and you’ll want to know these programs inside and out. The better you understand the capabilities and limitations of graphic design software, the better you’ll be at efficiently creating the designs that clients need.

UX and UI design

Learning about user design and experience can boost your graphic design skills as you’ll be able to create designs that draw the eye and get a message across.

Computing languages

While understanding HTML or other computing languages is not a requirement for a career in graphic design, the knowledge can make you a more powerful creator. It’s all about understanding what you can do in the digital world.

graphic designer using digital tools

What do graphic design courses teach?

Graphic design courses will instruct you on the basics, such as colour, shapes, and typography. They will also introduce you to the tools and software used in the industry. Taking a graphic design course allows you an opportunity to develop your skills and build your portfolio through project work.

Another benefit of graphic design courses is the ability to meet others that can become friends, mentors and colleagues. You’ll sharpen your design skills by discussing the ins and outs of the trade with individuals who have experience in the industry and those currently working as graphic designers. Courses like Pitman Training’s graphic design diploma offer a flexible study program that can help you gain the skills you need to begin your graphic design career.

Starting your graphic design career

If you’ve been wondering how to become a graphic designer, you can get started even without a degree. While formal training can help you excel in the learning process, it’s really all about developing your soft skills and cultivating the knowledge you need. At Pitman Training, our courses and programs equip you with the fundamentals to get started.

Start your graphic design career now. Contact us today for more information.