10 Careers to Pursue with a Graphic Design Background

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jul 5, 2018

Jul 5, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Having a career in the exact thing you studied is surprisingly rare. In fact, only 27% of graduates work in a field directly related to their major.

That's not bad news. It just means that you can take the talents you've learned in graphic design and apply them to a variety of fields. In fact, it means your job prospects are even larger than you imagined!

Here are 10 careers you can pursue with your graphic design background.


A cartographer - or a map maker - is a career that requires a good understanding of space, color, and design. Cartographers collect and interpret data from photographs, surveys, and other geographic systems.

From there, you'll use software to import the data and design the maps themselves. These accurate, detailed maps help people travel, do engineering, and pursue environmental studies.

Graphic Novelist

If you want to take your design skills to the next level, add storytelling. As a graphic novelist, you create adult-focused comic books. Whether you write about superheroes, adventure, or aliens from space, you'll create stories to captivate your audience.

These novels are more about telling stories through images than words, making it a great graphic design career path.

Graphic Designer for Journalism

Who said graphic design is only about art? Journalists need design as well, in order to create attractive layouts to showcase their stories. You can work with both print and online outlets - or both!

You can also help journals create charts, infographics, graphs, or videos. A picture is truly worth a thousand words and journalistic graphic design is vital! Use your talents to help the news reach the public in an understandable way.

Medical Illustrator

I'm guessing this did not make your list of alternative careers for graphic designers! Few people realize how important medical illustrations are. Precise design is needed to create these images.

Your work could appear in health apps, online websites, textbooks, and even in professional journals. These illustrations are part of court cases and other media. You'll need a strong background in medicine as well as design.

Packaging Designer

Why do people choose one brand over another? Sometimes it has to do with the box! An attractive packaging design helps companies attract the customers they want.

A packaging designer uses graphic design skills to help make a product appealing through its package. You will need to look at typefaces, colors, shapes, and sizes. Being familiar with design software will be essential.

Fashion Designer

Graphic design isn't just about pictures and websites. You can create clothing as well! Being a fashion designer can be a way to combine passions for modern dress as well as design. Your eye for color and shape will serve you well.

You can work with an established designer, a company that creates shoes or clothes, or even start your own fashion line! No matter what you decide to do, fashion is a great outlet for those with a graphic design background.

Marketing Specialist

Marketing may sound dull, but only if you don't realize how much it encompasses. Marketing design can involve creating advertising pieces, online slideshows, informational pieces, and much more.

Design draws the eye, and having the right kind of marketing design can help any company stand out. You'll be a major asset to anyone you work for. Even better, a career in marketing can be very financially rewarding.

Once you develop as a marketing specialist, you'll be able to move up and become a marketing manager. These leaders handle larger projects and help others succeed in their marketing careers.

Design Professor

You have a lot of knowledge and expertise to share. Why not use those skills to train others who are interested in the design field? If you're passionate about design, share your passion and interest with students.

Teaching design will also keep you up to date in the field and keep your mind sharp. You never know what new technology will be developed and what questions the students will ask.

Wedding Invitation Designer

A wedding is one of the most important days in peoples' lives. Having the right invitation really sets the stage for an incredible event. Your design skills can make the difference.

As a wedding invitation designer, you'll be creating beautiful typefaces, shapes, and colors. You'll bring them together in unique ways. All this work will help people showcase their special day.

From wedding invitations, you can branch into a variety of stationary types. Baby announcements, cards, and more are great types of graphic design careers.

3D Illustrator

As a design specialist, you understand graphics in both 2D and 3D. You can take advantage of that unique vision as a 3D illustrator. From technical work to security or architecture, the need for 3D representations is high.

Being a 3D illustrator allows you to combine the hands-on work of creating models with the computer work of using software to render unique designs. This combination is unique in design work. It can be very fulfilling for those who enjoy working with their hands.

Take Advantage of Your Graphic Design Background

Being a graphic designer who can't find that specific work isn't the end of your story. Use the many skills you have developed to find work in other fields. There are so many options for those who have a graphic design background!

Whether you choose to design clothes, make maps, or create medical illustrations, there's a tremendous need for your talents. Are you ready for your next job opportunity? Get your job search started today!