Career options with an MA Graphic Design

Tue 1 Dec 2020

Whether you’re looking to work with a creative agency or set up your own studio, an MA Graphic Design will help you open up a diverse range of exciting career opportunities.

Here are just some of your career options with an MA Graphic Design:

1. Graphic designer

A career as a graphic designer could see you using your creative skills across a host of different industries and mediums.

You’ll be able to work with a range of clients on promoting a variety of products and services, and visually communicating ideas and messages to their target audiences. Working across mediums including websites, magazines, brochures, product packaging and exhibitions, you’ll play a vital part in establishing and managing clients’ visual brands and identities.

Usually working with a brief that’s been agreed on with the client, you’ll brainstorm creative design ideas and approaches that can be applied to meet your client’s goals.

To succeed as a graphic designer, you’ll need strong creative skills, up-to-date knowledge of graphic design software, and the ability to work to deadlines.

As a graphic designer, you’ll use the knowledge and skills gained from your MA Graphic Design to:

  • Liaise with clients or account managers to discuss requirements
  • Develop design briefs that address clients’ individual requirements
  • Think creatively to apply new ideas, concepts and approaches to design
  • Work with a range of media, including computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Present creative design ideas and concepts to clients or account managers
  • Work effectively as part of a team alongside other designers, copywriters, photographers, illustrators, account managers and marketing specialists.

What salary can you expect to earn in this role?

Senior graphic designers can expect to earn around £35,000 to £55,000 a year, with creative directors earning over £60,000 a year. If you choose to work as a freelancer, you’ll be looking at around £200-£400 a day, depending on your experience.


2. Creative director

If you enjoy taking the creative lead on a design project, then a role as a creative director could be the perfect career option for you.

You could be the creative lead within an advertising agency or within an organisation’s marketing department. Either way, you’ll work with a creative team of other designers to create, plan and deliver a brand and product/service vision for your clients.

In this highly-creative and strategic role, you’ll be involved in every facet of the design process – from identifying client needs through to conceptualisation, planning and delivery. You’ll supervise the design process while guiding and mentoring your creative team of designers.

Although a demanding role, it’s a highly-rewarding role if you’re a creative thinker and a strong leader. Working as a creative director, you could not only fast-track your way to a promotion, but also open up exciting global career opportunities and attract a high salary.

As a creative director, you’ll use the knowledge and skills gained from your MA Graphic Design to:

  • Take the creative lead on design projects
  • Mentor, guide and supervise your creative team
  • Develop innovative ideas for marketing campaigns
  • Pitch creative concepts to clients and/or in-house stakeholders
  • Supervise design projects from start to finish, ensuring deadlines and quality standards are met
  • Hire and manage a successful creative team.

What salary can you expect to earn in this role?

Creative directors managing small teams can expect to earn around £40,000 to £60,000 a year, with experienced creative directors earning over £80,000.


3. Production designer – TV, film, theatre

If you’re a big fan of the stage and screen as well as a passionate designer, working as a production designer could see you combining your passions.

You’ll create the backdrops and be responsible for the visual concepts behind a range of TV, film and theatre productions. This typically involves identifying styles for sets, locations, props, lighting, and costumes.

Working closely with the production’s director and/or producer, as well as your art department, you’ll bring your visual concepts and ideas to life on the stage or screen.


As a production designer, you’ll use the knowledge and skills gained from your MA Graphic Design to:

  • Effectively identify an appropriate visual style for a production based on the script
  • Discuss ideas, concepts and production requirements for sets, locations, etc. with directors and producers
  • Brainstorm innovative design ideas based on research in appropriate areas such as history, art history and politics
  • Plan and manage design budgets
  • Create scale drawings or models for use in theatre or studio sets
  • Present creative design ideas for costumes, props, special effects, graphics, etc.
  • Recruit and manage an art department team
  • Advise on visual representation during meetings, rehearsals and filming

What salary can you expect to earn in this role?

The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) suggests rates for production designers are negotiated on an individual basis, and depend on the size of the production. As a guide, rates within art departments increase with more senior roles, and can reach over £3,000 a week.


Falmouth Flexible offer an MA Graphic Design that you can study flexibly online. The course is delivered by Falmouth University – a TEF gold-standard university – and designed to help you expand your career opportunities and excel in your graphic design career. 


Graphic Design, Blog