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Graphic and Multimedia Designer

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2019: 25,001 to 50,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: $921 to $1,050 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
Brief A world without design would be very dull indeed. Designers turn ideas and information into eye-catching visuals that grab the reader's attention.

There are approximately 2,200 people employed as Graphic and Web Designers and Illustrators in South Australia. Employment is mostly in the Manufacturing industry. There are even numbers of males and females in this occupation. Designers work on average 37 hours per week but can be required to work many more hours than this if a deadline needs to be met.

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TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Graphic and Multimedia Designer

Accredited (Award)


Would you buy a CD in a plain box, or a greeting card that just had the words, ''Happy Birthday'' embossed on it? It can be easy to take for granted the way graphic designs transform these generic products into individual, unique items.

Designers arrange and present information in creative and personalised forms for clients. They are engaged to create a look and feel that draws attention to the client's product or service. They analyse client needs, figure out the cost and prepare sketches, instructions and layout diagrams. They then submit designs or 'roughs' to the client for their approval.

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Education Requirements

Currently 17% percent of Graphic and Multimedia Designers have either a Certificate III or Certificate IV, 22% have an Advanced Diploma and 2% have Certificate I or II. While there are 21% who have no formal qualifications it is recommended that further study be undertaken to remain competitive in the industry.

TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design, Diploma Program in Graphic Design (Illustration), Diploma of Digital Media Technologies. Pathways include the Certificate III Program in Visual Arts (Digital Arts), Certificate III in Media, Certificate III Program in Information, Digital Media and Technology (Multimedia) and Certificate IV in Digital Media Technologies.

Studying at TAFE SA is one of the easiest and most successful pathways towards a University Degree. Dual offer courses are available to TAFE SA and Flinders University in Diploma of Digital Media Technologies/Bachelor of Information Technology (Digital Media).

Flinders University offers a Bachelor of Arts which incorporates the Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts. Students study concurrently at both the University and TAFE SA to complete the Award.

SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

Career Path

Competition for jobs is intense and many employers consider the graduate's portfolio to be the deciding factor. Students, therefore, need to be on the lookout for projects that add something more to their own portfolio. Getting to know the industry first hand and personal networking also helps. There are great opportunities in multimedia and web design, particularly with the Internet becoming an inexpensive way to sell a product or service. There is a backlash against the traditional websites that first appeared on the Internet. The Internet was traditionally a field dominated by techno-gurus who didn't know anything about design. Fortunately technology has come a long way since then.

Traditional graphic design houses are increasingly taking on multimedia and website work. Opportunities for designers also exist in marketing and business management services, printing and publishing and other areas such as computer service firms and post-school education. Surprisingly, only a handful actually work in film, video, radio and television. With years of experience, graphic designers may choose to become art directors in advertising firms and also the media.


Communication Services,  Cultural and Recreational Services,  Property and Business Services


Daniel Frost - Graphic Designer
“The course gave me a taste of everything involved in the industry. It didn’t just focus on one area but on a range of different disciplines and it was good to pick up bits and pieces of everything.”
After finishing school, Daniel had narrowed his career choices to two quite different paths: youth work or graphic design. Deciding upon graphic design, Daniel opted for the TAFE course after seeing a poster advertising the Advanced Diploma in Advertising and Graphic Design in his Year 12 study area.

The three-year full-time course gave Daniel a “taste of everything involved in the industry", from press checks to life drawing and everything in between. Many of the lecturers, according to Daniel, had retained their industry links so came equipped with up-to-date skills and knowledge.

Work experience formed a large part of the course, which prepared the students well for employment, Daniel said. “It didn’t just focus on one area but on a range of different disciplines and it was good to pick up bits and pieces of everything,” Daniel said.

Daniel also found it quite easy to get employment after the course. Initially he free-lanced with a friend who had graduated from the same course some years earlier, but in January this year he was successful in getting a job with Bickford’s, the drinks manufacturer. He does everything from label design to marketing and advertising and packaging.

In the future, Daniel aims to be an art director working with a team of people. Eventually, he’d like to own his own business.

Nature of the Job

The sorts of things that designers bring to life include:
*multimedia products like CD-ROM's,
*video games and information kiosks;
*publications like newspaper and magazine advertisements;
*trademarks and corporate logos;
*TV graphics;
*magazines, books, posters and brochures;
*signs and billboards; and
*even Disney movies!

If you become a Graphic and Multimedia Designer you can work in a variety of different areas.

Typical Physical Working Environment

Designers generally work indoors in well lit and ventilated offices. Many also work from their homes. The designer's main tools are drawing boards and computer software packages. If you want to get into graphics today you need to be proficient in Apple Macintosh. All the colleges use Macs and software packages such as PhotoShop, Quark and Illustrator. It is also important to have excellent communication skills since there is a high level of client liaison, sometimes trying to sell or pitch ideas. You have to be able to sell a design idea and the first impression is really important. Sometimes the client won't like it, but by the time the meeting finishes, you need to convince them of your idea's worth. You may also use basic psychology, knowing how to read people's behaviour and somehow convincing them that your ideas are worthy of their financial investment.

Typical Occupational Example

Designers usually work between 40 and 50 hours per week. They may have to work long and irregular hours in order to meet deadlines, so designers must be flexible and able to work under lots of pressure. You'll also be operating within a team, so enjoying working closely with people is essential for one to succeed in this occupation. If you decide to start your own business, be prepared to work more than 40 hours a week since you'll also be doing the marketing, finding the customers and keeping the paper work sorted out. The potential for high earnings is also there.

For further information, contact:

Australian Graphic Design Association
Phone: (08) 8410 9228
Fax: (08) 8276 8003

Design Institute of Australia (National Office)
Phone: 1300 888 056

Earning Potential

Starting salaries can range between $27,000 and $35,000 per year and up to $45,000 after a few years. Very successful, self employed designers certainly have the potential to earn more. As an art director you may earn in the vicinity of $70,000 per year. The majority (81.5%) of people in this Industry work full time with only 18.5% working part time.

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online