Advertising Design Degree Outlook
Advertising design presents one avenue that the graphic designer can travel during a career. This branch of design focuses on commercial markets, specifically advertising, marketing, branding, and signage. The person who enters advertising design often wears more than one hat, as the designer also can become the writer, the salesperson (to the client), and a bidder for advertising space.
Advertising design presents a responsibility as well, as the designer who creates a concept for a business is also helping to create the image that business presents to the public. This "branding" is so successful at times, however, that a brand name can become a household name. For this to happen, the company name must successfully be managed in magazine and newspaper advertising, through a Web presence, on billboards, and more. The marketing angle is part of the creative work of a marketing team, and the advertising designer is part of that group.
Many advertising designers come into advertising design as a natural progression of a current job. If they work in newspaper design and layout, for instance, they may work with salespeople to design ads for clients. If those ads become successful, the business owner will want to know who designed the ad. From that point, the layout person could essentially go into business.
But, in most cases, a successful advertising designer will know about regional, local, and even national or international markets for specific products. This requires research into a market before taking on an advertising project. That designer also will keep up on annual advertising design winners and compete often with their peers in advertising design contests.
The advertising designer will want to attend a two- to four-year school that focuses on graphic design. Most of these schools will offer many classes on advertising design. These classes should address typography specific to signage, advertising design layout, copywriting, and more. It's best to achieve at least an associate degree before applying for a job at an advertising agency, as they will expect this much from your resume.
An entry-level job at an advertising agency will depend upon how much experience you bring to the group. You can expect to work long and sometimes inconvenient hours, as the agency needs to meet the needs of business clients who often need to use business hours to meet their clients.
There are so many avenues within advertising design that you eventually can become a specialist in Web design for advertising, print advertising design, or in signage. A higher degree will take you further into marketing, business, and design theory, and that degree may pay for itself quickly. If you enter the advertising design workforce with a graduate degree and with little to no specialization, then you're a perfect fit for an advertising director. You will supervise people who have the specific skills that you lack. You just need to know enough to understand what you see and to know that you're receiving the best product possible from your team or from outsourcing.
Advertising design is highly competitive, as marketers are competing against marketers. If you're entering this field, try to find work with the best advertising agency possible so you can learn from the best. From there, the sky's the limit.