Rob Watts
Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a graphic design degree, and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers. 
We encourage you to:
  • undertake career planning and research
  • build your networks, meet employers and graduates
  • gain essential work experience during your course
  • attend industry events
  • continually develop your professional/creative portfolio
  • proactively explore working for yourself (freelancing and business start-up)
  • get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • visit the Careers Service for advice.

Knowledge and skills

A graphic design degree gives you the perfect opportunity to develop and refine your studio skills and methods (typography, illustration, drawing, motion graphics, animation) which are essential to work as a professional graphic designer, but you will also develop a broad range of transferable skills which are desired by a wide range of employers and occupational areas. These include:
  • teamwork – you are able to listen to other team members, and take on board each other's opinions and ideas
  • time management – you are able to manage your time effectively and make deadlines
  • organisation and project management – you are able to plan and schedule work, prioritising what needs to be done and by when
  • creativity – you are able to come up with creative solutions to problems and take an innovative approach
  • attention to detail – you are able to be thorough and focused on the details of a task, monitoring and evaluation information or plans
  • communication and emotional intelligence – you are able to explain ideas clearly, with the ability to empathise and understand how others are feeling
  • entrepreneurial skills – you are able to market yourself and your work.

Career options

Studying graphic design with typography at the University of Plymouth will open a wide range of career choices. You could look at channelling your creative talents by pursuing a career as a professional graphic designer. If considering this you could create designs for advertisements, commercials, website content, publications, branding/ logos, package design and/or textile design. 
You could also use your creative skills to explore roles focusing on the user experience, such as a UX (user experience) designer or UI (user interface) designer. Many graphic designers are self-employed and look for freelance work, whilst others are employed by creative design/advertising agencies. To find out more about going freelance or running your own business check out our self-employment and freelancing page. 
If being in a design role doesn’t appeal, you could consider creative roles that determine the overall creative vision of a project, such as a Creative Director, or a one that takes charge of the overall visual style and content of magazines or film productions, such as an art director.
You could also use your creative skills to inspire others and work as a teacher (primary, secondary, further education) or a higher education lecturer. Teaching opportunities are also available outside of a traditional classroom setting and you could consider using your artist flair to engage with people as a Community Arts Worker/ Practitioner. 
Creative roles also include working as an animator, concept artist, multi-media programmer, product developer, printmaker, production designer, fine artist, special effects technician or fashion designer. Again, if being in a more creative role doesn’t appeal, you could consider more project management roles, such as an arts administrator or one that focuses on managing client relationships, such as an advertising account executive. 
Many graphic design with typography graduates take the skills they have learnt elsewhere and find their way into less directly related graduate professions including the civil service and the charitable sector.
When considering your options, remember that your physical and digital portfolio are essential to presenting your work to potential employers and evidencing your skills. If you would like some advice regarding your portfolio, how to stand out and what design agencies are looking for in potential applicants visit The Ideal Candidate.
Researching your career options
With such a wide range of careers open to you as a graphic design with typography graduate, it is important to make sure you explore and research your options thoroughly so that you can make informed decisions about your future. 
Take a look at the professional associations websites for inspiration: 
Employment opportunities 
Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth graduates told us they were doing 15 months after graduation. For some graduates, these jobs serve as ‘stepping stones’ to professional posts by providing relevant workplace experience. 
  • Artist
  • Creative Assistant
  • Creative Designer
  • Designer
  • Digital Designer
  • Graphic Design Intern
  • Graphic Designer
  • Head of Design
  • Junior Creative
  • Junior Graphic Designer
  • Social Media and Copywriting Intern
  • User Experience Designer
  • User Interface Designer
  • 5and3: Integrated Communications Solutions
  • Aluses Graphics
  • BBC
  • Digital Radish
  • Firstsource
  • Hiyield Ltd
  • IKEA
  • Lick N Stick Graphics
  • M&C Saatchi London
  • Plus 1 Communications
  • PPM Creative
  • VP Promotions
*Data is from the Graduate Outcomes Surveys covering the three years of 2018/19 – 2020/21. Graduates were surveyed 15 months after graduating. Data displayed is for UK-domiciled, first degree, full-time graduates who are working, studying or looking for work.

Further study

Some of the careers chosen by Graphic Communications graduates will require or benefit from further study, so this should be considered carefully. The University offers the following postgraduate study options that could be of interest to Graphic Communications graduates:
You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a careers consultant about your particular situation.
Some useful websites to help you find a suitable postgraduate programme:
It is also worth investigating what further study options the University has to offer as you may find the perfect course for yourself in an institution you already know. There are also sometimes financial benefits of staying on such as a fee discount to Alumni – find out your funding options.

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access our 24/7 online resources.
There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.
Our bite-sized Skills Workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:
  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn
  • and more.
Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service, however they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn’s alumni tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.
  • Search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • select ‘Alumni’
  • filter the results by subject, sector, company or location.
For more information about the alumni tool select the LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile, select the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

Other advice and guidance

Gain work experience
Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience develops valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out particular career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.
You have plenty of options open to you. You could apply for a placement year, work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration. You could also improve your skills and experience by undertaking some freelance work, entering competitions and self-initiating your own design briefs.
The University of Plymouth Students’ Union also offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.
Clubs and societies
Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities; it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion
You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to graphic communications or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.
Tutor and academic support
Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.
Student Hub

Where could your degree subject take you?

Architecture and built environment
Biological sciences
Business, economics, management, marketing, accounting and finance, and maritime and logistics
Creative arts: art, illustration and photography
Design: interior/product and furniture design, graphic design and game arts/digital design
Earth, geography and environment
Education and teaching
Hospitality, tourism and events management
Humanities: anthropology, art history, English and history
Law, criminology and policing
Mathematical sciences
Media and filmmaking
Medicine, dentistry and biomedical sciences
Nursing, midwifery and allied health professions
Performing arts: acting, drama and musical theatre
Sociology, international relations and politics