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A Beginner's Guide to a Career As a Digital Production Designer

Digital production design professionals working together at a computer - Tulane School of Professional Advancement

For many creatives, the need to express themselves through building, designing, or writing is an itch that never seems to go away. Luckily, you can turn your knack for creative expression into a fulfilling career as a digital production designer or graphic designer. From web ads to animated gifs, digital production designers work with brands to help their online presence come to life.

The Tulane School of Professional Advancement's (Tulane SoPA) BA in Digital Design teaches students how to utilize research and problem-solving skills to help brands create innovative and culturally significant communicative solutions.

If you're interested in helping to design and shape the online world we all use, read on to learn everything that goes into being a digital production designer.

What Is a Digital Production Designer?

Digital production designers create digital assets for brands that are used in campaigns locally and globally. These skilled designers use digital software tools to create websites, advertisements, video games, interactive displays, apps, and animations.

What do they do?

Digital designers use their imagination and digital tools to create viewable media on a screen or digital interface. They handle tasks like:

  • Web design
  • App design
  • Graphic design
  • Brand design solutions like product, email, and social media graphics
  • Animation design, and
  • UX/UI design

Where do they work?

Digital production designers work at marketing agencies, in-house in businesses across industries, and for themselves as freelance creatives. Film studios and gaming companies also hire digital production designers to help create assets for their ongoing projects. These talented designers spend their days giving their clients a voice by helping them to craft everything from logos to brand packaging.

Degrees to become a digital production designer

You need a four-year degree or a certification in fine arts or graphic design to practice as a digital production designer or graphic designer. At Tulane SoPA, students learn advanced design practices from a diverse faculty comprised of award-winning industry professionals.

Tulane SoPA offers both a BA in Digital Design and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Graphic Design. These flexible programs were expertly crafted to give students the necessary skills to compete in this growing job market.

Job outlook for digital designers

Graphic design jobs are among the most popular digital design-related careers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), graphic design jobs are set to grow by 3 percent between 2020 and 2030. The median pay for graphic design professionals is $50,710 per year.

What Is Digital Design?

Digital design involves using digital tools and assets to produce multimedia that is viewable on a screen. Digital and graphic design are often terms used interchangeably, but the former is a branch of the latter. Digital design professionals create:

  • Digital billboards
  • Online advertisements
  • 2- or 3-D animation
  • Social media graphics
  • Online flyers
  • Email templates
  • Landing pages, and
  • Logos

Digital Production Designer Skills

Aside from your degree in graphic design or digital content creation, you need a combination of key technical skills and experience using vital software.

Some essential skills for digital production designers include:

  • Artistic skills like drawing
  • Typography skills — knowledge of different fonts
  • Layout and navigation
  • Design
  • Color sense — the ability to discern visual effects
  • Analytical skills like data analysis, problem-solving, and critical thinking
  • Knowledge of mobile-friendly design, and
  • Great communication skills

Software experience needed

You will also need experience using different software in digital production design like:

  • Coding and markup language basics such as HTML, jQuery, and CSS
  • Scripting languages like PHP on Adobe Illustrator, Flash, and Autodesk
  • Page layout using Quark Xpress
  • Macromedia Flash — video editing
  • TeamSite — managing content, and
  • Microsoft Project — task management

Additionally, Adobe Creative Suite is the most commonly used program for graphic design, video editing, and creative production. In order to be a digital production designer, you must have high capabilities in the following programs:

  • Adobe Photoshop (image edits)
  • Adobe Acrobat Premiere Pro (PDF manipulation)
  • Adobe InDesign (page layout)
  • Adobe Dreamweaver (design), and
  • Adobe Illustrator (drawing)

Characteristics of a Good Digital Production Designer

While a digital production design career is open for most people, it best fits people with specific characteristics, including:

  • Creativity: Digital production designers use imagination to create unique and original products. Creativity will help you bring ideas to life and meet client and project demands.
  • Impressive communication skills: Communication skills are critical in digital design projects to let co-workers and clients know the amount of progress you have made. These skills will also help you understand client requirements and ensure the product you create fits them.
  • Enthusiastic personality: Since you will use different tools in digital design projects, you must always be willing to learn. Enthusiasm allows you to tap into the ever-changing technology and utilize it to bring important ideas to life.
  • Team spirit: You must work as a team in larger production design projects like films. Being a team player allows you to collaborate with co-workers or clients to achieve a set-out objective.
  • Open to constructive criticism: Digital design jobs will involve working on numerous samples before settling on a final product. When evaluating results, teammates or clients can critique some parts of the job, which you should take positively as a designer. Accepting constructive criticism allows you to adjust to meet the requirements.
  • Detail-orientation: Tiny details can make or break any advert or film, so you must be keen when handling such projects. Detail-oriented designers note all the key details to get the desired product into the hands of a client.

Earn Your Graphic Design Degree in New Orleans at Tulane SoPA

Turn your passion for design into a career in the growing field of digital design. No matter your interests — from sports to high art — there is a position for you in digital design that can combine a multitude of your passions.

The digital design programs at Tulane SoPA prepare students to solve real-world problems with communicative design. Our work-ready programs can help you take the next step in your design career.

Contact us today to learn more about our flexible programs ideal for working adults ready to elevate their skill set.

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