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The opportunities to work in graphic design are many and varied, from traditional print to digital media and web design. However, there are many different roles to be undertaken and experience as well as creativity can count for a lot when applying for a job in this industry.

Whilst you may have just graduated with a design related degree, it is not an automatic entry into a graphic designer role. In fact many design studios and print companies point out that many graduates leave university with very little real knowledge of the print industry or how the design process begins and ends. For many graduates looking to build a career in this highly competitive industry, becoming an artworker is good place to begin.

The Artworkers Role

Traditionally the artworker is the person who would take a creative brief from a designer and bring it to life. They may be presented with computer files, line drawings, photographs or even film, from which they need to be able to interpret what the designer wants and create it ready for its end use.

The role is not usually a creative one, although in some instances you maybe asked to come up with a design yourself without any further direction. It is by no means an entry level position, but it will give you valuable experience into the design industry and processes employed, as well as giving you valuable contacts for the future.  Working as an artworker can help to broaden your skills beyond those usually associated with graphic designers and this can give you an advantage when looking to further your career.

There are different types of artworkers employed in the industry today as explained below:

Mac Operators

This is perhaps seen as the entry level to artworker jobs and one where you will be required to have Mac experience as well as knowledge of the associated software. Mac operators generally are the ones who are required to make a file ‘print ready’ by editing it to ensure it meets all the necessary requirements needed before it can be printed.  This can include ensuring things like crop marks, margins, bleeds and colour formulas are all correct, as well as checking spelling and grammar and ensuring the file is finally presented in a PDF format. It is the least creative artworker role but the work can be varied and challenging.

Creative Artworkers

These are the guys who take a designer’s brief and bring to fruition before ensuring it is print ready as above. Again you will have little or no creative input, being required instead to take the files provided by the designer and make them ready for end use. This work can be varied, one day you maybe required to produce a simple business card, the next a full colour brochure complete with text and images, so you will need to be prepared to take on the mundane artworker jobs as well as the challenging ones.

Digital Artworkers

Digital artworkers generally work with media which is intended to be displayed on-screen and can include web design, e-marketing materials, PDF brochures and other types of online graphics. Although traditionally the role of a web designer, demand for digital artworkers is rising as design agencies see the need to employ someone in a editing and proofing role to ensure jobs are fully compliant with their client’s brief and also because demand for digital artwork is on the increase.

Where To Go From Here

Demand for skilled artworkers is high and as a result salaries and bonus packages are competitive. There is also a big demand for freelance artworkers who are able to work remotely on one-off jobs for a range of clients.

Even though modern software packages should negate the need for a dedicated artworker, the majority of design graduates have no knowledge of how to make their work print-ready or ready for digital publication. The role of an artworker also ensures one final quality control check that can make the difference between a job coming in on time and on budget or not.  Because of this, artworker jobs will remain in high demand for the foreseeable future.

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Posted by Designraid

I love architecture and love sharing beautiful design with others!

3 Comments

  1. Where does one find a position as an “artworker”? Ive never come across anything like that, but seems interesting.

  2. Very interesting write. I think this is exactly what I do and what I am capable of doing!

  3. Whilst this sounds a good route, I would ask will the graduate have the required knowledge to make a good artworker? Are they not the skills that you learn in the work place?

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