Discover the Best Graphic Design Classes in Chicago
Graphic design is a unique and fascinating field that is defined as “planning and projecting ideas” using visual graphics, text, and other design elements. This skill can be used in a myriad of different careers. For example, Rasmussen University states that graphic design helps when producing items like professional ads, book covers, logos, signs, business cards, software interfaces, posters, infographics, web layouts, and even product labels.
The goal behind all graphic design projects is to communicate a message directly to the consumer, such as a business’ professionalism when providing services or products. Skilled graphic designers are often in high demand and can make a consistent and rewarding salary. Thankfully, many graphic design classes are available in Chicago, a city that also features some of the biggest and most successful advertising and graphic design firms in the nation.
Best Graphic Design Classes & Schools in Chicago
While many people learn graphic design on their own, it’s best to take a professional training program to streamline your education. Why? First, these programs can teach you the basics and slowly progress your skills until you’re ready to start looking for jobs. Furthermore, they often provide completion certificates or college degrees to make your job hunt easier.
On that note, here are the best Chicago-based graphic design schools and classes in the area.
DePaul University is a popular university in Chicago that provides graphic design bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Their courses cover advertising, book covers, web layout, motion graphics, photography, title design, visual design, and general art creation. Consistently rated as one of the best colleges in Chicago, DePaul is a good choice if you want a hands-on education in a religious environment, as DePaul is a Catholic university that includes faith-based learning.
University of Illinois Chicago
The University of Illinois Chicago is acclaimed for strong programs in multiple fields, including graphic design. Their graphic design bachelor’s program focuses on teaching students the fundamentals of this skill, including the importance of communicating abstract ideas using concrete images, symbols, and text. When finished, you can pursue a master’s degree or start looking for jobs in this field, depending on how far you want to advance in your career.
Computer Training Source, Inc.
Computer Training Source, Inc. is a Chicago school that focuses on inexpensive and effective tech-based bootcamps. You can book their classes on CourseHorse, a Noble Desktop affiliate that provides a diverse platform that lets you book learning programs quickly and inexpensively. In this way, you can get an immersive graphic design experience, build a portfolio, and start looking for jobs. Here are a few of their most popular graphic design training options.
Photoshop Part 1
Photoshop Part 1 is a Computer Training Source, Inc. class in the popular Chicago suburb of Schaumburg. This class includes six lessons, including basic Photoshop operation and more advanced subjects, like layering art and managing files effectively. Suitable for beginners, this program also includes Photoshop Part 2 and Photoshop Part 3. Complete these courses to further your Photoshop understanding and receive completion degrees that confirm your skills.
Illustrator Part 1
Illustrator Part 1 is a Computer Training Source, Inc. class that focuses on teaching Illustrator, an important graphic design software used by many designers. This course includes seven lessons that gradually immerse you in this program and its many diverse uses. The first lesson includes basic design principles, while later ones introduce more advanced skills. When finished, you can take Illustrator Part 2 and Illustrator Part 3 to complete your training.
ONLC Training Centers
ONLC Training Centers is a national tech-training company that provides IT education using a hands-on teaching method with in-person professors who improve your learning experience. Their Chicago location includes Adobe InDesign Core Skills: Level 1, a beginner-level program on the West Loop in Chicago that teaches Adobe’s popular InDesign program. With a small class size of about seven, you should get more personalized support with this program.
Noble Desktop is a NYC-based training firm that also provides online courses for learners across the nation. Their program includes support from a skilled professor with years of experience in graphic design, as well as benefits like a free course retake if you fail your certification exam or just want to learn more. Noble Desktop also provides one-on-one mentoring to help you progress further and master graphic design skills even more effectively. They offer an immersive Graphic Design Certificate program for students looking to start a new career as digital artists.
Chicago Industries That Use Graphic Design
Chicago has a diverse array of different high-quality industries where graphic designers can find jobs. These include many tech-based markets that often use digital programs to produce intricate graphics, animations, and even advertisements. Here are a few of the best options to consider for your first graphic designer job, as well as potential employers in market:
- Video Game Production: While Chicago isn’t necessarily well known for its gaming studios, companies like Jackbox Games, Lightstream, Phenix, Babaroga, and Wishbone Club all operate out of the city. These smaller firms often employ graphic designers to produce high-quality and attractive game graphics, marketing materials, and much more.
- Social Media Marketing: Like many major cities, Chicago has multiple social media marketing firms that need graphic designers. These firms include Fresh Content Society, Evergreen, Sybmiont Group, The Music Group, and Bright Bright Great. Businesses like these employ graphic designers to produce eye-catching social media posts.
- Printing: Chicago is a major nexus for printing, including firms like Chicago Print Group, Forest Printing, Urban Imaging, Allied Print & Copy, The Printing Store, and M&G Graphics. These businesses all need skilled graphic designers who can create attractive designs for customers, including logo, clothing, and branding materials.
- Animation: Animation firms like The Studio Bridge, Dogstudio, Kelxfy, Microdeft, Attack Studios, Eon Eden, UO Solutions, Band Landgraf Consulting Group in Chicago hire graphic designers to produce attractive graphics for movies, training films, and television shows. Start your career at one of these companies before moving to a bigger employer.
- Web Design: The Chicago area has multiple companies focused on web design projects, like high-quality websites and attractive digital designs. Firms like TechAvidus, Plego Technologies, Digital Silk, and Unico Connect employ graphic designers alongside software engineers to create high-quality and effective sites that convert sales.
Graphic Design Jobs & Salaries in Chicago
Here are a handful of graphic designer jobs and salaries you might find in Chicago, including a listing of their job duties:
- Photo Editor: Photo editors carefully update and edit photos to make sure that they’re attractive and engaging for the user. In Chicago, they make a base salary of about $45,000 every year on average, though they may make closer to $50,000, depending on the employer.
- Senior Graphic Designer: Senior graphic designers are professionals with more experience who often lead design teams to produce better and more effective results. They make about $85,000 per year in Chicago, which is an excellent wage for this profession.
- Packaging Designer: As a packaging designer, you’ll create graphics that ensure a company’s branding matches its packages. You can earn about $63,000 per year on average in this profession, which is a good salary for someone living in the Windy City.
- Web Designer: A web designer carefully creates websites by integrating photos, text, and other content for their clients. In Chicago, a web designer makes an average yearly salary of $57,000, though some earn up to $75,000 with more experience.
- Art Director: Art directors help manage a firm’s art design, including their marketing materials, though some may also work in art galleries and photo firms. They make an average yearly salary of $64,000 in Chicago, though may earn as high as $89,000 in some markets.
- UX Designer: A user-experience or UX designer focuses on user interfaces and other interactive elements on websites, software, and mobile apps. They can make about $77,000 annually on average in Chicago, though higher-earning designers make closer to $112,000.