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High Schooler’s Guide to Graphic Design Classes

Graphic design is a challenging but entertaining subject for any tech-savvy teen with a creative streak, and there are plenty of resources for high school students to get started right away. Learning these skills can be the beginning of a solid foundation for future career success, regardless of what industry you ultimately land in. Graphic design requires a combination of technical skills, creativity, and organizational skills that will benefit students from all walks of life. 

Here, we’ll explore some of the benefits and opportunities that come with learning graphic design at an early age.

Benefits of Learning Graphic Design in High School

The skills needed to learn graphic design are some that would be advantageous for most high school students to learn even if they ultimately choose another career path. To start, most graphic designers are well-versed in the Adobe Creative Cloud. A deep understanding of these applications is the most common skill listed on job postings for current graphic design positions. But knowledge of these versatile software programs is also required for many other careers as well. Web designers, video editors, and user interface designers all need proficiency in Adobe programs as well. 

Aside from the technical skills that being a graphic designer demands, this discipline can teach high schoolers many vital soft skills that they can carry with them in both their professional and personal lives. Graphic design is not a skill that is easily learned through books or lectures—you’ll learn best by working on projects and getting consistent practice. Research also indicates that project-based learning ensures that more information is retained through hands-on activities. Graphic designers also typically work within a team of people, meaning students who engage with this material early on will be better able to communicate with others and receive constructive criticism without taking it personally. 

Some students take their graphic design skills and turn them into a way to make extra money. Generally, they’ll speak with local businesses who could use an upgrade of marketing materials and charge them a lower rate than they would expect with a more experienced designer. If you choose to go this route, be sure to keep copies of your designs and add them to your portfolio.

Potential Opportunities with Graphic Design

Dedicating some time to learning graphic design as a high school student can lead to several exciting opportunities once you graduate. While they can be difficult to find, there are some graphic design internships available. In addition to having familiarity with the Adobe programs, these positions generally require knowledge of other graphic design trends like typography and color theory

Young graphic designers are also afforded numerous scholarship opportunities to help them in their college education and beyond. Some smaller scholarships are available through either The Art Institutes or The National Society of High School Scholars. These scholarships range from $2,000 to $5,000. Adobe Design Circle Scholarships are an extremely competitive option, but if a student is selected they will receive up to $25,000 per year of a four-year degree. While this scholarship is not strictly limited to minority students, those who come from an underrepresented group are especially encouraged to apply. 

Minority students who wish to pursue a graphic design education have additional scholarships available to them. High school students who identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community can look into the LGBT Arts Scholarship or The Queens of the Castro Scholarship. Black students might be interested in the Black Design Leaders Grant. There is also the AIGA Worldstudio Scholarship which is available to any student from an underrepresented group or financially disadvantaged environment.

Students with skills in graphic design will also be prepared for a variety of exciting and unique career options. Many current graphic designers will also boost their skills in web design or coding to ensure their work will translate online since most businesses are embracing the digital space. One career that requires both creativity and technological know-how is a User Interface (UI) Designer. People who work in UI help design visually appealing websites and mobile applications that are intuitive and pleasant for people to use. UI designers earn an average annual salary of roughly $86,000, although this can increase with experience; a senior UI designer earns an annual salary closer to $114,000 per year. 

Another career that benefits from graphic design skills is a Motion Graphics Designer. Their work is generally displayed in a variety of areas including social media, film, and television. Motion graphics combine motion, sound, and text to create animations that quickly capture the attention of an audience. In addition to proficiency with Adobe programs, a successful Motion Graphics Designer will need to possess an understanding of subjects like 2D and/or 3D animation, video production, and lighting design. Like most careers, salary is partially dependent on where you live but careers in this field typically command an average salary of $64,000 per year. 

Learn Graphic Design with NextGen Bootcamp

Is there a high schooler in your life who loves computers and has a creative streak? Check out NextGen Bootcamp’s graphic design classes for high school students. NextGen offers both in-person graphic design classes at its New York City location as well as virtual graphic design courses, which can be taken remotely from anywhere in the world. The expert instructors at NextGen also provide students with mentorship support on college and summer internship applications.

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