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Graphic designers

OaSIS code 52120.01

Graphic designers conceptualize and produce graphic art and visual materials to effectively communicate information for publications, advertising, films, packaging, posters, signs and interactive media such as Web sites and CDs. Graphic designers who are also supervisors, project managers or consultants are included in this occupation.


Also known as

  • 2D animation artist
  • 3D modeler
  • Advertising designer

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Consult with clients to establish the overall look, graphic elements and content of communications materials in order to meet their needs
  • Determine the medium best suited to produce the desired visual effect and the most appropriate vehicle for communication
  • Develop the graphic elements that meet the clients' objectives
  • Prepare sketches, layouts and graphic elements of the subjects to be rendered using traditional tools, multimedia software and image processing, layout and design software
  • Estimate cost of materials and time to complete graphic design
  • Use existing photo and illustration banks and typography guides or hire an illustrator or photographer to produce images that meet clients' communications needs
  • Establish guidelines for illustrators or photographers
  • Coordinate all aspects of production for print, audio-visual or electronic materials, such as Web sites, CDs and interactive terminals
  • Coordinate sub-contracting
  • Work in a multidisciplinary environment
  • Supervise other graphic designers or graphic arts technicians.

Additional information

  • Progression to management or senior design positions is possible with experience.
  • The title "registered graphic designer" is recognized by law in Ontario.

Similar occupations classified elsewhere


  • Painters, sculptors and other visual artists (53122)
  • Graphic arts technicians (52111)
  • Interior designers and interior decorators (52121)
  • Advertising managers (10022.01)

NOC hierarchy breakdown

NOC version

NOC 2021 Version 1.0

Broad occupational category

5 – Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport


2 – Occupations usually require a college diploma or apprenticeship training of two or more years; or supervisory occupations

Major group

52 – Technical occupations in art, culture and sport

Sub-major group

521 – Technical occupations in art and culture

Minor group

5212 – Graphic and interior designers

Unit group

52120 – Graphic designers and illustrators

Occupational profile

52120.01 – Graphic designers

Work characteristics

Work characteristics gathers the various components describing the work environment of each occupation, such as employers, work activities, and the work context. Each category displays up to 10 descriptors in descending order based, firstly, on their attributed ratings by the level of complexity (for Work Activities) or other measurement dimensions (for Work Context), and secondly, in alphabetical order. The whole list of descriptors and their ratings can be expanded at the bottom of each page.

Work Activities

Proficiency or complexity level
Selling or Influencing Others
5 - Highest Level
Thinking Creatively
5 - Highest Level
Applying New Knowledge
4 - High Level
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
4 - High Level
Interacting with Computers
4 - High Level

Work Context

Structural Job Characteristics

Structured versus Unstructured Work
Degree of freedom to determine tasks and priorities
3 - Moderate amount of freedom
Work Week Duration
Worked hours in a typical week
2 - Between 35 to 40 hours

Physical Work Environment

Physical Proximity
Physical distance from others
3 - Somewhat close (e.g. share office)

Physical Demands

5 - All the time, or almost all the time
1 - Very little time
Bending or Twisting the Body
1 - Very little time

Interpersonal Relations

Contact with Others
3 - Once a week or more but not every day
4 - More than half the time
Work with Work Group or Team
4 - Highly important
4 - Every day, a few times per day


  • Advertising firms
  • Establishments with advertising or communications departments
  • Graphic design firms
  • Multimedia production companies
  • Self-employed

Skills and abilities

This section displays the various competencies required for an occupation. Each category displays up to 10 descriptors in descending order based, firstly, on their attributed ratings by the level of proficiency (for Skills and Abilities) or importance (for Personal Attributes) and secondly, in alphabetical order. The whole list of descriptors and their ratings can be expanded at the bottom of each page.


Proficiency or complexity level
Colour Perception
5 - Highest Level
Fluency of Ideas
5 - Highest Level
Near Vision
4 - High Level
Spatial Visualization
4 - High Level
Arm-Hand Steadiness
3 - Moderate Level


Proficiency or complexity level
3 - Moderate Level
Critical Thinking
3 - Moderate Level
Decision Making
3 - Moderate Level
Digital Literacy
3 - Moderate Level
Equipment and Tool Selection
3 - Moderate Level

Personal Attributes

5 - Extremely important
4 - Highly important
Attention to Detail
4 - Highly important
4 - Highly important
4 - Highly important