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NOC 2021 Version 1.0


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52120 – Graphic designers and illustrators

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. They are employed by advertising and graphic design firms, by establishments with advertising or communications departments and by multimedia production companies, or they may be self-employed. Graphic designers who are also supervisors, project managers or consultants are included in this unit group. Illustrators conceptualize and create illustrations to represent information through images. They are almost solely self-employed.


Example titles

  • 3D animation artist
  • Advertising designer
  • Animator - animated films
  • Bank note designer
  • Cartoonist
  • Commercial artist
  • Graphic artist
  • Graphic designer
  • Graphic designer - multimedia
  • Illustrator
  • Layout designer
  • Medical illustrator
  • Multimedia illustrator
  • Scientific illustrator

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:
    Graphic designers
    • 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.
    • Consult with clients to determine the nature and content of illustrations in order to meet their communications needs
    • Develop and produce realistic or representational sketches and final illustrations, by hand or using computer-assisted design (CAD) software, for printed materials such as books, magazines, packaging, greeting cards and stationery
    • Assist in developing storyboards for electronic productions such as multimedia, interactive and digital products and television advertising and productions
    • Produce 2-D and 3-D animated drawings or computer illustrations
    • May adapt existing illustrations.

Employment requirements

  • A university degree in visual arts with specialization in graphic design, commercial art, graphic communications or cartooning or completion of a college diploma program in graphic arts is required.
  • Experience or training in multimedia design at a post-secondary, college or technical institution may be required.
  • In addition to the arts, training in biology, engineering, architecture or a scientific field is usually required for medical, technical and scientific illustrators.
  • Creative ability and artistic talent, as demonstrated by a portfolio of work, are required for graphic designers and illustrators.

Additional information

  • Illustrators may specialize in a particular field such as illustrations for children, advertising, editorials, humour, or medical, scientific or technical illustration, or multimedia design.
  • Progression to management or senior design positions is possible with experience.
  • The title "registered graphic designer" is recognized by law in Ontario.


Breakdown summary

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
NOC 2021 Version 1.0
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