NOC 5241 – 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.

Progression to management or senior design positions is possible with experience.

The title “registered graphic designer” is recognized by law in Ontario.

Main Duties

Graphic designers perform 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
  • Co-ordinate all aspects of production for print, audio-visual or electronic materials, such as Web sites, CDs and interactive terminals
  • Co-ordinate sub-contracting
  • Work in a multidisciplinary environment
  • Supervise other graphic designers or graphic arts technicians.

Illustrators perform some or all of the following duties:

  • 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.

Illustrators may specialize in a particular field such as illustrations for children, advertising, editorials, humour, or medical, scientific or technical illustration, or multimedia design.

Employment Requirements

  • A university degree in visual arts with specialization in graphic design, commercial art, graphic communications or cartooning
    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.

All Titles

  • 2D animation artist
  • 2D animator
  • 3D animation artist
  • 3D animator
  • advertising art director
  • advertising art supervisor
  • advertising artist
  • advertising designer
  • advertising illustrator
  • advertising layout designer
  • animated cartoon artist
  • animated cartoon artist – visual arts
  • animated cartoon colourist
  • animation artist
  • animation layout designer
  • animator – animated films
  • animator, graphic design and illustration
  • art layout designer
  • artist, storyboard
  • artistic illustrator
  • assistant animator – animated films
  • background artist
  • bank note designer
  • biological illustrator
  • business forms designer
  • calligrapher
  • calligraphic artist
  • caricaturist
  • cartoon film artist
  • cartoonist
  • cartoonist sketch
  • catalogue illustrator
  • cell animator
  • character animator
  • chief, advertising illustrator
  • colour artist – cartoons
  • colourist – cartoons
  • commercial artist
  • commercial design artist
  • commercial designer
  • communication designer
  • computer animator
  • computer graphics specialist
  • content director
  • content strategist
  • cover designer
  • cover page illustrator
  • cybergraphic designer
  • designer, form layouts
  • digital animator – artist
  • editorial cartoonist
  • electronic games designer
  • fashion illustrator
  • flash designer
  • form layout designer
  • forms designer
  • graphic artist
  • graphic arts room supervisor
  • graphic design and illustration animator
  • graphic designer
  • graphic designer – multimedia
  • graphic designer – multimedia, interactive or new media
  • graphic designer and layout artist
  • graphic designer, Web
  • illustrator
  • illustrator and graphic designer
  • interactive media designer
  • Internet graphic designer
  • layout artist
  • layout designer
  • layout designer, animation
  • litho artist
  • medical illustrator
  • multimedia design specialist
  • multimedia designer
  • multimedia illustrator
  • multimedia instructional designer and scriptor
  • multimedia products designer
  • multimedia products designer-ideaman/womanmultimedia products designer-ideaman, multimedia products designer-ideawoman
  • new media graphics designer
  • newspaper illustrator
  • package designer
  • page designer
  • paper securities designer
  • pictographist
  • political caricaturist
  • political cartoonist
  • poster artist
  • registered graphic designer (RGD)
  • RGD (registered graphic designer)
  • scientific illustrator
  • sign designer
  • sports cartoonist
  • storyboard artist
  • supervisor, advertising art
  • supervisor, graphic arts room
  • title artist
  • user experience designer
  • wallpaper colourist
  • wallpaper designer
  • Web designer – graphic design
  • Web graphic designer
  • Web page designer


  • Advertising managers (See 0124 Advertising, marketing and public relations managers)
  • Graphic arts technicians (5223)
  • Interior designers and interior decorators (5242)
  • Painters, sculptors and other visual artists (5136)


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