What do Junior Graphic Designers do? (A day in the life in 3 different roles)

David Dinh
Jan 22, 2024

Ever been curious what a fresh grad does out of design school? Maybe you’re about to graduate, and you’re wondering what’s ahead of you. Job descriptions are typically pretty good at giving you an idea of what you’ll be doing in your role, but they’re rarely explicit enough to share all of the details.

Here’s some personal insight into what it was like working in a signage and print shop, a web design agency, and as a freelancer in the first few years coming out of college.

Working in print

With digital design being a lot more prominent, you likely won’t find many studios or agencies that specialize in print. However, there are plenty of print and signage shops. My first full-time role was a Junior Designer and Project Manager position at a print and signage company.

On any given day, you’d likely have these tasks (from most to least common):

  • Send and respond to emails
  • Make calls to clients and subcontractors
  • Production design (setting up print-ready files and vectorizing client assets)
  • Send client design proofs for approval
  • Double-check the quality of printed work before, during, and after production
  • Internal meetings to go over deadlines
  • Drive on-site to verify measurements and scope out the location where the signs would go
  • In-person meeting with clients to measure vehicles for wraps
  • Support the production team with overflow work

For me, the best parts of working in print were designing and seeing vehicle wraps come to life, creating murals and wall graphics for companies looking to “spice up” their offices, and the overall variety of work. You may not like this role if you dislike making phone calls, driving, managing others, or are looking to flex your creativity often.

Unfortunately, the pandemic ended my print career, sending me back to the job boards.

Working in web

A short time later (thank God), I found a role working as a Junior Designer at a web agency. It was a completely different role with a new set of responsibilities and skills to pick up while also allowing for a lot more creativity. It was fully remote due to unforeseen circumstances.

A typical day would consist of (from most to least common):

  • Using Photoshop to design custom web pages
  • Building and designing websites in WordPress using Divi
  • Tracking time spent on projects
  • Internal meetings and check-ins with Creative Directors
  • Presenting design concepts to clients
  • Using Divi and WordPress CMS to enter the client’s copy/images
  • Building out case studies from finished websites for the company's portfolio
  • Designing logos and brand collateral
  • Attending new project “kick-off” calls

With a print background, there was a learning curve to understanding how to design and build websites, but the agency setting allowed for a lot of creative freedom and exploration, which at least made it more fun. Having more senior designers to give feedback and share workflows with was also invaluable. This role may not be for you if you aren’t interested in learning coding or building out websites yourself.

Working for yourself

While you search for your full-time gig, you’ll likely come across friends or family looking for design work. I was fortunate enough to land some freelance work both alone and with another more experienced designer while job hunting.

The days were kind of all over the place. Between applying for jobs, I’d just have a couple hours set aside for any ongoing projects. Here are some of the things I worked on:

  • Designed logos for small businesses that friends and family were starting
  • Created a couple of brochures for a small business
  • After not getting a job at a print company, I was able to rework their logo instead
  • Brand collateral and photography for a bakery (working with another designer)
  • Volunteered to create animated social media videos for a non-profit

I’d recommend seeking out and taking on whatever freelance projects you can manage, especially early in your career while you’re still figuring things out. You’ll be exposed to new experiences and have the chance to work with clients and on projects that you wouldn’t otherwise have at work.

If you’re finding consistent work, you’ll have to ensure that you’re meeting tax obligations. This is a much larger conversation, so make sure that you’ve done your own research before jumping into freelancing!


There’s one commonality across all Junior Graphic Designer roles, and it’s that you’re probably not going to love everything that will be dropped on your plate. You’re going to have to be willing to learn new skills, expose yourself to new environments, and ultimately squeeze the most out of every role. When starting out the best thing you can do is to make sure that you’re not being taken advantage of, set boundaries if you can, and know that in time you’ll be past the junior stage with more creativity and opportunity on the horizon.

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