19 September 2023

Graphic Design Internships

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Considering a career in graphic design?

You’ve come to the right place. Getting a graphic design role can be competitive. But having an internship or placement on your CV shows employers you have experience and ensures your future job applications stand out from the noisy crowd.

Want to unleash your creativity? Of course you do! As a graphic designer, you could create Hollywood movie billboards, develop the latest video games, innovate forward-thinking packaging solutions or curate best selling magazines. 

And so much more. Whatever you choose, graphic design allows you to apply your creative knowledge and artistic ability to produce work that revolves around visual communication.

Read on to discover how to kick-start your career with a graphic design internship at some of the UK’s best companies.

What does a graphic design intern do?

A graphic design internship will often involve you being paired with an in-house graphic designer who will show you the ropes. 

Some design agencies will have you working on the visual aspects of a campaign; this could be using company colours based on brand guidelines, or designing the look and feel of a new logo.

Others might get you to create marketing materials like newsletters, emails and social media posts.

Graphic design is a colourful career that can take you in all sorts of directions. Kind of like the rides at Thorpe Park, only way less dizzying! Here are just some of the industries you can apply to if you’re looking for an internship in graphic design…

Product Design

Graphic designers can venture into product design and develop a product’s packaging. This will consist of creating the graphics, icons, logos, and other visual elements crucial to the product experience.

Video Gaming

There are tons of ways you can bring graphic design to the gaming industry. There’s the game’s visual identity which is crucial to branding and marketing.

As a graphic designer, you’ll be responsible for the game’s marketing materials, such as the front cover, posters, image thumbnails, social media and website.


Book covers give vital first impressions to potential readers, so it’s important that the design is compelling. As a graphic designer, you’ll combine inspiring imagery, font and layout to create a book cover that captures readers’ attention and ultimately generates book sales.

As well as books, your work could also appear in publications such as magazines and newspapers. Although it’s most likely that your skillset will be needed for digital publications. 

As well as in-house experience, there’s tons of great benefits you get from doing a graphic design internship. Such as… 

  • Building a network of industry contacts
  • Learning new skills (for example: technical, digital, collaboration, communication)
  • Enhancing your confidence
  • Increasing your employability
  • Kick-starting your portfolio.

Graphic design can be used in a wide range of industries

What is a graphic design placement?

A graphic design placement is like an extended internship. You’ll get on-the-job experience working on projects such as marketing campaigns, digital design assets and company branding. You’ll also get a year’s worth of experience AND earn a salary. Hooray!

Making the decision to do a graphic design internship is one thing. But you also need to think about which employer you want to work for. 

With so many employers out there, finding the right one might seem overwhelming. To help get you started, we’ve picked out the crème de la crème of the industry who made RateMyPlacement.co.uk’s Best 100 Student Employers table…

Ever dreamt of working at Walt Disney? Us too. Find out what a placement student thought of her experience…

“I worked as part of an International Central Design team working on a range of small to large scale design tasks. My responsibilities included creating assets and designing wireframes and page mockups for Disney, Disney Tickets, National Geographic and other brands’ online products.”

(Design Intern (DMED), The Walt Disney Company)

Is graphic design a promising career?

Absolutely! Not only is graphic design a highly valued skill, it’s an exciting career with endless opportunities. Are you creative, love getting practical and can provide solutions to design-based problems? If so, a graphic design internship could be calling your name.

Graphic design salary

The salary for a junior graphic designer ranges from £18,000 to £23,000 a year. Once you’ve gained experience, this will rise to £27,000. 

For senior graphic designers, you can expect to earn between £35k – £55k. As a creative director, you’ll take home a whopping £60k+. That’s pretty awesome if you ask us.

If you’ve always dreamt of running your own business or working with multiple clients, becoming a freelancer could be just the ticket. As an experienced freelance graphic designer, you can earn a good £200 – £400 a day. Maybe even charge more.

But you’ll need to build a good rapport with your clients first.

Is graphic design still in demand?

Yes! As companies look to increase their digital presence, the demand for graphic designers is through the roof. Graphic design is needed across multiple industries too, so you could even merge your passions.

Love travel or fashion? Passionate about the environment? A graphic design placement will pave the way for all your career aspirations.

Here are just a few of the most in-demand graphic design jobs: 

  • Product Designer
  • UX/UI Designer
  • Illustrator
  • Motion Designer

“I have developed my existing software skills in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign & After Effects. I have also developed my conceptual thinking skills, and my ability to produce graphic identities for real-life briefs. I can keep to strict deadlines, and work well in a professional environment. I have improved my confidence and communication skills.”

(Graphic Design Intern, Gymshark)

What is the career path for a graphic designer

Given the demand for graphic designers, you’ll have a range of career paths to choose from. Having a strong portfolio will really showcase your skills and impress those potential employers in your application. A good portfolio should do the following: 

  • Show your versatility
  • Display your best work
  • Include case studies
  • Be easy to navigate
  • Include contact information
  • Display your unique personality.

You can progress quickly in graphic design and reach a senior position within a few years. Here are some examples of potential careers you could take. 

Art Director

As an Art Director, the purpose is to develop and uphold a creative vision that speaks to the reader, viewer, or user.

In order to achieve this, you would manage a team of designers who work on creative projects such as film and television advertising, graphic design, and marketing.

Creative Director

A creative director is in charge of a company’s advertising and marketing. They plan advertisements, monitor campaigns and use assets to shape a brand.

These careers are all attainable for people who have worked as graphic designers, or in other creative positions. It’s an exciting career trajectory. And they all start with…can you guess? A graphic design internship.

Brand Manager

Brand managers ensure that a brand is recognisable, current and exciting to customers. They come up with a strategy to promote brands by continuously monitoring marketing trends and keeping a close eye on competitors.

Want to work in advertising and design a brand’s logo?

Now those burning questions have been resolved, it’s time to kick-start your career and bag yourself an internship or placement in graphic design.