So you want to be a graphic designer? What does that mean exactly? What types of jobs are available? It turns out deciding to be a designer is a pretty vague choice that often requires some more direction and career evolution before you really land yourself in a meaningful career.
Today we’ll explore the underlying structure of the graphic design industry and take a brief look at some different design jobs and career paths that you can and should explore. Whether you’ve been a designer for ten minutes or ten years, this article could help you find your place in the industry.
Mac Operator (sometimes written “MAC Operator”) is a term that you almost never hear in web design but appears frequently in the print industry. Other terms like “Mac specialist,artworker,entry level designer, or even simply “graphic designer” are often equivalent.
Though the use of the term varies considerably, most often you’ll find that a Mac Operator is someone who, quite frankly, can use a Mac for what is was once widely known for: desktop publishing. Mac Operators can, at the very least, use page layout software with a high level of proficiency.
Mac Operators are often not usually in a position to display much, if any, creative prowess. Instead their roles are restricted to converting existing low-resolution artwork or sketches from designers to a print-ready layered file or to make minor changes to preexisting work created by someone else.
As an example, I had a friend that worked for a marketing company who would have designers come up with a first round of artwork, which would be sent off for approval. If the piece came back with copy changes and other slight suggestions, it would go to the Mac Operators to be tweaked. If however, it required major design changes, it would go back to the higher level designers. In smaller companies this is obviously done all by one person but larger companies want to make sure they’re paying high level designers to do high level work, not copy changes.