What does an Assistant Designer do?

Sheri Cyprus

An assistant designer usually has many job duties within his or her supporting role. Assistant designers are at a crucial step in their career. They typically have their formal education, but now receive training toward becoming a main designer while learning hands-on skills from someone already in that position. Students from different creative industries, such as interior design, graphics and fashion, typically start their career in the entry-level position of assistant designer.

An assistant fashion designer cuts and pieces together a sewing pattern under the supervision of a senior designer.
An assistant fashion designer cuts and pieces together a sewing pattern under the supervision of a senior designer.

Typical job duties of assistant designers are preparing and completing projects initiated by a senior designer. For example, an assistant apparel designer usually creates and cuts out sewing patterns before piecing them together on a dress form. The senior designer must approve the work before the sewing process. In many cases, the assistant designer then supervises the work of dressmakers who sew the finished garments.

Assistant designers often oversee dressmakers.
Assistant designers often oversee dressmakers.

Assistant graphic designers are also called juniors. They do commercial projects such as ads, brochures, restaurant menus, posters, t-shirts and promotional displays. Graphics assistants must be adept in using computer software programs. Many junior designers also work with photography equipment. An assistant designer usually works in a team of juniors that reports to a senior. Within the team, each junior designer may be responsible for a specific contribution such as color or photography.

People studying to become an interior designer often first gain experience working for established designers. However, they may not actually hold the title of assistant designer. In many areas, an interior designer refers to a person with certain credentials and a formal education that includes a knowledge of building codes as well as architectural planning. An assistant to a certified interior designer does mostly administrative tasks, such as answering the phone and communicating with customers, but also works in a limited capacity on client projects. He or she has a basic understanding of color, lighting and furniture placement as well as how to use computer aided design (CAD) programs.

Understanding and working with computer graphics software is a daily requirement for all types of assistant designer jobs. Assistant designers are expected to be punctual and take direction well. While they are encouraged to be unique and creative, design assistants must be willing to support the main designer's vision for each project.

Convincing hiring managers of their skills is something assistant designers must do when looking for work. Since assistant design positions are often entry-level career jobs, there is much competition. Hiring managers may have hundreds of applicants from which to select. The successful assistant designer is often one who is extremely talented and original, yet understands how to support the senior on each project.

Assistant graphic designers work on ads, brochures, and other print materials.
Assistant graphic designers work on ads, brochures, and other print materials.

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Discussion Comments


I work as a web design assistant for a small media company. We have designers who design the look of the web site and then it is my job to figure out all the code to make it look the way they want. We have other code guys that take care of some of the form and data base stuff but it is my job to code the layouts, fonts, colors etc.

It is a pretty good job. I have been there for 4 years and am really expecting to move up soon. I like the coding aspect of the work but it can get pretty tedious sometimes and if something is not working right you want to tear your hair out.


What is the average assistant designer salary? I am graduating this year with a degree in graphic design and I think the best job I can hope for is as an assistant or some kind of entry level design job. I live out on the east coast and there are a lot of jobs posted but also a lot of competition for those jobs. If I am lucky enough to get one, how much money could I expect to make in my first year?

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