You see the work of multimedia designers every day -- in the design and
development of websites, DVDs, CD-ROMs and games for the Internet. Multimedia
designers also work in print design and publishing.
As their job title suggests, multimedia designers work in a variety of
different areas of media. Their duties vary, and a designer may do everything
from brainstorming ideas to developing graphics to writing computer code.
A good multimedia designer needs to have strong artistic ability as well as
top-notch computer skills.
Multimedia products combine different elements, including graphics, sound,
text, animation, still images and digital video. A multimedia designer usually
specializes in one or two of these areas.
"Multimedia design and development is a career that comes with a lot of
options and paths to explore and excel in," says Jess Petrella. She's a multimedia
"I think you need to be able to do some graphic design... some web design...
some web development, and then if you can do some video work or 3-D work,
it's a bonus," says Matthew Cramer. He's a multimedia developer in Nashville,
Multimedia designers are also called multimedia developers or multimedia
specialists, among other titles.
"I struggled with how to define myself, and I still do, to some degree,"
says Allen Ellis. He's a multimedia specialist who specializes in motion graphics
and video at an event productions company in Orlando, Florida.
"'Multimedia specialist,' in some ways, is kind of a vague description,"
says Ellis. "And I chose it because... I get excited and interested about
lots of different things that are multimedia, from audio to print to video."
A multimedia project can involve a lot of people working together. This
makes people skills essential.
"For me, it's been hugely important being on a team, because I didn't have
that when I was freelancing," says Ellis. "When I was freelancing I had to
substitute it by contacting a lot of friends and intentionally sending my
work out to a lot of people before I released it [for feedback]. In an office
environment I have the benefit of being required to pool the whole office
over my computer and to get feedback regularly. And that has been immensely
While some multimedia specialists work for major companies on a permanent
basis, most work on a contract basis. They take on contracts, or projects.
Many designers have their own companies and work with a team of multimedia
"I really enjoy multimedia because it's so accessible," says Ellis. "A
lot of the tools that we use in this industry aren't terribly expensive, so
it was just easy for me to pick it up and to start practicing and to start
Web page design is a big part of many multimedia designers' work these
days. You'll need to be Internet-savvy if you plan on entering this career!
You'll also need to keep upgrading those skills. Bob Gerard is a multimedia
designer. He stays on top of new trends in technology. "I would suggest keeping
an open mind to lifelong learning and learning any accompanying coding that
goes hand-in-hand with any of the software packages...," he says. "Coding
will definitely open more doors."
Most of the work is done at a desk. There aren't many physical demands,
other than the physical stress that can come with spending most of the day
sitting in a chair.
Most multimedia designers work a 40-hour week. This may vary as project
deadlines approach. Self-employed designers tend to work longer hours because
of the time it takes to handle the business side of things (marketing, sales