Graphic designers in Israel wear many different hats, producing materials in multiple design formats and using a variety of software packages. Publishing houses employ designers to do book layouts and liaison with illustrators, while non-profit organizations, educational institutions, financial companies, and many others rely on in-house or outsourced designers for everything ranging from posters to trade show booths to corporate invitations.
The vast majority of positions are in the hi-tech industry, where designers produce a wide variety of materials including web content, online materials, and multimedia. Hi-tech companies usually have an in-house design department and print team and expect designers to deal with marketing professionals, developers (R&D), product managers, and freelance designers (who are hired for outsourced work).
There are other sectors where graphic designers’ skills are needed, such as non-profit & government organizations, educational institutions, publishing houses & many other companies that rely on in-house or outsourced designers for everything ranging from web design to corporate invitations.
Some Israeli designers work in private studios. In contrast to the broad nature of most other design positions, studio work in Israel usually requires a specialization such as expertise in trade show booth design.
The more programs you know, the more marketable you are. Currently, Israeli employers are interested in designers with experience using software packages including Adobe Creative Suite, Corel Draw, and PowerPoint. Note that in addition to these industry standards, many Israeli designers are still using FreeHand.
Your First Job
Whether you are looking for a salaried position or working freelance, you can best promote yourself in Israel by developing an online portfolio of samples, or better yet, by creating a website that displays your work. It is also a good idea to design and print your own Israeli business cards.
In order to establish your reputation, consider volunteering and designing materials for your community, so that you can be publicly credited for your work. While this goes against the grain for most Western professionals, it is one of the best ways to establish your reputation in Israel. Many positions and projects are publicized primarily by word of mouth (especially opportunities in printed design), and therefore, your new neighbors and friends need to have the opportunity to see and admire your professional capabilities.
One of the advantages of graphic design is the wide range of available employment arrangements. Some graphic designers work on-site in salaried positions. Others work as freelancers from home.
If you seek employment in digital design, most of your work will probably be in English. Hi-tech companies generally design materials almost exclusively in English, and many companies do not even use Hebrew-enabled software. However, though your work may be exclusively in English, conversational Hebrew skills are still essential in enabling you to succeed in the Israeli workplace.
If you are seeking employment in print design, you will likely be designing materials both in Hebrew and English. Check that the software programs that you use are Hebrew-enabled. Note that the Adobe Creative Suite is available in a Hebrew-enabled edition. It is also important to learn the technical terms that will facilitate your interactions with printing and publishing houses.
Resources & Training
Positions in graphic design are frequently advertised online, in local community email lists, and on job boards. Even if you’ve already established yourself as a graphic designer, it is important to take a Hebrew-language course in programming or relevant software, as this is the fastest way to learn the Hebrew equivalents of technical terminology. In addition, taking courses gives you a chance to network with your professional colleagues, who might be interested in collaborating with you on various projects.
If you’re new to the field and interested in an introductory graphic design program, there are many options available. Local courses vary in length, from a few months to a few years. Courses include:
A special thanks to Yehudit Cohen and Zahava Bogner for their professional contributions to this article.