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 layout 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.

Computer Skills

In today’s digital world, web-based skills are critical. If you are in the planning stages of Aliyah, make sure to take at least one or two courses in programming before you come to Israel, and gain proficiency in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and DreamWeaver.

To maximize your marketability in Israel, focus on learning as much as possible about the software tools that are currently available to you, so that you can adapt yourself as necessary and meet the needs of employers and clients.

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.

Positions that involve creating online materials usually require some knowledge of Java Script.

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 web site 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, it is important for your new neighbors and friends to have the opportunity to see and admire your professional capabilities.

Once you land your first job or project in Israel, take the time to develop relationships with local printers and suppliers, who will assist you in printing up the materials that you design.

Freelance

One of the advantages of graphic design is the wide range of employment arrangements that are available. Some graphic designers work on-site in salaried positions. Others work as freelancers from home, an arrangement that is particularly suited to individuals who live far from employment centers or parents who are interested in part-time, flexible work.

Hebrew

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 work place.

If you are seeking employment in print design, it is likely that you will 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

Positions in graphic design are frequently advertised on local community email lists and job lists. In addition, job opportunities for graphic artists are frequently listed at the following Hebrew-language sites:

General resources for graphic designers are available at www.creativepro.com.

Training

Even if you’ve already established yourself as a graphic designer, it is important to develop your knowledge further by pursuing opportunities for further training. Take a Hebrew-language course in programming or a 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.

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