Graphic design as a dying career? If a recent survey from industry giant Adobe is to be believed, then the answer may be yes.
A few weeks ago I shared my opinion that graphic design is entering into a “dying era.” The article was meant to be a call to action. It was meant to remind people that the tools we use today could cause the death of graphic design altogether if we’re not careful. To follow up on the article, I wanted to create an actual list of dangerous tools and how to avoid them / what we can do about them.
There is much talk of the death of graphic design, and while it’s not completely accurate and not particularly useful to frame the debate as such, there’s no denying that more and more people are doing it for themselves. And why not? Even a non-designer can do a good job if given the correct tools supplied by their web browser. That said, I wrote this post because what does it really mean for a profession to die?
Graphic design as a career is dying for a few reasons.
First, the cost of entry is becoming cheaper and cheaper. With the advent of smartphone technology, the number of people who are capable of doing basic graphic design is increasing at an exponential rate. In 2015, there were over 400 million mobile app downloads that were related to graphic designing.
Second, graphic designers are hired less and less frequently by large companies. Instead, these companies are hiring marketing professionals who can do some basic graphic design work with programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. However, this does not mean that graphic designers need to worry about being replaced altogether. As previously mentioned, the quality of these designs will never be as high as those produced by professionals.
Third, it’s easy for an employer to ask questions for graphic design interviews and find someone capable of doing basic graphic design work for free or at a low price. This is because many students are willing to take on these projects in order to gain experience and build their portfolios, allowing them to eventually get jobs in their chosen field.
Graphic design is not given the respect it deserves.
Graphic design is art. It is more than just making pretty pictures. It is a form of communication that allows society to function on a daily basis.
Graphic designers are responsible for everything from public signs to corporate logos. They are responsible for websites to product packaging, from business cards to billboards. Graphic design can be used for good or for bad; it’s up to the individual designer to make sure he or she does not produce work that is unethical or harmful in any way.
Just look at what our society values. We value things that are concrete, that can be quantified, and that have a practical purpose. Graphic design is none of those things. It is fluffy and abstract, with no concrete application whatsoever that can’t quantify their work. They can’t put numbers to it or measure its impact or prove its significance in any way.
Really, we should be ashamed of ourselves as a society. Look at what graphic designers do for us! They give us vibrant colors and pleasing shapes to look at while we’re waiting in line at the bank or airport or grocery store.
They make our daily lives more interesting, more dynamic, and more beautiful by putting just the right font on our cereal boxes or creating the most alluring visual composition on our favorite websites. And yet we rarely stop to think about it—or to thank them for it!
So let’s start giving graphic designers the respect they deserve. Let’s start thinking about how much color and shape and form truly improve our lives every single day—and sending a little love and thanks for their way of doing such an important job.
Employers aren’t willing to pay new graduates a fair wage.
Employers, we know you’re all about the bottom line, but paying a fair wage to new graduates is good for everyone.
Paying a fair wage means that you’ll be able to hang on to your new talent.
You’ll have an easier time finding skilled workers if they think they’ll actually be paid what they’re worth.
The current climate for new graduates is a challenging one, and it’s not going to get better any time soon. That number has since dropped to 3.6%, which, while an improvement, is still far above pre-2005 levels.
While the business world has changed dramatically over the last decade, some things have remained constant: employers need talented employees and colleges continue to produce them. But what hasn’t remained constant is student debt; according to Student Loan Hero, students who graduated in 2016 owed an average of $37,172 in student loans. This is particularly troubling when you consider that young professionals with bachelor’s degrees earn an average of $48,500 per year—$5,000 less than what they earned in 2000—when adjusted for inflation.
Unemployment rates are low, education costs are high, and wages aren’t adequate to compensate for increased expenses.
The graphic design industry is experiencing a job shortage, with more than 60% of designers working at branding agencies. This means that many graphic designers are unable to find work at all.
This is because the majority of companies don’t realize how important a designer is to the success of their business.
The good news? This situation isn’t permanent!
In fact, the cost of attending a four-year college has increased by 50% over the last decade alone. Meanwhile, the median income for graphic designers has risen by only 15%. That means that students entering this field have less money available than ever before.
And yet, with more graduates competing for jobs, employers have become increasingly picky about who they hire. But how can someone afford to go back to school if they can’t even cover their rent?