Graphic design is a field that is highly pursued by creative individuals. Yet, many are stuck when it comes to its job outlook.
Is graphic design in demand or is it just time to kill your dreams with the hope of financial stability?
Graphic designers in the print industry are facing a sharp decline in demand due to the shift to digital. However, as more businesses have started to focus on their digital presence digital designers are in demand more than ever.
In this article, we are going to look at the job outlook for graphic designers and which positions are facing a rise/fall in demand.
Who are Graphic Designers?
Before moving forward, we need to clearly define who graphic designers are and what they do.
Graphic designers create visual concepts, digitally or by hand, to communicate messages and ideas to consumers. These visual concepts can include typography, colors, layout and images.
Duties and Expectations of a Graphic Designer
Graphic designers typically have the following duties and expectations:
- Working with clients to discuss the scope of the project.
- Meeting the client’s brief by researching, designing and developing graphic art concepts
- Meeting deadlines and remaining within the budget
- Adequate knowledge of graphic design software such as, Photoshop, Illustrator, After effects, Sketch, Figma etc.
- Ability to keep up with the latest design trends
- Knowledge of the fundamentals of graphic design including, typography, color theory, branding psychology, composition etc.
- Capable of adapting to newer technologies
These are just the typical expectations from a graphic designer. The job description would vary according to the field you choose.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of graphic designers is projected to grow by 3% from 2020 to 2030. This is slower than average.
At first, this might seem like bad news for aspiring graphic designers but there’s more to it.
Graphic designers specializing in digital design are projected to see a growth rate of 13% (faster than average). The number of jobs reported for web developers and digital designers in 2020 was estimated around 199,400. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Businesses are competing on digital spaces, which opens up opportunities in the advertising and marketing field. Businesses need graphic designers for branding and marketing to stand out from the sea of competitors.
The graphic design jobs with the most promising future are the ones related to web and product design.
Graphic designer salaries
According to The Creative Group 2020 Salary Guide, the average starting salary for graphic designers is $56,750, with the higher end reaching $89,000.
However, this salary is just an estimate and can widely vary based on your specialization, experience and location.
Simplyhired had provided us with this data that gives us an insight of what each position could offer:
- Senior Visual Designer – $109,450
- Senior Designer – $80,922
- Designer – $73,313
- Visual Designer – $68,733
- Senior Graphic Designer – $56,326
- Freelance Designer – $55,939
- Production Designer – $38,386
- Junior Graphic designer – $35,449
- Graphic Designer – $29,456
- Graphic Design Intern – $28,171
You can clearly see as experience grows so does the salary.
Graphic design job comparisons
Each graphic design job satisfies a different audience and set of needs.
According to a survey of 17,000 graphic designers conducted by dribbble in 2019 here are the most in-demand jobs:
- Product designer
- Graphic designer
- UX designer
- Motion designer
These jobs also tend to pay the most, unsurprisingly.
1. Product Designer
The most sought after design role by agencies is a product designer. Brands all over the world have started to realize the importance of good product design and its relation with customer satisfaction. As the competition increases more companies are investing in high-quality product design to stand out.
2. Graphic Designer
Graphic design is still a strong field and is highly demanded as businesses need more visual communication than ever. Social media, advertising and marketing graphic designers are needed to make brands stand out in every aspect.
3. UX Designer
There was a time when the term user experience was coined as a buzzword and now it’s taking over the design field. Many designers and marketing experts have predicted that UX is going to dominate the design industry in the future. This is because as more consumer consumption grows a need to provide these users a satisfactory user experience also grows. Without a comfortable user experience, businesses risk losing customers and sales to competitors.
Illustration was often used in print to make things a bit more interesting now, it’s everywhere. Many tech giants and companies have started to embrace this trend to make things more natural. Illustrations help deliver messages in a variety of creative ways and adhere to the brand’s image. Businesses have started to realize the impact custom illustrations have on customers and are slowly influencing others to jump on this trend.
5. Motion Designer
Many people have started to show an increased interest towards animations this includes consumers, businesses and designers. According to dribbble, animation was the top skill designers wanted to learn to excel in their career. The great thing about learning motion design is that it can be applied to any position. Logo designers can create animated logo reveals, UI artists can make animated buttons and images, and illustrators can bring their illustrations to life.
The graphic design industry held about 254,100 jobs in 2020. The largest employers according to the Bureau of Labor statistics are the following:
- Self-employed – 19%
- Specialized design services – 9%
- Advertising, public relations, and related services – 8%
- Printing and related support activities – 7%
- Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers – 4%
Most graphic designers are self-employed or work in-house with design agencies. They have access to computers, software and drafting tables.
Although many graphic designers are self-employed, those working with a design team are expected to collaborate with colleagues and clients effectively.
You should have no doubt in your mind that graphic design is a career that is in high demand. Although there is a sharp decline in print design digital design is growing faster than ever.
Businesses are increasing their online presence and they need graphic designers for effective visual communication.
Graphic designers are also responsible for branding identity and making brands stand out.
Ibrahim Ahmed is the founder and CEO of Mediacaterer – an Art & Design blog covering the latest news, tips, guides, and product reviews for beginners, intermediates, and professionals. He’s a self-taught graphic designer and writer hoping to help aspiring artists and designers make it big in the industry