Graphic design is a quickly growing field, ideal for creative individuals, that deals with conveying messages through visual concepts. Ken Abel, the Marketing Coordinator for DHM Design Corporation, a national landscape architecture and land-planning firm, explains that “graphic design means taking various forms of information that you are given and creating an appealing, visual product. It is our job to stand out above the competition and draw the attention of the target audience.” Such a field, involving the use of constantly evolving technology, becomes increasingly more important for marketing and sales departments for any company.
Without a doubt, the growth rates of graphic designers and technology, as two separate entities, are mutually dependent. As technology expands and increases, there
becomes a greater need for capable designers. As the number of graphic designers increases, there becomes a mounting need for cutting-edge technology and design software for designers to standout among competition. While these elements are interdependent, frequently, the employment of graphic designers can be negatively affected by readily available software and technology. Abel elucidates “Graphic
designers are in high demand. But everybody with a computer and [Adobe] Photoshop thinks they are a qualified designer. The supply of designers in the world is far larger
than the demand.” This allows people to produce amateur graphic design on their own instead of hiring a qualified professional.
For potential, prospective, graphic designers, it is essential
to be aware of such constant growth and competition in the profession. It is also important to know the general outlook on graphic design as a career choice. Its high-demand nature exposes possible and undecided graph designers to a field with stiff competition and possibly promising career growth. To stand out among the competition, a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field, is essential when job searching. Abel notes “a Bachelors degree is key because of the fierce competition. Most firms won’t even consider someone without their degree.” The aspiring graphic designer should certainly expect to obtain their degree and devote themselves to continuing their education. They will need to evolve with their field and be fluent with new and old design software.
Indeed, being comfortable with computer interaction will be
key in converting the illustrated message of the designer’s client into a digital version, explains America’s Career Info Net in their “Graphic Design Profile” (p. 2). In order to portray this message fully and accurately, it is key for the graphic designer to have a well-researched grasp on the client as well as the message to be given a visual “voice”. The designer may then be required to make independent design and concept decisions (p. 2). Often in hand with these solo decisions, is communication with a team to coordinate other elements of the project (p. 2).
Additional members of a graphic design team may work in a variety of functions, depending on what type of project is being performed and in what type of media. For example: Sarah Nicholson in “Graphic Design Job Description,” explains that roles may vary between teams designing websites and teams designing magazine layouts (par. 2). Other graphic design pursuits may include teams required for advertising which takes shape digitally, and through print-publication. Within print-publication, designers may be called upon to design pages of books, posters, product packaging and labels, displays and exhibitions (par. 2). The underlying goal of all these capacitates, Nicholson notes, is to “create design solutions to have high visual impact” in an effort to create or build upon a “visual brand” for clients (par. 1).
Due to this multi-faceted nature of graphic design and the exponential growth of technology, potential pursuers of graphic design should be encouraged by the outlook on growth of the field. Employment rates of such employees are predicted to increase by thirteen percent between 2010 and 2020, explains the Occupational Outlook Handbook (p. 1). As these employees are provided with steady work, they are also expected to stay up to date on new software and design technology. Marketing and sales pursuits aim to achieve the highest level and quality of production, and do so by employing well-versed designers and state-of-the-art technology. While some of such entities may utilize graphic design firms to do this, many rely on self-employed, freelance designers. In fact, such were so heavily relied on in 2010 that twenty-nine percent of graphic designers were self-employed, says the Occupation Outlook Handbook on “Pay” of graphic designers (p. 1).
While self-employment may seem appealing to the hopeful graphic designer, one should weigh the pros and cons of operating on a freelance basis. Abel explains “freelance work pays very well, you are your own boss, and you are free to express your artistic skills however you like. The down side is that it is a roller coaster ride finding jobs.” When working for a design firm or company with a graphics department, the search for “work” is not the responsibility of the designer; rather the firm or company seeks out the work, or are sought out by potential clients. This is not the case with freelancers; they are required to seek out their own projects.
Whether freelance and seeking out their own work, or working under a firm, all graphic designers should be entirely aware of the aforementioned growth and competition as well as the roots of graphic design. The problem with learning the history of the field lies in its arbitrary and inconspicuous past. Due to the rapid progress of graphic design, the outlook and semantic definition of graphic design history is unclear. Teal Triggs, in the Design Issues Article: “Graphic Design History: Past, Present and Future,” explains “Graphic design, it seems, is still searching for its past. Other disciplines… have an established tradition of archiving, documenting, and publishing history, as well as engaging with social, cultural and political context” (Triggs, p. 3). Graphic design, being a relatively new industry with a relatively new concept of self-identity and awareness, does not have these traditions. “Graphic design is less established as a discipline” Triggs adds (3). Some suggest that graphic design has origins in typography, illustration, print, and photography. Robert Harland in “Dimensions of Graphic Design” suggests a more involved model. He explains that in this model, we “recognize the idea, in the platonic sense, as central to an integrated ‘thinking and doing’ process” (Harland, p. 1). As the model suggests, many elements and sub-elements represent graphic design, its history and conceptual nature. What, however, can a graphic design major or career seeker, assume makes up the daily process and personal feasibility of a design career?
With extensive and unique experience and a degree, graphic design has a promising future. Within the competitive field,
service and expertise with a median annual wage of $43,500 the right candidate faces a demand for their high quality
says the Occupational Handbook (p. 1).
Technical Skills Required
The Occupation Profile for Graphic Design on America’s
Career Infonet (p. 2), explains clients and firms seeking a
candidate will expect skills and experience in the following
Operation of computers, cameras and printersareas:
- Database software
- Publishing software
- Web-page creation
- Platform development software
Abel adds “Knowledge of many design programs is
things that help a graphic designer are: great typing skills, an understanding of the printing process, and an understanding of web design.” Other skills that are important for the role may be a bit more general.required, and they are alwaysUse of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop changing. Visual thinking is definitely a requirement as well. Other
The field is of graphic design is growing and is in high-demand. This causes stiff, global competition among the plentiful designers world-wide. Some thrive in a competitive market while others find it is a disadvantage that affects the success in finding a desirable position. Creative designers, with undergraduate degrees in graphic design, mostly find work as freelance designers and in graphics departments at various types of firms and companies. Although a Bachelors degree is not required to become a graphic designer, it is almost impossible to find any type of design position without the education. Graphic designers communicate with clients to create a visual message to promote their product or service. They work with different types of media and technology to produce aesthetically pleasing and persuasive messages. Artistic persons who stay on top changing technology, with applicable skills and unique abilities, will find creative satisfaction while pursuing graphic design.