Industry 08 . 07 . 20

Is Graphic Design a Good Career?

By Chelsie Owen-Burke | Junior Designer

Is Graphic Design a Good Career?

Is graphic design a good career? Are logos graphic design? Do I need to know how to draw for graphic design?

These are just some of the internet’s most asked questions on one of our favourite (go figure) topics to talk about… graphic design.

Well, after joining designdough as a Junior Designer exactly one year ago fresh out of university, I’m here to give you my take on things.

Hope it’s helpful!

Is graphic design a good career?

growing up (and it definitely changed every week), but I always knew I wanted to do something creative. I didn’t know graphic design could be a career while I was in high school and it wasn’t until I wanted to go to university that I knew it was an option. Graphic design allows you to be creative, problem solve and help others develop their brands. It allows you to take a concept and turn it into a reality, which is very rewarding.

Is graphic design hard?

I would definitely say it has its challenges but what job doesn’t? Creative block is a real thing and some days you feel like you cannot get through that brick wall of creativity – but it’s a good challenge. That’s what the job is about; seeing a problem and figuring out the best way to get to the solution, even if it can be hard sometimes. Once you’ve hammered through that wall it is so satisfying.

Is graphic design dead?

Absolutely not! Graphic design is on every corner, every sign post and every application or website that you open. It’s everywhere, and I don’t think graphic design will ever be dead. It is constantly evolving with new trends and new problems to be solved. Graphic design allows a brand to truly progress and develop.

When you have a good brand identity, it can skyrocket your business and help you engage with so many people. But graphic design isn’t just about business and progression, it’s an art form and it allows people to express themselves as well.

Is graphic design competitive?

I would say that graphic design is somewhat competitive. Everyone is constantly trying to come up with new and innovative designs and ideas.

But also I see graphic design as a community. Within the industry it is often best to work with others to bounce ideas off each other and come up with the best solutions. In university, they would always say that two brains are better than one, and it’s totally true in the working world.

Our team works so well because we are constantly bouncing ideas off each other and someone else may see something that you haven’t seen yet. So despite it being a competitive industry, it is also an industry full of collaboration and conversation.

For those trying to get into the creative industry, this is often very competitive. I was fortunate enough to get a junior graphic design job at designdough, but often it can be hard to get your foot in the door. You have to stand out from the crowd and work hard to do this.

Whilst in university I gained tons of industry experience and did a full summer in London to gain work experience. This allowed me to understand the fast paced environment and gain knowledge of how the industry works.

I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking at going into the creative field. Gain as much experience as you can – it allows you to understand where you want to be and how to get there.

Is a graphic design degree worth it?

A lot of people can teach themselves graphic design and there are so many self-taught people out there which is amazing. Personally, I’m a very visual learner and prefer to be physically shown what to do.

My degree gave me so many resources and helped me to really understand graphic design. It helped me to realise that this is the industry I really wanted to be involved in, as before I had no idea what I wanted to do. It allowed me to explore so many different aspects of design, including typography treatment, motion graphics and brand campaigning. There were some areas I really couldn’t get my head around – namely coding, but at least I can leave that to the Web developers!

I would definitely say look into doing a degree, but don’t feel pressure to follow that route. Like I said, there are so many amazing self-taught artists and designers.

Are graphic designers in demand?

I think there will always be a demand for graphic designers, whether this be agency, freelance or in-house. It can be difficult when businesses don’t always realise or understand the importance of investing in graphic design, and see it as a key part of their brand and marketing strategies. But so many others do. It’s such a key part of running a business.

Are logos graphic design?

Yes, but that’s not all there is to it when it comes to brand. A logo is created to help cement your brand and give your business a familiar mark/symbol. It’s often the first thing your audience sees and engages with, so is definitely an important element.

But graphic design is so much more than just a logo – there’s a whole brand identity which needs to be considered. We say a brand is a personality and a story, and graphic design extends far further than the initial logo creation. Saying that, a great logo definitely kicks off your brand!

Are graphic designers artists?

100%. Graphic design is a creative industry and we are all artists in our own right. Many people would say that graphic design isn’t an art form as it may not be as expressive as other, more traditional forms. However, all of our inspiration comes from art and artists. Every day I am inspired by other artists to help me to come up with a solution for clients.

Are graphic designers happy?

I would like to think so. I am certainly happy within my job and graphic design as a field. Don’t get me wrong, the creative block is a killer and really frustrates me at times but getting paid to be creative isn’t bad!

No day is the same in the creative industry, in fact no hour is the same! One day I could be designing a children’s magazine and the next, I’m designing a brand identity for a business. The creative industry is always changing and evolving so you are constantly facing new challenges to solve and finding new ways to showcase them.

Are graphic designers self employed?

I’m not, but many are!

Do you need a degree for graphic design?

No, not at all. Don’t get me wrong, doing a graphic design degree helped me learn and understand so much about the industry and gave me the fundamental skills needed to land a job at designdough. But I came from a fine art background and before university, I didn’t know what graphic design was.

For me, a degree helped me learn and grow so much within design and allowed me to explore so many different aspects within it. However, there are so many people who use courses and online tutorials to help them build on their skills within design. It’s an industry that is always moving and growing, so still now despite working within an agency, we often spend time learning new skills and watching tutorials to become experts in our field.

Do I need to know how to draw for graphic design?

Again, not at all. To be a graphic designer you need a visual eye and a love for all things creative. There are so many fields within graphic design and illustration is just one of them. You can create motion graphics, or specialise in UX/UI without needing to be able to draw.

I personally have always loved drawing so I love to incorporate illustrations within my work. However I often see it as more of a hobby and mostly draw outside of work.

Do’s and don’ts in graphic design

  • Don’t overdo your font choice. Simplicity is key and often too many fonts can leave your design looking confusing and overcrowded. The best option is to use two typefaces, two allows you to differentiate from your headings/logos and your body copy, and having two typefaces within your brand keeps it consistent. More than this can confuse your brand identity and make it look cluttered.
  • It seems obvious but always check your spelling and proof read any work that you send out to clients. Check once, then double check, and then check again. I am a print designer so I am constantly having to do this. Always go in again and do another check because no doubt there is always an error you’ve missed. I always recommend walking away from your screen and coming back with a fresh pair of eyes to do your final check before going live or sending something to print. Sometimes staring at a screen for hours can make you miss things – I’ve definitely learnt this!
  • Stay within the lines! As a child, I remember colouring for hours and my gran telling me to always stay within the lines and I tell you, it’s the best advice! When it comes to layout of magazines, print and websites, grids and guides are your best friends. Within print it is so important to keep within your margins and make sure you have your bleed lines and safety margins set up. This ensures that your artwork and designs don’t get cut off during print or bleed off the page. Grids and guides help to make your work look aesthetically beautiful and keep some order to your work.
  • Imagery and photography is often key in any brand identity. Imagery and photography help portray your brand in the best way possible and often touching up imagery in photoshop to match a brand’s colours can help it stand out amongst others, and keeps everything consistent and memorable. Good photography is just so pleasing.

Do graphic designers make websites?

Yes! Well, they design them, and despite specialising in print I will often design web landing pages for businesses. Many graphic designers will specialise in web design; their job is to not only make a brand come to life online, but ensure it’s functional and accessible too. User journey is everything! Our designers work really closely with our content strategists and web developers to ensure our designs are manageable, functional, targeting the right people, and saying the right thing.

However, I personally don’t MAKE websites. We have web developers within our team who do this wizardry! Although I do know a lot of graphic designers that will learn code and create websites as part of their services.

Do graphic designers work from home?

Due to Covid-19 I think the majority of people are working from home right now.

Normally, I work from a studio with the designdough team where we also play table tennis and steal each other’s sweets. Despite this, a lot of freelance graphic designers and agencies choose to work from the comfort of their own home.

I personally don’t love working from home (even though I get to wear my slippers and enjoy my snack cupboard); I like to commute into work and be surrounded by other creatives. We have a great team culture which is fuelled by laughter and creativity. I get far more inspired by those I work with rather than my four walls at home, but I know a lot of creatives that prefer to be creative in their own space.

Click here to check out some of our graphic design projects.

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