It’s 2015, and the landscape of graphic design has changed dramatically from how it was even a decade ago. This is not only a matter of new technology, but also a matter of a shift in the direction of advertising and marketing itself. There’s now an emphasis on customer engagement and storytelling in a way that we have not previously seen. There is a greater demand for graphic designers then ever before, but there are also things that have come along that may have devalued the industry, while in some ways expanding opportunity.
Graphic designers today are not only competing locally, they are competing globally, a very daunting prospect for some. Globalization, outsourcing, and crowd sourcing have marginalized many graphic designers and made them fearful of how viable their place in the industry really is.
The market has also become saturated due to the accessibility of graphic design software as well as more affordable computers. There was a point where the exclusivity and lack of access created a sense of job security for graphic designers. But now with solutions like Creative Cloud and even Open Source software that is competitive, more designers can enter the field without cost being a barrier.
Formal design education is also not as highly valued as it once was with the increase in demand driving a results-based evaluation of designers without regard for their educational background. An industry once populated by elites has now found its way to “common ground”.
With this in mind, in order to remain competitive graphic designers have to be able to offer a range of skills and services. Specialists are no longer prized, and the era of large art departments is long gone. Teams and budgets are getting smaller, demanding more versatility and adaptability. While one doesn’t have to be a jack-of-all-trades, one has to be able to offer range or an employer will find someone who can.
The good news is that the industry has more opportunity for a greater number of people than ever before. With the surge in entrepreneurship and the understanding that remote workers can be a boon for their employers rather than a liability, the field has opened dramatically. Social media has also changed the way the graphic designers can gain recognition and reach out to prospective clients or employers.
Freelance graphic designers are also seeing their value recognized in a way it hasn’t been up until now. While agencies and design boutiques are finding their margins shrinking in some areas, business savvy freelancers are finding an increase in demand for their services both from individual clients and from companies that don’t want an on staff designer but still take their branding seriously.
If you’re a graphic designer reading this we’d like to know your thoughts on what the year 2015 holds for the graphic design industry. What do you see happening in the world of graphic design going forward and what has changed for you personally as a designer ? Let us know in the comments section below!
Roberto Blake is a Graphic Designer who runs his own one man Design Studio, focusing on Brand Development and Advertising. Roberto has experience in design for print, web and multimedia and has worked on out of home campaigns including billboards featured in Times Square. He is a monthly contributor to Print Media Centr’s News From The Printerverse, and a frequent participant in #PrintChat on Twitter. He is also a contributor for publications such as Print Magazine and How Design and has had work featured in Advanced Photoshop Magazine. Roberto is extremely active in social media, producing multiple YouTube videos each week to assist designers and other creative professionals through advice and tutorials.