Graphic design has long been a sought after commodity. Business owners and private consumers need graphic design to communicate their ideas, ideals, and messages to the world. Especially now, with all the world and it’s businesses online.
Graphic designers can work in-house, for agencies, or as freelancers. They are able to work from just about anywhere, and many do just that. But is the graphic design market big enough to make this creative position a reliable way to make a living? Is the work constant enough? Do employers and clients pay enough? Or is it a position that will inevitably cause a long line of months of feast or famine.
Do graphic designers really make the kind of money to carve out a living simply by creating visuals for businesses? And if they do, what kind of skills do you need to make a living doing graphic design?
Can You Make A Living As A Graphic Designer?
Is There Enough Money In Graphic Design?
If you’ve got the talent, some skills, and a drive to make it as a graphic designer, it seems like an attractive career. There’s little doubt that you must be able to make at least some money doing graphic design. Businesses of any size need an online presence, and graphic design is a part of this. So clearly there’s money to be made, but can you make enough?
There’s more than one thing to factor in when you’re trying to figure out if graphic design is for you or not. Your earning potential will depend on several things too. It will depend on where you’ll work geographically, as well as who you work for. It will also depend on your education, specializations you may have, and your experience.
Average Graphic Design Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), though, the money is there if you can find the right job for you. Their data shows that an average graphic designer salary was $50,370.1 in 2018. When comparing that to the average of all occupations, $38,640, it’s clear that graphic design will put bread on the table if you do it right. Animators, application developers, and art directors often get paid more, so if you’re looking to make more money, looking into these specialities might be worth your time.
What Employers Look For In A Graphic Designer
Is graphic designer a job that fits your lifestyle and personality? Do you have the skills needed? Employers look for certain skills when they hire graphic designers, but even if you work for yourself as a freelancer, you’ll probably need to develop similar skills.
You already know that you’ll be expected to find creative solutions to your employer’s challenges, to think outside the box and come up with new ideas. But there is always more to a job than the initial part that attracted you, so let’s take a look at what employers look for when they hire a graphic designer.
A Willingness To Research
Graphic design is ever changing. Trends come and go, new techniques are invented and discovered, and suddenly expected. You will have to be willing to learn new strategies for reaching audiences, as well as keep brushing up on old skills and attaining new ones. Employers will look for someone who is willing to put time and energy into research. No employer is going to hire a graphic designer who is so set in their ways that they’re unwilling to learn other ways to do it. Keep your favorite techniques, but be willing to learn new ways of doing them too.
An Ability To Think Analytically
Maybe you thought you’d bypass analytical thinking by working in the creative arts. Not so. In fact, one might argue that working in a creative position, you might actually need this skill more. Graphic design isn’t, after all, just making things look good. You are always sending a message, and to send that message effectively, you need to analyze how your audience will understand it, what they’ll read into it, and what they won’t.
An Ability To Manage Your Time
Working as a graphic designer probably means working on more than one project at a time, as well as adhering to deadlines. You’ll need to be able to manage your time well in order to get the work done, on time. If time management really isn’t your thing, you’ll either need to look for a different career, or be willing to learn to keep time and distractions in line.
An Ability to Communicate Well
You’ll be expected to communicate with your audience, through your art, but you’ll also need to communicate well with your clients or other team members. You need to be able to ask the right questions of clients so that you are certain of what they want from you. This isn’t always easy. Often your clients will have little to no creative vision, and they’ll expect you to fill in the blanks. Being able to find out just what a client needs, when they might not even know it themselves, can be a challenge.
Where You’ll Work
Graphic design is needed just about anywhere. If you’re looking at graphic design as a career, you’ll likely work as a freelancer, with an agency, or in-house. A freelance graphic designer is self-employed and works with several clients. Agencies employ graphic designers to work for their respective clients, and as a in-house graphic designer you’ll work as part of your company’s own creative team. There are pros and cons to all three, and obviously some of it will depend on other factors, such as your personality or where you want to live.
Graphic design has its pros and cons like any other profession. If you are willing to take the good with the bad, you will find it an engaging job with many opportunities to improve your skills and let your creativity soar. At the end of the day, it’s a job like any other. But while your inspiration will probably lag at times, you can now rest assured that if you do what you need to do, graphic design will pay the bills.