Is graphic design dead?

In Graphic Design

Hey, Christine Maggi here aka design gal. So, in this post I'm gonna give you my personal opinion on this
Christine Maggi
Senior Product Designer aka Design Gal

Also I will give my recommendations for those of you who want to be graphic designers in this so-called "dead industry".

With the explosion of UX-UI product design it's easy to see, why some people are saying graphic design is dead, or they're wondering, am I gonna have a job? Is graphic design still a thing? Am I in the wrong field? And... I get those fears.

I would be asking myself the same question. However, I'm here to tell you that no! Graphic design is not dead.

My story

A little bit of my background. I am currently a product designer, but before this I spent several years as a graphic and web designer. I went to school for graphic design. It was really my passion for a really long time, and I don't regret that at all.

I actually don't think there's ever going to be a time where we won't need graphic design in some form. As humans a lot of the way we perceive and understand the world and even communicate is through pictures, through images.

Why graphic design will live forever

Before we had written language, we were making cave paintings - these are very ingrained things in our mind. Babies, before they can talk, they still dream in pictures! We still have this sort of innate visual communication that we all understand.

All that just doesn't go away. We will always have that need for a visual way to communicate.

As someone that worked as a graphic designer, I understand the value and the impact graphic design can have on culture, on businesses, on building a brand using graphic design as a way to communicate, send a message or to represent a company.

All that stuff doesn't just disappear, because now UX design is hot! It's just not true.

I think there's always going to be a need for corporate identity, so as logo and package design. We still live in a physical world with physical products. Those products need packages - that'll always be a thing!

Advertising materials... the list goes on! The need for these things has not stopped, and I don't think it will. What I think this question is getting at though, is that it's a field that's going to have a job for me if I pursue it.

Graphic designer career in 2021

Working and making a career as a graphic designer - is that possible these days? Is it a good idea? Should I be looking into something else?

I get it, and I will say that graphic design is not as in-demand as UX or product design, UI design. These types of digital product roll! It's just not that's a fact because of economics and what society values right now. Digital product design is hot, and they are paying more.

There are more jobs in that field, but that doesn't mean that there are no graphic design jobs, or that you can't make graphic design your career if that's something that you really want to do.

I was curious and looked on indeed at a few different big cities, and I searched for graphic designer jobs, UX design jobs, product design jobs. I started to see the pattern!

Definitely, the most jobs around product design, UX design, and definitely fewer jobs in graphic design and they're not going to pay as well. But they are there! They are needed, and you can have one of those jobs.

Someone needs to fill them. You can make graphic design a career.

If you're sitting there and you're thinking "okay, I'm a graphic designer, I want to do graphic design, but I want to adapt and evolve, and make myself more marketable, more competitive".

Here are some things I would do first of all.

Learn fundamentals

I would not focus solely on print design, and I know - in colleges especially - they tend to teach mostly print design. If you love that, and that's what you want to do - definitely learn! It's super important and gives a lot of transferable skills.

Learn digital design

But I would also learn as much you can about digital design. So, whether that's for web, for social media, graphics for UI design, just even the principles of using graphic design in a digital space will help you a lot.

For example, if you really love making social media graphics (like online ads), you can also learn social media marketing skills. Those two coupled together can make you a really strong candidate for a certain role.

Branding and other roles

I would also look into visual design roles. A lot of the work is very similar to what you would do as a graphic designer. Things like the branding, the design system, the typography, like everything that goes behind the visual look and feel of a certain product or business, is handled by a visual designer.

You don't need to know UX to be a visual designer, you don't technically even need to know how to design for UI (although it would help). Visual design is really in charge of usualy things like marketing, graphics or some light web design, and these jobs tend to pay really well, and they are in demand as well.

I would look into that.

Be marketable!

Graphic design is not dead. But if you want to bolster your resume and make yourself more marketable, or have more access to more job postings, look into these other things. Build up your skillset, and you might find yourself as a very competitive graphic designer.

I wish all of you at graphic design the best of luck! Graphic design is really fun, it's a really creative job, it's probably one of the most creative jobs out there. It's great to see something that you worked on on a big billboard, or in a big advertisement somewhere. It's just a really cool job to be able to do graphic design!

Sometimes I miss it. I'll admit I like graphic design a lot, so if that's you, and you want to be a graphic designer, I hope this post helps you. I hope it gives you some encouragement.

Bottom line

Follow your interests. Follow what you're good at, and that's really the most important thing. Go forth, graphic designers, go for it!