The demand for graphic designers continues to grow, but your job security can still be threatened by the following trends. Below I’ve listed three things graphic designers should fear in 2012.
The very technology that makes life easier for graphic designers threatens to put you out of business. For example, Adobe Muse is promoted as a way for graphic designers to develop websites without needing to know a lick of code, but where will this lead to? A platform that allows the average user to design a website without needing a lick of design skills? Think about it this way: remember back in the mid-90’s when there was a computer repair expert on every street corner? Now, almost everyone can diagnose or repair their PC without an expert’s help – diagnostic applications, information sharing, and cheap replacement products have drive many computer repair companies out of business. What happens when everyone can design their own website – and look professional – without your help? It’s already happened with print design. PsPrint, for example, has an online application that allows anyone to design their own professional postcards, greeting cards, invitations and other materials.
To compete, you’ll need to make sure you specialize and grow your portfolio so you can take on clients who need custom work or to solve complex problems with design. Be the equivalent of a computer networking tech, and you will continue to be valuable even as technology evolves.
The prevalence of online graphic design tutorials means there are thousands of fakers out there who might know how to cut out a product from a photo background, but know nothing about design theory. Others are undereducated – especially those from third-world countries – and both groups can easily undercut your fees and land small business clients. The worst part is that the end client is the one who really loses out, as their investment will not return the type of return on investment a professional designer could help them achieve.
Make sure you market yourself and demonstrate to clients why your fees are justified, and how they will enjoy greater benefits by investing in your design, rather than the fakers.
It’s OK to be proud of your work, but not so proud that you refuse to acquiesce to customers’ demands or to outsource small tasks others can do, which will free up time for you to maximize your profit potential. You might be awesome at developing web interfaces, but only mediocre at logos, for example, so you should source logo work to someone who excels on it and concentrate on your area of expertise. This will allow you to make more money because you will be more efficient at your specialty, and you’ll simultaneously earn your cut of your logo makers’ fee, and your end product will be better so clients will offer repeat business and word-of-mouth marketing.
About the Author: