The design industry has gone through a complete transformation over the past decade thanks to the digital revolution, with latest reports by The Creative Industries revealing that in 2015 alone, creative jobs totalled 2.8 million.
Attracting foreign investment and offering a vibrant and creative niche to young students, it’s no surprise that as a graphic designer you may be wondering if you’re as well equipped for this new era as the bright young things that are hot on your tail.
You’ve probably felt the effects of the digital revolution, but were you prepared for it?
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Where once there was a blank canvas for your creativity to flow, now lies a skeleton of information that as a designer you have to build off.
Knowledge of basic design principles are still a vital asset, but rather than rely on these essential skills alone with a bold mix of vision, concepts are now more data driven.
Led by information we’ve been able to salvage from the internet robots that are collecting our likes and dislikes on an hourly basis, there’s a data-driven reason for every mark we make and every word we use.
From Hubspots Visual Marketing 2016 statistics, online graphics increase peoples willingness to read a piece of content by 80%, and with 65% of senior marketing executives believing that visual assets are core to their brand story, there has never been a more important time to be in the industry and be well-equipped for change.
A recent careers survey by Design Week detailed that whilst specialist skills are still the core for many graphic designers, digital adoption has taken a leap, with many more now creating their art for online rather than print.
Specialists will always have their place, but a multi-skilled career is becoming the norm for the majority.
“The internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow” – Bill Gates
The thought of becoming obsolete would sicken even the most dedicated designer, but the truth is with emerging talent that have been born in the digital revolution, how can you stay relevant in the fast paced industry?
Whether you’re freelance, in an agency or working in house, it doesn’t matter where you sit in your professional career, you will now have to collaborate on your work more than ever before.
It may be a hard pill to swallow, but your work will be collectively picked and pulled apart by the client and all of their departments.
Design is a very personal thing for a business, and thanks to the customer data they now behold you will have to work closely with them to not only satisfy their vision, but also communicate with them as to whether it would work for their customers.
You may have been the lone ranger before, but there is now opinion and data in the bucket load that can sway your design.
Knowing how to pitch what you’ve done and detail the choices you’ve made will be the only strategy to continue to achieve graphic design gold.
You may be an expert in your area but when was the last time you updated your skills or learnt something new?
As the media on which you work is continuously evolving, so to is the way you work.
Whilst visual graphics and video content has becoming an increasingly popular visual menu for online, the ways we use the internet are always evolving.
Just look at the introduction of virtual reality devices, and the audience that this is pulling in – we can’t expect to predict the future of what we’ll be designing for, or even on, but whatever it holds you need to embrace it.
Chris Hardy, an Adobe Trainer at Xchange Training has had first experience of this, commenting that, “Many believe that our students are young professionals wanting to get their foot in the industry, but since the need for more digital artwork has increased we’ve seen a vast amount of existing design professionals wanting to strengthen their portfolio”.
Professional development is nothing new, but it is something as an industry we have to continue, especially if we are to stay innovative.
If you’re not fully committed to the cause, then now is the time to be.
Absorbing yourself in your work and what you do is becoming the ‘in-thing’ if you want your skills to pay the bills.
I don’t mean by making your life completely about work, because we’re all well aware that balance is key. But taking the time to read about the new trends and even creating your own designs and publishing on your own blog, can all play vital roles in securing you as a thought leader in the design industry, and helping you become head and shoulders above the rest.
“Since joining this industry I’ve never stopped learning. Whether that’s lots of research through blogs or looking at what the big brands are getting up to”, comments Ben Simpson a graphic designer at Chatty Imp.
Unfortunately, now is not the time to sit back.
Taking an active interest in the industry and offering your own insight will ensure that you’re still as relevant today as you will be for the future.
The creative landscape is constantly changing, and with an increasing amounting of professions now adding design to their skillset, it is becoming a battleground for good design to emerge victorious.