Best and Worst Things About Being a Graphic Designer

Just like any other job, graphic design has its pros and cons. Many people can only see the positives in working as someone who uses their creativity all day long. However, there are also the pessimists who only see the cons of working in a competitive field such as graphic design. To help you make up your own mind about the profession, we have compiled a list of the best and worst things about being a graphic designer. Enjoy!

Best things about being a graphic designer

You get to work with creative people

The graphic design profession allows you to meet and work with like minded people who understand the challenges of the work you do and can offer you advice and solutions when you face an issue or you need some encouragement. However, being surrounded by creative people can sometimes be quite hectic and since everyone sees things differently, you may find that it doesn’t really help you to have them around all the time. At the end of the day, it’s your choice how much influence you take from others and how much others get inspiration from you – the fact is that as a graphic designer you will have the option to work with other creative people if you choose too.

The software packages you have to work with are constantly updated – you get to learn all the time

If you don’t see constant learning as a good thing, you should probably consider a different job. All the latest software that is required for your day-to-day job is being updated on a regular basis, so it’s very important that you keep your knowledge up to date too. You might find it hard at the start, but once you learn the basics, you will see that this is actually manageable and you would probably enjoy the improvements and additions to the capabilities of the software packages you use to do your job. The graphic design industry in general is also developing quite quickly, so you would find plenty of change and challenges if you decide to become a professional graphic designer.

You get to share your work online

showcasing work on behance

There are not many professions in which you get to share your work online as much as you do as a graphic designer. Social media channels and platforms such as Behance, Pinterest and Tumblr make it very easy for every creative professional to make their work seen and found by many people. This opens up an endless stream of opportunities and it can lead to making great working and personal contacts in the industry. The only requirement is that you become tech savvy and get yourself familiarised with the requirements on each online channel.

You are able to join cool graphic design communities

Whether you prefer to be mainly online or your prefer offline communication, there are many graphic design communities you can join as someone who works in the field. Locally and globally, you can find plenty of networking opportunities and events where you can meet like minded people. If you want to join a new graphic design community online, however, you have to make sure you are familiar with its purpose. Some communities are created to help you with inspiring content, where in others you are welcome to sell your skills and experience and showcase your work. Be sure to check what the rules are, before you engage in conversations online.

You get to work from home and you have the option to be flexible

Working from home

Graphic designer is one of those professions you can easily do from home. While most of your work will only require access to computer and a good internet connection, flexibility should not be an issue for you. Depending on your preferences and the requirements of your clients or employer, you might have to go an office or a specific place to work from. However, generally speaking, graphic designers are more more likely to work from home and decide on their own working hours.

You can help your friends and family with  graphic design projects

The skills you acquire as a graphic designer can be of great help when family or friends need someone to help them tackle a graphic design project. You may find yourself helping others with their design problems more often than you like, but you will also get the pleasure of giving a helping hand to a relative or a close friend.

You can work on a few projects at the same time

While this could make some people feel pressured, being a graphic designer usually means that you will be expected to work on a few projects at the same time. This provides you with great opportunity to learn new skills on the go and improve the speed of your work. Your involvement in multiple projects also means that getting bored quickly is out of the equation.

Worst things about being a graphic designer

You don’t have the final decision over your projects

Being a graphic designer means that you have to take other people’s ideas and transform them into real projects. However, the reality is that during this process, there is input from many other stakeholders (who may or may not know much about graphic design). As mentioned in our article about the top myths about graphic designers, more often than expected, graphic designer don’t have the last word when it comes to the final version of the projects they are working on.

Don’t get us wrong – teamwork can be great fun but when graphic design projects are progressing there will often be many people who will want their say along the way. This can result in confusion and friction, and can make the job of the designer a whole lot more frustrating.

You usually have to work for free to build your portfolio

How does working for free sound to you? Fun, right? We thought not. A lot of graphic designers work for free when they are starting out to build up their portfolio. There’s nothing wrong with it but it can be a bit disheartening doing great work with little to no financial gain. Once you’ve built up your profile, the fun part will be deciding what your rate will be.

Depending on the demand for your work, you may have times where work is hard to come by

Companies and industries go through ups and downs, as do the demand for different design services. This means that you have to be creative and flexible to be able to balance your finances at the end of each month. Lack of cash flow usually affects freelance graphic designers, so if you work as an in-house provider, you should generally not worry about not receiving a pay check each month.

materials used by graphic designers

The competition is tough

Graphic design is a very competitive field. There is a lot of competition and you have to be willing to learn and improve. Because of the ease of access to great learning materials and resources, there are more and more graphic designers entering the market. This makes your job a whole lot harder as there will be more people vying for all the job opportunities. Graphic designers need to be more creative and resourceful than ever to stay ahead.

You could be typecast (stuck doing one thing) when you want to try your hand at a few other things

If you start your career doing a certain type of job – like designing logos or brochures – you may find yourself being seen as an expert in a very niche area, when in actual fact you want to expand your horizons to keep the work varied. If you see variety as the spice of life, try and avoid the typecast trap. Get yourself involved in as many different creative projects as you can or make sure you keep your knowledge and skills updated in variety of graphic design jobs in your spare time.

browsing online

Annoying clients with unrealistic deadlines

You know the ones we’re talking about. The clients that drive you crazy and make you consider quitting the profession for good.  Unfortunately, graphic designers, like any other freelancing professionals, will undoubtedly meet such clients at least a few times a year. This means that you have to work on your people skills as well as your professional approach towards the work you produce for them. When it comes to annoying clients with unrealistic expectations, you have to keep calm and carry on… literally.

if you want to be a freelance graphic designer, you have to also be your own accountant, business development consultant and time keeper

Invoices, taxes, files, folders, meetings… To stay ahead of the competition, there’s a good chance you’re going to need to get used to dealing with all these things. Freelance graphic design may sound a fun career opportunity, but it means that all the responsibility to run your business will also fall on you. If you want to succeed, be ready to learn how to issue invoices, submit tax forms and organise business meetings and regular reporting sessions with your clients.

If you enjoyed this post then be sure to check out our blog on The New App on the Block Every Graphic Designer Should Know.

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