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Is Graphic Design a stable field to work in?

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Ian’s Answer

Hey Jane! Great question.

Like most fields, whether or not a given career path is stable depends on a number of factors, many outside of our control.

What's neat about graphic design though, is that the core skills you'll learn—critical thinking, problem solving, visual communication, craftsmanship—are all things that can help you across many disciplines, even outside of the design world.

As a working designer, I've found that this field offers a lot of opportunity and flexibility depending on where your interests lie. Web design, illustration, user experience design, brand design, and more are all potential career paths you can explore within this industry. That's something I've always found exciting about design—all the different places it can take you.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions—happy to lend a hand.

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Eric’s Answer

Lots of variables come into play with this question. The below items factor in to the stability of the role.
• are you only interested in freelance work
• working in a traditional large Ad agency - 100+ employees
• working in a small ad agency - 30 or less employees
• working client side for a brand or local company

The above from what I have experienced will give the most stability being a client side designer which I have been for over 16 years for a large national company. I spent 2 years in a large ad agency and saw more turnover as the agency can at times lose a large piece of business. When that happens layoffs are expected in most cases. During my entire time at agencies and being client side I have always freelanced for a few reasons. Early in your career it can help boost your yearly income as well as provide some creative freedom. Later in my career I did it more for fun and being very selective for what I take. Regardless, freelancing can provide a stable base no matter what goes on in a more formal career structure. To increase your stability regardless where you work you need to learn both print and digital sides of design. Coding knowledge is not really needed but having an understanding will help inform and guide your design concepts.

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Sarah’s Answer

Hi Jane! Great question!

There are some credible on-line sites to help you answer this question.

First, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic tracks info about people working as graphic designers in the U.S.

When they last surveyed Graphic Designers, they found out that:

-The median salary in 2018 for Graphic Designers was <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">$48,700 per year / $23.41 per hour.</span>

<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">-In 2016, the number of Graphic Designer working was just over 266,000</span>

<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">-Graphic Design jobs are growing at about 4% rate--meaning they think about 11,000 new graphic design jobs will opening up from now until 2026.</span>

There is also information about the future of Graphic Design careers here https://collegegrad.com/careers/graphic-designers

This site (under Job Outlook) says...

"The projected change in employment of graphic designers over the next ten years varies by industry. For example, employment of graphic designers in newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers is projected to decline 22 percent over the next ten years. However, employment of graphic designers in computer systems design and related services is projected to grow 20 percent over the same period. Companies are continuing to increase their digital presence, requiring graphic designers to help create visually appealing and effective layouts of websites."

So if you combine your Graphic Design skills with Web Design or similar skills, you're chances of finding work and advancing are higher.

AIGA (Association for Professional Design) also has a career guide for Graphic Designers:


Hope these resources help!

Sarah recommends the following next steps:

Review information about Graphic Design careers and salaries on the websites I provided.
Go to the AIGA website too. That's a great organization to be a part of!
Check to see if your school or city has a student AIGA chapter and join (or go to some events/meetings). Great way to find out more about the industry!

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Ellen’s Answer

Hi Jane:

Yes. Graphic Design can be a stable career, in that you have a steady job and make a decent living. My sister in law just retired after 30+ years as a graphic designer for a utilities company, and she made a good living and really loved her job. Graphic designers work for companies, or as freelance designers.

There are many opportunities for graphic designers, because graphic design is so important in our world--everything from your toothpaste tube, to your cereal box, to the websites you look at, to the magazines you read, to the signs on the stores where you shop, to the logos for your favorite fashion brand, all rely on the talents and skills of graphic designers.

You've already gotten some good advice already. Getting a full time steady graphic design job can be competitive, not everyone gets the perfect job right out of school. Many young graphic designers have to have a second job to help them make ends meet, until they improve their skills and land a steady job. Be prepared to work hard in your art classes in school, listen to your art teachers, work on your portfolio, stay current with the latest computer graphic technology, get a graphic design internship during your summers, be humble and ready to learn from more experienced designers as you progress, and be persistent.

Best wishes!