Pros and Cons of a Graphic Design Career Pros Creativity This is probably the number one benefit influencing your decision to become a graphic designer. You get to share your ideas and if you are a freelancer seek jobs that interest you. Each job you do also adds to your portfolio increasing your chances of obtaining the jobs you want. Visually telling a story or promoting an idea is what graphic design is all about. Flexibility This is especially true of freelancers but graphic designers are needed in all field of business which means that if you are finding yourself tired of the same type of design you can look for jobs somewhere else. An ad designer may find that they want to learn more about layout design for a magazine and can make the switch. The switching can continue throughout your entire career ensuring that you are never bored with your work. Job Outlook While the pay may not be the top of the charts finding a job is actually looking pretty good for recent graduates. Despite the downturn in the economy the demand for graphic designers is projected to increase by 13 percent from 2010-2020 (according to the US department of labor). This growth rate is about average across all fields. There should be around 37,000 new jobs between 2010-2020. While the growth in the industry is good the number of jobs is limited and competition can be very fierce.
Cons Promotions Well, the lack of promotions actually. In the world of graphic design there are really only three main positions that you can pursue. One is a graphic designer, the second is an art director, and the third is a teacher or professor. To be honest there is little opportunity for advancement within the graphic design world. While salaries will range greatly based on your reputation and demand for your work if you are in an organization you probably are in a career stasis. If you are hoping to grow freelancing is probably the way to go (although you give up the stability of a consistent paycheck).
Salary This could easily go in the Pros or the Cons section depending on your outlook, but the median pay for graphic designers is around $43,500 with a span ranging from $32,000 to $57,000. If you become an art director or are a very successful freelancer you can make $94,000 a year (90th percentile of earners in graphic design). While the pay is decent there is definitely a ceiling to your pay potential. In order to get the better paying jobs you will most likely need a Graphic Arts (AAS) to even be considered. Creative Limitations Being creative can be described as a gift and your best work comes from inspiration but how would you feel if you were expected to feel inspired all the time? As a graphic designer you will be working under a lot of pressure with tons of deadlines. You need to be able to meet these deadlines and have your designs ready on time. If you feel you can pay attention to detail and handle to time constraints graphic design may be just the thing for you. Photo Credit: Lee, Vector Hugo