11 Pros and Cons of Being a Graphic Designer

Updated November 28, 2022

For many individuals, graphic design is an exciting and rewarding career. However, that doesn't mean that it's the right path for everyone. By learning about the field's benefits and drawbacks, you can better decide if this is a good career choice for you. In this article, we define this role and discuss some of the pros and cons of working as a graphic designer.

What is a graphic designer?

A graphic designer is someone who creates visual content using both digital and print methods. Some of the common tasks for a graphic designer include creating advertisements, logos, posters, websites and product packaging. Graphic designers work with clients to create a visual or physical representation of their desired brand image. Typical job responsibilities for a graphic designer include:

  • Meeting with clients to discuss company and target audience expectations

  • Turning ideas into images and designs

  • Creating mockups or sample designs

  • Selecting fonts or colors that complement the desired messaging

  • Making use of various graphic design software applications

  • Presenting final designs to clients or managers

  • Making adjustments to finished work based on client or manager feedback

Related: Learn About Being a Graphic Designer

Where do graphic designers work?

Graphic designers can work in a few different locations. Many graphic designers work independently from home, operating as freelancers. Some graphic designers work within larger art departments for places like marketing businesses. In these locations, these individuals work on projects alongside other creative professionals for their employer's clients. Finally, some graphic designers may work in house for a single organization. For example, a toy company may need regular designs for their new packaging or advertisements and keeps a team of graphic designers on staff to perform this task.

Pros of being a graphic designer

There are several advantages to working as a graphic designer, such as:

1. Ability to be creative

Graphic designers get to use their creative skills on an almost daily basis. They explore new ideas and try out new design concepts on behalf of their clients. Their goal is to create eye-catching designs that are not only pleasing to look at but can also help their clients distinguish themselves from their competition. If you enjoy using your creativity and making things, you may enjoy working as a graphic designer, as this is a large part of their jobs.

Related: Creativity Skills: Definition, Tips and Examples

2. Different types of job opportunities

Many different industries have a need for graphic designers. This means that as a graphic designer, there are many opportunities to enter a field that interests you. Some examples of industries that need graphic designers include sports, entertainment, business, marketing and politics. You can also switch between different industries throughout your career, giving you more variety in your professional life.

In addition, graphic designers may also have the option of working either for an organization or for themselves, or even both. Many graphic designers are freelancers, giving them some freedom to pick their own clients. This ability to choose your own clients and work hours is a major benefit to many graphic designers.

3. Stable work hours

Most graphic designers work steady hours. This refers to working during regular business hours, between 9 a.m and 5 p.m, from Monday to Friday. While these hours can vary from one organization to the next, or for freelancers, these are the most common hours. In addition, unless there is a tight deadline to meet, most graphic designers do not need to work overtime or on weekends in order to complete their projects.

4. Potential to work remotely

Graphic designers have the potential to work remotely, even if they work for another organization and are not freelancing. This is because much modern-day graphic design work is done through computer tools. Graphic designers can complete their work from home, talk with clients over the phone or through video conferencing and send the completed files when they're done.

Related: Everything You Should Know About Working From Home

5. Sense of accomplishment

Graphic designers have the benefit of seeing a completed piece of work when they're finished with it. Often, graphic designers get to see their hard work on display, whether through a completed website or some product packaging. There are a limited number of positions where you get to see tangible proof of your accomplishments, but graphic design is one of them.

6. Income and benefits

Graphic designers typically earn a good salary and can receive good benefits packages. The average salary for a graphic designer is $50,420 per year. In addition, some common benefits include paid time off, health insurance, dental insurance and vision insurance.

Cons of being a graphic designer

While there are many benefits to working as a graphic designer, you may come across a few obstacles as well. These can include:

1. Mostly behind a computer

Graphic designers spend most of their days behind a computer. Due to this, graphic designers need to schedule breaks where they can get up and walk around to create a more stable and healthy working environment. Graphic designers can also look for opportunities to get things done away from their desk, such as bringing their laptop outside or performing initial sketches by hand.

2. Limited promotion opportunities

As a graphic designer, there are limited opportunities to progress your career. The most common next step for graphic designers is to move into a management position where you oversee a team of graphic designers. However, while many graphic designers remain in the same position for many years, they can still increase their incomes during this time. For example, freelance graphic designers can begin to charge higher rates as they gain more experience.

3. Often work alone

While there is some collaboration involved with graphic design, much of the work is independent. Graphic designers may start off discussing ideas with their clients or managers, then spend the remaining time working alone on creating the final product. Then, once they're done, they meet again with their clients to discuss any final edit requests. While some graphic designers prefer this time alone, others make an effort to connect with other graphic designers so that they have people they can talk to throughout the day.

Related: How To Improve Your Ability To Work Independently

4. Deadlines

Some graphic design projects have strict deadlines. For example, a client may need edits to their logo design by the end of the day. These tight deadlines may affect the worker's time-management strategy or output levels.

5. Must meet client specifications

Graphic designers often must make design choices based on client specifications rather than their own preferences. This limits some of the creative freedom that graphic designers have and can result in the designer creating something that they are not as proud of. One way to fix this is by discussing your ideas with your clients early on during the brainstorming stage and explaining your reasoning behind them. If your client or manager understands why you want to make certain creative choices, they may be more likely to go along with them.

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