What I love about design and working within a creative industry the most is that it is constantly changing. From trends, software, clients to working practices, the design world in which we, as designers, live is a great place to be. But is everything really that peachy? Or are we at the peak, waiting to fall?
Graphic design is an over-saturated market, no doubt about it. The lure of what seems (from the outside at least), an attractive lifestyle, along with a misconceived acclaim to fame, means that more students are enrolling in design-related courses than ever. Eventually, a percentage will graduate and seek design-related jobs. Also, don’t forget the uneducated hobbyists who claim to be ‘Graphic Designers’ & then, of course, there’s those already established within the industry. With service providers multiplying at a rapid rate & the current economic climate limiting the number of new start-up businesses, is there enough work to go around? I asked 4 top designers for their opinions:
Nathan Sarlow of Nathan Sarlow thinks the education system could help:
It seems that the majority of people that graduate from design school come out with the same knowledge and a similar style. I personally feel that the education part of the design industry needs to be guided more by active designers and less by teachers (that used to be designers). This way, the students would be learning more about current ‘real world’ design and not theoretical design that will only aid to give them a false sense of their worth to the industry. With hundreds of competitions running every week across dozens of spec-work sites, more and more companies are re-inforcing the spec stye of sourcing work is acceptable. Regardless of the quality of the end result, very few of these companies will ever be convinced that paying a designer for their time is of any inherant value.
Unfortunately, I believe spec work will always exist within the design industry, as long as there are people willing to take it on. It doesn’t effect me directly though, and it shouldn’t effect you either, but that doesn’t mean I am saying what these crowd-sourcing sites are doing is right. Fortunately, there are still clients out there wise enough to know that they have to pay for quality, we just need to justify our own positions in the market & our services. As has been said above, being a designer is more than just drawing a pretty picture and sending an invoice, it’s about sellling yourself too. Theres a big difference between selling yourself and selling your soul though.
We could all take the easy option & light our stakes, pick up our pitchforks and run to the crowd-sourcers to point the finger of blame or we could just take a look at ourselves, and look at how we can be improved. After all isn’t that the role of a designer anyway?