A friend of mine asked me the other day what the pros and cons of graphic design are for me personally because she’s been struggling with the decision to make the switch to graphic design.
So this is what my response to her was plus a little more. Hokay so the pros and cons (this is gonna be a long one):
So the con first, by nature you almost will always be working with a client. That may not even be a bad thing but when you want to do things your way it’ll be hard. But it’s awesome when there’s a good balance between the client and the designer. Most of the time you’ll be given a brief on what the client wants/needs but in some cases you as the designer will have free reign to create something. Ironically, you will find at times that it is easier to have guidelines.
The other con is that you may not always be designing the most interesting things, ain’t gonna lie. I had to do these marketing materials for this audit company and I felt like shooting myself. But on the other hand I got to work on some really cool projects that I think is portfolio worthy. Another thing is pay won’t be stellar, good but not stellar. Unless you do UI/UX design or an art director position which can get as high as a 6 digit salary.
Another con for me personally, I do kinda miss drawing and painting. It’s not to say that I don’t anymore cause I still sketch and stuff but more so in actually finishing a polished piece. Doing lettering kinda makes up for it though.
Ok on to the pros.
Perhaps the biggest pro would be (after thinking about this and I hope it doesn’t come off as hokey) a better view an understanding of things. Might seem like a weird answer but as a designer we are constantly learning and finding out new things. This is because when you design you need to figure out what and who you are designing for. And in the process you gain knowledge which you then communicate to others.
This leads me to my next pro which is that designers aren’t bound by any specific medium/skill. (Take a look at the Bauhaus and how in that modern movement the designers used and created all sorts of things. There was a marriage between fine art and graphic design which yielded some of the greatest works and ideas in history that we can still see their affects till this day.) Typically we do use the computer heavily but it can extened to other things such as photography, drawing, using found objects, etc. I’d go so far as to say that graphic design, actually design in general, is less about practice or skill and more of a way of thinking.
Another plus is the different skills you can learn in design such as 3D modeling, photography/video/motion, illustration, web, packaging, print, etc. The importance of knowing so many skills is not only do you have more avenues of communication but you are more employable as a designer.
And of course this pro is always nice, which is the job placement is really good. I’d say that 90% the GD grads this past year got jobs or some sort of paying internship. There are always design jobs out there. That was my dad’s biggest concern when I was expressing my want to be a designer. He didn’t think it would be a viable career, which if you think about it, is a ridiculous assumption because if you look around there isn’t something a designer hasn’t had a hand in its creation (designer as a general term, but the same principles and ideas of design bridge into various areas).
So there are some of my pros and cons for graphic design which I hope proves to be useful to you.
If you have anymore questions about design or school, feel free contact me through my email and I’ll be more than happy to answer them. (As you can see I can write a lot): firstname.lastname@example.org