Graphic Design: The Ups & Downs


If I had to quit my job now, I would still go on to make designs. Why? Well, because it’s probably the best time in human history to be a graphic designer.

Okay, don’t take my words for what it’s worth; instead, take a look at the Internet and how it controls virtually every human interaction and activity. Interestingly, same Internet relies on graphical contents to remain useful and relevant.

Social apps are springing up. Apps like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter are nothing without graphics. The emergence of these apps is one of the reasons graphics designers (still and motion) are fast becoming the most sought-after professionals.

Think about billions of users whose lives revolve around these apps daily. Think about millions of sponsored pages and ads created monthly. Oh, and don’t forget all this depends on graphic design.

Bloggers desperately require graphics to effectively communicate and share contents. It is believed that visitors spend more time on websites that provide unique user experiences, and guess what? Graphic designers aim to design experiences….nothing more.

Graphic design enables one to think creatively about problems and proffer visual, functional solutions.

Beyond this, one of the most interesting aspects of graphic design is that it gives room to acquaint with other fields. It enables you to possess vast knowledge about the workings of other industries. Every brief introduces a designer to a whole new world of opportunities. Therefore, it’s easier for graphic designers to metamorphose and set up other businesses.

Proficiency in graphic design provides a solid foundation needed to thrive in other areas of creative endeavours. I know a couple of designers who have moved on to become filmmakers, professional photographers, advertising gurus, fashion designer, animators etc.

For example, I started a clothing label known as FETCH for creatives like me. It was borne out of passion. And honestly, my graphics skills guided me all through its creation; from ideation to execution.

I sometimes imagine the amount of time and money I would have spent if I had no graphics skill. Graphic design makes it easier to develop new businesses or collaborate with existing ones.

The life of a graphic designer is full of endless possibilities. It’s a discipline for rock stars!

However, as you might be aware, there’s no discipline that does not have its own peculiar problems and intricacies. Hence, graphic design does have its own unique problems.

First off, it’s exhausting to choose graphic design as a career in a country where intellectual property isn’t taken seriously. A country that has consistently shown disregard towards creative works. You sure don’t want get your hopes all up only to be disappointed.

Now, aside from government’s lackadaisical approach and lack of interest in art, graphic design itself is one hell of a discipline. It takes only the highly disciplined to make headway. So here are some of the challenges I experienced (and still experience ):

The Blank Sheet

It could be anything from neutral background to human body. But over here, it’s known as artboard or canvas.

A graphic designer’s dilemma begins with a blank page and the thought of what to splash on it. Staring at a plain background can be terrifying. In fact, it’s one of designers’ greatest fears. You only conquer this fear by carefully studying the client’s brief. And a good understanding of the brief clears the clouds and gives room to create something amazing.

Sleepless Nights

Graphic design is such a bully. It forces you to stay up all night when the rest of the world is asleep. I’m yet to meet a designer who wasn’t insomniac at least once in his or her career.

Even when it’s obvious you aren’t preparing for examinations, you have to stay up all night to catch up on tutorials. You’re expected to work on client’s brief during the day, and then spend the night to improve on your craft. Graphic design forces you to either hone your skill or go home.

Evolve or Die

Ours is a discipline that evolves at the speed of light. There’s always something new at every given moment. People are sharing new tips and tricks that enable designer work faster and better.

It’s really tough to catch up on updates. Just before you get the hang of a particular app, a newer version is in your face. It’s such an endless race, but if you don’t keep abreast of the times, you might become outdated.

Specialisation Problem

As a beginner, I was all over the place. I would make 3D designs, logos, typography, digital manipulations etc. It was hard to make up my mind on where to specialize. I was jack of all— one without purpose.

Then I learned to grow. I narrowed down my skill to where my interest lies and concentrated all my efforts there. It wasn’t easy to let go of some stuff, but look, designers have to be known and appreciated for what they do differently, and that’s only achievable if efforts are concentrated in areas where your strength lies.

Crazy Deadline. Nagging Client

These are portions of every graphic designer. You would sometimes find yourself working with clients who give crazy deadlines for project completion. And you dare not argue. A huge chunk of a designer’s job isn’t done between 9 to 5. It’s either he works all night to beat deadline or experience nightmares.

In spite of the challenges stated above, graphic design remains a discipline that is fun filled and rewarding. Interestingly, it doesn’t take much time to learn the skill; it only takes a lifetime to gain mastery.

We can never have enough designers. In fact, everyone should be designing something. After all, we live in a world where everyone has unconsciously become a personal brand. Therefore, every living soul is a potential client. And for personal brands to thrive, a consistent message has to be out there. Now, who designs these messages?

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