The Calculated Creative

Graphic Design Job Outlook and Demand

The job outlook is strong for graphic designers who continuously learn, adapt to new tools & trends, and demonstrate capabilities across mediums.

The graphic design field is expected to grow steadily over the next decade as businesses, organizations, and individuals continue to rely on visual communications in the digital age.

Graphic design skills will be needed to create visually appealing marketing campaigns, engaging website and mobile app interfaces, print publications, branding assets, information graphics, and more.

Here is an in-depth look at the current job outlook and market demand for graphic designers.

Job Outlook

  • According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest occupational outlook data, employment of graphic designers is projected to grow 3% from 2021 to 2031. This is about as fast as the average projected growth rate for all occupations during this period.
  • In 2021, there were approximately 226,300 graphic design jobs across the United States. Given the projected 3% growth rate, an additional 6,800 graphic design jobs are expected to be added nationally over the 2021-2031 period.
  • The industries projected to have the most graphic design job growth are: marketing and design services, software publishing, motion picture and video industries, and specialty food stores. Declines in graphic design jobs are projected in newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers.
  • Graphic designer salaries can vary based on level of experience, specific job responsibilities, company size and industry. The median annual wage for graphic designers was $54,680 as of May 2021. The highest 10% earned more than $92,920 annually.

Key Factors Driving Demand

Several important trends are contributing to healthy ongoing demand for skilled graphic designers over the next 5-10 years:

  • Growth of digital media and mobile - As more content and information is consumed online through websites, apps, social media, and other digital platforms, there is an increased need for web design, user interface design, digital illustrations, and other graphic design services tailored for digital media.
  • Mobile technology adoption - Creating visually appealing graphics and designs optimized for small screens is crucial as mobile devices and apps continue to proliferate. Graphic designers must adapt interfaces and experiences for smartphones and tablets.
  • Marketing across platforms - Companies rely heavily on graphic designers to strengthen branding, increase awareness, advertise products/services, and communicate campaigns across print, web, mobile, and other platforms. Graphic design is a core component of omnichannel marketing.
  • Motion graphics - Animation and motion graphics skills are in high demand for television, movie production, video games, explainer videos, branding projects, and other media. This often involves UI/UX design principles as well as illustration.
  • Corporate brand identity - Large companies want strong, consistent brand identity across all their communications, marketing, product design, digital channels, etc. This requires logo design, branding guidelines, branded collateral, style tiles, marketing/sales materials, packaging, and more.

Job Outlook by Industry

Some industries have an especially strong demand for graphic design skills and will provide robust job opportunities over the next decade:

  • Marketing, advertising, PR, and branding agencies - Graphic designers will continue to be needed as key players in developing brand identities and creating multichannel visual marketing campaigns for products and services from large corporations to small businesses.
  • Book, magazine, and other publishing - Print publications, whether for entertainment, news or education, rely on graphic designers to layout and organize content in visually appealing ways optimized for their medium. Designers also adapt content for digital publishing formats.
  • Motion picture, video, and gaming - Motion graphics designers are in demand to work on animations, titles, credit sequences, simulations, visual effects and other video elements for movies, television, video games, commercials, and digital platforms.
  • Web and app design services - UX/UI designers play a key role in laying out and designing websites, web applications, mobile apps, and other software to optimize the user experience. This requires understanding user psychology, usability principles and graphic design.

The Takeaway

The job outlook is strong for graphic designers who continuously update their skills, adapt to new design tools and trends, and build a diverse portfolio showcasing their unique design capabilities across mediums.

Creativity, problem-solving, and an ability to bring ideas to life visually for clients will be highly valued graphic design skills.

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