Career In Art & Design

I can’t call myself professional designer as I never worked consistently with any design firm or any such position. Though I did certificate programs & continued working as freelance designer. So I don’t want to judge careers in design field, but I am not very positive about the “importance” of design work and pay scale . I am concerned because my daughter is leaning towards digital art and I am not excited about it when I compare other professions and it’s relative importance.
I don’t want to discourage her potential and talent but at the same time can’t respect
Please suggest.

I can’t hardly believe I’m suggesting this having worked in the field for dozens of years, but…

The whole field it totally oversaturated with recent graduates who can’t find work. It’s driven wages down to the point where employers expect a huge skillset with pay more typical of what a fast food assistant manager might make.

Stick with it long enough (most people don’t) and it is possible to work one’s way up the ladder, but it’s very challenging.

At this point, the only students to whom I would recommend pursuing graphic design are those who absolutely refuse to consider anything else and who display an enormous amount of talent and ambition. There are a few specialty areas in graphic design where there’s pretty good money, like UI/UX development or 3D modeling, but they’re difficult and require a special kind of technical aptitude.

For anyone else, there are dozens of more financially promising and secure fields to study. On the surface they might not seem as cool and attractive to a young person, but from a realist’s viewpoint, they’re more rational choices.


I graduated from a 4-year college, in a class of about 30 students. Going through the alumni list, I found only 2 of us are still in the design field and both of us do print work. Quite a number of the rest, oddly enough, were in some sort of banking teller/customer service position.

Do some research comparing the number of design graduates being pushed out every year to the number of “graphic design” jobs open. The disparity is huge.

The other really significant point I really have to stress…
Graphic Design is NOT about Art. Too many design students find out way too late that Graphic Design is a commodity, not a means to express one’s artistic flare. Kids get through school doing self-directed projects where they can be as creative and unrealistic as they want, then suddenly find themselves in the real world, constrained by brand standards, corporate politics, and the reality of budgets and production schedules, all while trying to communicate their client’s/company’s message to a demographic audience they may not even relate to. There’s quite a bit of analytical research involved, and often high presure due dates. In the real world, if you miss “the final exam” you are fired. Graphic Design is about Communication first, Budget Reality second and Artistic Ability third. Artistic Expression doesn’t even enter the equation.

Or, as I like to put more bluntly, if you love drawing pink anime kittens but your client’s target demographic audience focus is on death metal, you better know how to love death metal. The kittens ain’t gonna cut it.


Where this is your kid though, and you want them to be happy in life and with what they do, maybe start exploring what other things interest her. Maybe keep the digital art (whatever that actually means in this instance) as a college minor rather than major. Don’t look at schools that offer “art.” Look at companies where she thinks she might like to work and see what’s required to get there. Try to get her focused on the big picture, an end goal, rather than “I want to do Art.”

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First post here, though I’ve been lurking for a little while. I’d like to counter some of these comments with my own experience, which is oddly similar.

Some 25ish years ago, I was in your daughters’ position - I was loving art in school and wanted to head down that career path. However, this was the mid-90’s and the tech revolution was gaining pace. My parents really pushed me down the software development route as it was ‘the future’. They bought me everything I’d need to teach myself to programme, and encouraged me at every step.

That was the career path I went down - and it would be true to say I’d always earned a very good living from it. But, aside from the odd time, I hated it. In the end, the stress of the job and the fact I didn’t really enjoy what I was doing, took it’s toll. So, I returned to design.

Despite having had a ‘prosperous’ career financially, I look back at those years now as being wasted. I’d sooner have earned less but enjoyed my time.

I have a daughter of my own now, and my own experience has led me to advise her to simply follow a path she enjoys - everything else will (eventually) fall into place if you’re passionate enough about something.

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I noticed that everything published recently is copy and paste.

I was going to post how cut and paste this planet is were nothing original is regarded as sufficient in our our everyday mobile phone lives brain-dead lives, but walked out grabbed the local paper and saw this

just the dog’s looks on its face waiting to help the next person is i think is priceless and needed to be shared.

As long as kids know what they are getting into with design, and understand the competition for work, that’s fine. I just see far too many design students feeling totally discouraged the minute they realize they have to do art for someone else’s communication project.

Whether its working in a company under an art director, working for an agency under a creative director, working in broadcast under producer, or working freelance directly with clients, the Graphic Designer is constrained in ways they never were allowed to experience in school.

Even way back in the 90s the professors would let due dates slide if enough people didn’t have their stuff done for critique. In PD’s school of design, those not done on the deadline would earn a Zero for the project.

All projects would be directed, no working on things you “like.” Might be, pull three things out of 3 hats, one describing the communication problem, one with the branding standards of the client and their product and one describing the demographic market. No “chair” projects based on your favorite artist (some of you might know what I mean, LOL!)

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I’m sorta going against what others are saying here, but “art school” was great for me. My teachers were all also in the design industry, teaching subjects they were best at, and every project after the first year was extremely strict and had hard deadlines, strict brand guidelines, and hard truth critiques.

That being said, we did not have to deal with the production of any materials other than 1 or 2 printed pieces per project. Some were magazines and such that did require some more intense printing, but obviously nothing of commercial size.

It definitely requires some personal drive. Out of my class of 60 or so, by graduation became a class of 15, and including myself only 3 of us are in the industry right now. So to reiterate what @Just-B said, you have to make sure you’re something special and you have the passion and drive and skill for it before diving in, because it is so saturated there are dozens if not hundreds applying to the same positions.

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i had to learn off-set printing, graphic design and art history before I was allowed to draw comics in school.
i think I can still set up a ABDick 350 while having a multilith 1250 printing a brochure on the second color path run!

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The only option you have is educating your daughter on the risks and sacrifices she may have to make if she moves forward in this career. Instead of just being fearful, find data that you can present and discuss to give her a realistic view of what may happen if she takes this path. A scary decision isn’t so scary if you’re knowledgable of the potential risks.



First of all, their are around thousands of professions in the world. One of them is Graphic Designing, if you have observed something in freelancing that some logos are sold at the cost of $5 and some sell at $2000+. The difference between both of them is very simple; that is amount of creativity had put into. So Graphic Designing is a career of not only working but working with creativity.

Inspire others with your creativity and sooner you will see this career will get brighter for you. It’s all about your passion and nature for anything.

If you like and love to do, just do it money with came on your side but if you are doing it just for money and easiness I recommend you to switch your career.

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Sorry, we do not allow anything to do with crowd sourcing or logo mill sites.

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This entire statement is completely wrong.
The difference in price is the difference in the level of engagement the designer has with the client and the level of expertise of the designer. It has nothing at all to do with the amount of “creativity” that goes into making the actual logo mark. That’s a fallacy perpetuated by the logo mill industry.

For proper logo design you want a professional designer that has worked in the field of branding for a number of years, knows how to do the market research necessary, listens to the client and most importantly offers advice, based on those years of experience. What a client wants may be totally different from what the client actually needs and an experienced branding professional will know this and advise the client appropriately. This is why I say designers who design logos should have to carry malpractice insurance. Someone else’s livelihood and business success may be riding on the marketing decisions a designer makes in the production of any product, most importantly the logo.

Far too many people are posting here with crap logos, who don’t understand the first thing about proper logo design, let alone the legalities of presenting a client with non-trademark-able artwork. We won’t even get into the production issues some of these have presented. From the looks of some of them, the designer didn’t seem to care if the client goes broke simply trying to output the logo design.

Design is a career of working. Your personal creativity is secondary to the mission of the design job at hand. Yes, creativity is needed for the actual ideation, but the amount of creativity is proportional to the market being served. If you want to be excessively creative, take up painting. If you want to bend your creativity to fit to a client’s needs, graphic design is still a prospect, once you learn the theory and marketing practices behind it. “Pretty pictures” ain’t it.


I’ll just add one more thing… being a professional designer is maybe 25% actual design work. The rest is self promotion, seeking out and talking to clients, and fun stuff like paying bills, taxes, etc. It’s why I no longer freelance, and instead work for a company. That way I can come in, do my work, and go home. A lot less stress and headaches.

There is also a lot more required to be a designer than being creative. Anyone can be creative. My 7 year old son draws stuff all the time. He’s super creative. My daughter just graduated from college with her degree in fine arts. She is super creative as well. The main difference is the client. If you are making art the client is you. You make what you want to make. And if you like it then that’s all that matters. But in the design world you have to listen to the client and find out what they want and deliver it to them. And more often than not they don’t know what they want. Or they think they want something and it’s the wrong solution, so you have to find ways to tell them that what they think they want is not what they really want without pissing them off.

This is stuff you don’t learn in school. It’s why I recommend that anyone wanting to be a designer work for a competent creative director or agency for at least 10 years before trying to freelance.

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