How do you choose between graphic design and other computer trades (programming)?

That said, a graphic designer can make a pretty good living with only a handful of steady clients. Finding those clients requires a lot of patience, perseverance and luck. Securing a job with a firm makes life a lot easier, but the competition is fierce. I went into design because I frikkin’ love it. Period. It’s creative and allows me the opportunities to learn about all sorts of things and I’ve been incredibly lucky to have a spouse with that amount of patience.

I am in awe of programmers, much like I am in awe of good drummers. They’re thinking on a totally different level than I am able, and I truly wish I had the patience and brain for it. I also don’t wish to devote a good chunk of the rest of my life to learning what amounts to several new languages. I know just enough code to make simple changes and to know roughly what I am looking at when I see the code behind the interface of a web page.

I think it comes down to what you’re good at.
I have a relative who is incredibly creative and artistically talented that went to code camp. Spent thousands on classes and textbooks and hung out with coders and basically did a total immersion into that world.

Hard to say. Personally for me I was previously in Computer Science and am now currently in Graphic Design. I would say it comes down to what creativity is. For me creativity is the ability to think beyond the typical. So instead of A = B = C and following that logical algorithmic train of thought you can also see D and E which others have never thought of.

I read an article once that comedians were considered some of the smartest/creative people in the world because of the structure of what a joke is. This is because a joke follows a logical algorithm that people tend to complete in their minds before the punchline. But the comedian’s punchline ends up going along a completely different track that people have never would of considered; which is what makes it funny.

Programming, though requires a lot of intelligence and skill typically follow the same algorithm to write a program. Innovation and creativity come into play when programmers create something innovative that was considered impossible to do(or at least very difficult) which is very similar to Graphic Design. I think the difference between the two is subjective considerations. In Programming you really only have to consider mathematics and logic(which are both very difficult). While in Graphic Design there is the need to unify a variety of subject matters; psychology, culture, arts, history, economics, usability, logic, ect.

I don’t know where I’m going with this but I guess I would say that things like programming and science to be creative requires more ability to break convention from typical algorithmic thinking. While creativity in Graphic Design requires more the ability to unify different subject matter and strong visualization. (Though there is a lot of overlap)

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I’m into a lot of stuff, mostly involving a computer of some sort. I love the blend of creativity and tech. I enjoy a variety of activities. Graphics is the activity I get paid for. I like people giving me interesting things to do. There are better ways to make a living. If money is your motivating factor, you should probably think again.

Two different sides of the brain.
Artistic or Analytic.
If you can switch between the two, you’re lucky.
While I understand the tech and could learn to program, after a little bit, my brain hates it. Did it enough in college to know I could do it, but don’t want to. And I probably make less money for that decision. But in the print world, knowing the analytics of software and the why and how of the machine/software interactions, and more importantly being able to troubleshoot just where something is going wrong when things go toes up, that part I’m really really good at and it interests me.
I’ll never get rich.


Well, yes, but for most that will not be the case — it’s just too unstable and subject to overwork and periods of unemployment. And I haven’t even mentioned the stress of it all.

A solo freelancer usually divides his or her time between actual design work and the unpaid work of running the business — marketing, bookkeeping, etc. The big, well-paying projects are typically out of reach and go to agencies with several employees. That leaves the solo freelancer picking up the odd jobs from smaller businesses here and there.

Some people thrive in this environment, but lots of them have backup income to provide stability, like part-time work elsewhere or a spouse with a steady job. The competition is fierce, which has driven down prices to the point where they’re far below what they were 20 or 30 years ago. There are exceptions, of course, but a lucrative career as a solo, full-time design entrepreneur typically doesn’t work out over the long haul.

As for programming and scripting, I keep getting sucked into coding websites no matter how hard I try to stay away. Ten or 20 years ago, I actually liked it, but it’s gotten so specialized, complicated and unfulfilling, that I’m finding myself actively trying to avoid UI/UX and coding because of the never-ending frustrations and tedium of it all.

I often work with non-designer programmers who love their jobs. When I mention to them the things I dislike about scripting and programing, they tell me those are the very things they love. When I’m at the point of my head pounding due to an intractable and utterly tedious problem, some of the programmers I work with are bouncing around in their chairs eager to tackle and untangle a new puzzle. I don’t get it. Their masochistic brains are just wired differently, I guess.

Whether or not someone should plan a career around design or programing seems to me to be something of a false choice for most. These days, so much of graphic design has become so associated with user interfaces that it seems like there’s a natural connection between design and coding, but really, they’re very different things that require different skills, talents and personalities. On the other hand, for those who can and who enjoy doing a bit of both, there are well-paying jobs out there. For that matter, at least in the area where I live, those are the design-related jobs that are most abundant and that companies are having difficulty filling.


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