Old Timer needing the "New Generation" input

Hello all,

I’m a Graphic Designer that has more than 20 years under my belt. 16 of those years is owning a design business. More than a Freelance Biz less than an Agency, if that makes sense. I started my career where a Graphic Designer “Designed” and thats it. Through the years my requests for digital is specs provided, I design to specs and provide the art.

Long story short, I am planning to say goodbye to my own business and join a team. I am coming to terms that a lot has changed in the world of Graphic Design right under my nose while I have been designing away all these years for specialized clientele that only wanted design from me.

As I search Jobs I notice the Graphic Designer label has quite a bit more added to it in what an employer expects from you. Maintaining social media pages, knowing code, Mail chimp, Landing pages and so on.

So I would love some input from the younger generation. What are your daily responsibilities as a designer?

I’m not part of the “new generation.” For that matter, I have 20 years on you.

However, I’ve been the AD/CD in various places managing teams for most of that time, so I can comment on how agency teams often work.

You’re right; graphic designers today are called on to have a more extensive skill set than 20 or 30 years ago.

Suppose you’re the sole designer in an agency that does everything from video to social media to websites, to print, to app development, and 3D animation. In that case, you’ll need to be a graphic design polymath of the kind I’ve never encountered.

Everyone has their specialties and things they do better than others. If you’re joining a team, the work will likely be divided into ways that cater to each person’s strengths. Even so, as part of a team, you still need to know enough about the other team member’s specialties to engage with them as a team member, even when it’s not your expertise.

For example, let’s say you work at an agency that does both website, video, and print design. If your strength is print, you likely won’t need to hand-code a website or edit a video, but it would help to know enough about both to engage in an intelligent collaborative conversation with your team members who do.

This is a bit of a relief. I read job postings and when I read the laundry list of what they expect you to know I say “How in the world does a designer have this many duties and knowledge and actually be a great designer?”

Hey Upstate75 :slight_smile:

Even thou I am not professional graphic designer (I am a software developer). I would like to give you my input on: “How in the world does a designer have this many duties and knowledge and actually be a great designer?”

Nowadays recruters usually do not have any knowledge about the job itself. I have been to countless interviews where recruter had literally no idea about coding, and yet you had to get through the interview with him/her in order to get to ‘technical people’ → in your case to graphic designers. So my guess would be that before you will speak with actual designer you will have to get throu many people checking if you are “a team player”, and a “great fit for the work culture”… etc.

However on the bright side:
The demands on job postings are huge, and most of the times technical recruters do not even believe that they will find a person who can fulfill all of those demands, instead they verify what you know in the interview and decide if you can be usefull to them. Thus it possible, and quite common, to get a job for a position that had more demands that you could provide. So send as many CV’s as you can and good luck in your job hunt :slight_smile:

Sorry if this was offtopick :sweat_smile:

When I advertise looking for a new designer it’s quite precise and exactly the job detail required.


I’ve seen plenty of advertisements for jobs when looking through competitive job postings who ask for a graphic designer who is proficient in

  • html
  • css
  • javascript
    *php
    *sql
    *python
    *ruby
  • 3d modeling
  • wireframing
  • ux
  • web design
  • ui
  • print design
  • powerpoint

Must have 5 years’ experience.
Junior role.
12-18k a year

I’m being very kind - I added the apostrophe after years - most of the time they don’t have this.

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@Smurf2 Out of curiosity, what is an example of responsibilities you would list for a full time Graphic Designer?

I was on countless job interviews, and a lot of them had the same tired dribble.
HTML, CSS, Javascript, 3D, UX, UI, Design, Animation.

I spoke to many recruiters who didnt understand stuff I told them, and if i was lucky I’d have a chance to finally talk to a creative director or senior designer who then would bring me on for 2nd and 3rd interviews (some in person). Design is difficult to break into these days especially anything over 45k.
But it can be done.

It sounds like a lot of those roles need to specialize than focus on a designer who is a master of none.
I’ve picked up some web design, social media, marketing, and 3d skills along the way but my strongest suit is that I’m a graphic designer.

A graphic designer should be able to communicate, conceptualize, sketch ideas, create mockups, know how to use typography, have some fundamental understanding of print vs digital (something alot of people dont understand the difference of), and solve problems clients have in terms of branding, imaging, and hierarchy.

Designers can also specialize in logo design, typography, print, digital and so on.

Nobody should have to suffer through powerpoint decks, in my opinion.

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I don’t mind picking up the extra skills and understanding them to better work with others. I absolutely do not want a career of them. I’m a designer its what I love. The day I started my career as a Graphic Designer is the day I stopped looking at a clock all day at work. I see so many people labeled Graphic Designer with a laundry list of programs they know. It sounds intimidating when you look at that list, then you look at the design work and say “well I guess design cant be taught”.

Nothing personal here, but it always bugs me a bit when someone says this. I sort of understand that as tools go, it’s a departure from the accustomed, but after a bit of feature finding effort, it’s as good a tool as any for its intended purpose. Like most layout apps, you can design the graphics in any other package you like; you’re really only obligated (for forward edit-ability) to set the type in Powerpoint. And of course it’s no InDesign in that department, but you’re not setting pages of paragraphs anyway. Back in some day or other, I was regularly tasked with producing PPT decks, and produced plenty of which I’d not be ashamed here and now.

I’d rather be creating effective PPT content than working in the office where every week asks 3-5 pieces of this formula, but someone makes a living doing this too:

I’ve been working as a designer for three years, so definitely pretty new to the scene. My job title is marketing manager, but my background is design. I work in house for a small winery, so I handle a little bit of everything. Simply put, anything that the customer sees, I’m responsible for. That includes:

  • Wine labels

  • Business cards for the employees

  • Marketing emails (using Mailchimp)

  • Social media content creation and management

  • Website building and maintenance (using WordPress, Astra theme and Elementor page builder)

  • Promotional/marketing materials (flyers, packaging inserts, shelf displays, etc.)

The main takeaway here is that, while I’m expected to do a bit of everything, I use every available tool or shortcut to make up for my lack of expertise in certain areas. For example, I could code a website from scratch, but there are tools that much smarter people have invented that make the job much faster and easier. I focus on my strengths and use whatever resources I can to make up for my weaknesses.

this post struck a chord with me. I was a designer with a company for 20 years, and then they used covid as a reason to can almost the entire department. five people gone. I’ve been in the field for over 30 years. I found another job but not the engagement I once had. it’s had me questioning being in the field at all. it’s hard to put yourself out in the world when nobody seems to want an older designer. I’ve a lot of recognition in my career but it’s tough. it’s like it doesn’t matter anymore. if I could afford it, I’d go back to school and learn a new skill, but it’s not that easy financially and I haven’t stepped into a classroom in 30 years. so I understand where you’re coming from. honestly, I have no answers but thought I would share just to say that you’re not alone in this.

I feel your pain. But I’m not getting discouraged yet. I’ll find my lane. My background is heavy design. Lots of Photoshop manipulation, branding, logo design etc. Never realized that is NOT the wide market of Graphic Design careers today. There was once a time where it was. I’m seeing a world of “start from here” templates and very basic layout (which I love clean layout when done corectly). I’m in the process of trying to understand and learn what the majority of design careers is nowadays. Coming out of design school, top priority was your portfolio. If your portfolio spoke, it didnt even matter your degree. It seems like now that is bottom of the barrel if your list of programs you know is extensive.

exactly. I never got a degree – got a job right from college and I’ve been working ever since. but that doesn’t matter. I should have known; I’ve been telling folks for years that a degree is handy in the design market. now, it’s almost mandatory. it’s frustrating because I can’t afford to quit and go back to school – kind of hard to do studio art classes online – and frankly, I’m starting to get that “you’re too old” vibe from the past couple of places I’ve looked into. I’ve actually considered cashing out retirement to go back to school, but part of me wants to just get out. I’ve been working since I was 13. I know people work their whole lives and I should be happy to just have a job, but I’m getting a little worn…

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