14 Pros and Cons of Being a Graphic Designer

Graphic Designer

Advertisements, packaging, newspaper pages, and magazine covers are just some of the countless projects graphic designers create.

They consider visual elements ranging from white space to interactive web pages and even typography.

Those with computer skills and artistic talent make some of the best graphic designers.

For many, graphic design is a rewarding and exciting career, but may not be the best option for everyone.

There are numerous pros and cons to entering every field imaginable, so it is important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of graphic design to understand if this is the right career for you.

Keep reading to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of entering this field!

Pros of Being a Graphic Designer

There are many pros to being a graphic designer, with the most common being:

1. Can Benefit from Social Sites

As a graphic designer, you have an excellent opportunity to utilize social media channels to promote your portfolio.

Many of the best graphic designers began as regular employees who shared their designs on the internet.

These same individuals become famous because of social network sharing.

Therefore, if you wish to show your designs to the world, which includes future potential employers, you can utilize these free channels and even quickly build a respectable audience.

2. Can Freelance

If you are a really good graphic designer and want to make some extra cash after finishing your day job, you can make excellent money by freelancing for companies, small businesses, universities, non-profits, or anyone who needs your services.

More than enough jobs exist for freelance graphic designers, which means you have the opportunity for steady extra income.

3. Can Work from Home

While many careers exist where you physically must be in the office, lab, field, or on-site, graphic design is not one of them.

In addition to enjoying a cozy work environment at home with a nice cup of Joe or tea, you get to avoid the weather elements that many other jobs must work through.

Also, you get to use modern technologies at home meaning your work life will be as convenient as you want it to be.

4. Get to be Creative at Work

Another benefit graphic designers enjoy is the ability to be creative at work.

You must be creative to succeed in this field, so if you’re passionate about design, this is the best place to be.

Since you have some creative flexibility, your job will never become bored, and being at work will not feel like work!

This is not something most can say about their careers.

5. High Earning Potential

Although most enter the field because they have a passion for design, it can also be a lucrative field.

Most graphic designers do not become rich, but most make enough to cover basic expenses and have a great life.

Since graphic designers make a little more than the average individual, it is not a bad financial choice to enter the field.

If you work hard and have a great flair for design then it is certainly possible to make six-figure incomes, especially in larger cities.

6. Receive Applaud for your Work

One of the best advantages to entering this field and creating impactful and eye-catching designs is you will receive appreciation for your work.

As a creator of visual representations, your work will be seen by countless individuals, which gives a lot of exposure and recognition to your career.

Regardless of if you are designing marathon medals, a new logo, or company brand standards, many will notice and compliment your work.

Additionally, you get to always see the fruits of your labors, which is not something that most can say about their jobs.

7. Use Analytical and Creative Brain

One of the most interesting aspects of becoming a graphic designer is the ability to use your left and right brain to create.

The left brain is typically reserved for the more analytical aspects of your thinking, while the right brain is your creative side.

As a graphic designer, you are finding creative ways to form graphics and shape logos, while considering how to use different tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

Also, most projects have numbers and dimensions, which are critical aspects of proper sizing.

Furthermore, if you are a freelancer, you need your right brain to determine how to track earnings for taxes, send invoices, and manage your company.

Cons of Being a Graphic Designer

While many pros to becoming a graphic designer exist, you must also consider the disadvantages before entering this field.

These include:

1. A Degree is Required

Regardless of your talent, most companies require a degree if you want to work as a graphic designer.

In turn, you must spend tremendous amounts of money and time on education, so you must be positive this is the career you want to pursue before diving into a multi-year program.

The overall investment you must make upfront is large.

2. Could Feel Lonely

Graphic designers work in a bubble for most of their careers, and if you are working from home, this loneliness feeling can only be magnified.

There will be few collaboration opportunities with colleagues since you will be working on your projects only.

That problems related to social isolation could emerge over time.

3. Demanding and Critical Clients

Facing critical and demanding clients is probably the most difficult aspect of graphic design.

Remember, graphic designers, are creating to please themselves.

Instead, they must work within specific guidelines, which means understanding what the client requires, sticking to a budget, and delivering a final product that meets all expectations.

If the client is not impressed with your design solution, you must accept criticism and try again.

There will be significant back-and-forth with clients on major projects, so your first design will not be your last.

The process involves negotiating with clients, managing their demands, and remaining professional while working toward a solution.

Few have this type of temperament.

4. Highly Competitive Career

Graphic design is a highly competitive field since there are numerous freelance designers and agencies.

That means you must market yourself to have any shot at winning a project.

It is a catch-22, you must have a portfolio to gain work but cannot create a portfolio without having the work.

Therefore, if you are searching for ways to add to your portfolio, you can add design projects from an internship, or school.

Also, countless organizations will take free designs and you gain experience.

5. Jobs Could be Outsourced

Although the job market for graphic designers is currently rather good, this could take a slide in the future due to outsourcing projects to low-wage countries.

Employees in third-world countries will do the job for a fraction of their wage, which gives companies incentive to move the work outside of the United States.

If you become really good at your role, then you will continue to have decent prospects.

6. Results Take Time

Although you may have incredible and impactful designs, you may not see the results of your hard work as fast as in other positions.

In many instances, you work on projects for months before producing valuable results.

If you work for a major company, this can take even longer due to the number of sign-offs required and any production that needs to be completed based on your design.

This can be incredibly frustrating, especially for those just entering the field since you won’t receive immediate satisfaction.

7. Work All Day on a Computer

Some graphic designers must work in the classic office environment for some or all workdays.

While a hybrid model of being part-time in the office and part-time working from home continues to develop, you will still be on a computer all day, regardless of your location.

Staring at a computer screen all day can strain your eyes over the long term, which can make you tired, or burn you out over time.

Pros and Cons of Being a Graphic Designer – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Graphic DesignerCons of Being a Graphic Designer
1. Can Benefit from Social Sites1. A Degree is Required
2. Can Freelance2. Could Feel Lonely
3. Can Work from Home3. Demanding and Critical Clients
4. Get to be Creative at Work4. Highly Competitive Career
5. High Earning Potential5. Jobs Could be Outsourced
6. Receive Applaud for your Work6. Results Take Time
7. Use Analytical and Creative Brain7. Work All Day on a Computer

Should you become a Graphic Designer?

Becoming a graphic designer takes an elevated level of creativity, attention to detail, and logic, with an even-keel temperament when the client criticizes your work and requests 100s of changes.

With, most careers do not allow for this level of creativity and when you finally nail the exact design the client wants, you will receive extensive recognition.

If you are thinking of becoming a graphic designer, it is critical to weigh the pros and cons while understanding if this is the type of work environment and projects you want to work on for decades.

Jamie Willis