You’ve always been naturally creative. You were the one getting in trouble in grade school for doodling illustrations on your math homework instead of paying attention to the long-division problem on the chalkboard. As you got older, it’s more than likely that you excelled in art class—and not only that, but you also enjoyed it!
If you’re considering becoming a graphic designer, you’ve picked an excellent career to mull over. Graphic designers create visual concepts to communicate ideas that inspire and inform customers. They generally use computer software, but many graphic designers are pretty handy in the drawing department as well. These skills can be used to make a decent living—in 2016, the median salary for graphic designers was $47,640, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).*
But salary isn’t the only thing that matters. There are plenty of perks that come with being a graphic designer—both job-related and lifestyle related. So what’s in store for you if you choose this career path? Are the benefits of this job the type of advantages you’re looking for? Read on to learn more about the bonuses that come with being a graphic designer.
8 perks of being a graphic designer
1. You can find employment in any industry
Nearly every company in the world needs to promote their brand. This means that they need a logo, brand guidelines and tons of other important visual materials to support it. This means there’s plenty of opportunity to work for clients across a wide variety of industries—one day you may be whipping up a promotional poster for a charity event; the next you could be working on a logo for a healthcare company.
Adding to this potential variety is the huge market for web graphics. No matter the industry, a website and social media presence are essential for developing a brand—which means plenty of projects for graphic designers.
2. You can work in multiple environments
If you’re looking to work in a specific kind of work environment, then the world’s your oyster when it comes graphic design. You may find yourself as part of a small, in-house team working strictly for a single client or in a fast-paced agency environment that works with multiple clients with their own distinct visual feel. Freelancing is also an option for designers, so if you’d like to work from home, that’s a possibility as well. Each of these work environments have their pros and cons, so be sure to read up on the differences.
3. You can choose to be self-employed
Do you have the entrepreneurial itch? Many designers find that they prefer to be their own boss and choose to start their own freelance business. Not only does this mean you can work from home or your local coffee shop, but it also means you can set your own prices and hours.
Keep in mind, however, that with the freedom of self-employment comes the responsibility of all the administrative work that comes with being your own boss: sending invoices, following up with clients, setting aside money for taxes and more. It might not be for everyone, but many do find this trade off completely worth the extra administrative work.
4. You have many specialties to choose from
Graphic designers can specialize in a certain type of design if they’d like: typography, web design, illustration, user experience design, app design and more. A specialization will make you an in-demand team member or freelancer; however, if you’re skilled in a variety of these areas, you’ll also be in demand because of your versatility.
5. You’ll never get bored
When it comes to graphic design, there are always new technologies and trends to learn. Style and aesthetic change so quickly in American culture, and technology shifts and evolves just as quickly. If you want to stay relevant, it’s essential to keep up with the times and make sure you’re ready for whatever is up and coming. Having a curious mind and a teachable spirit will take you a long way in this profession.
6. You can express yourself
Designers get to express their creativity on a regular basis—it’s the essence of the job! You’ve got plenty of creative ideas and concepts you’d like to experiment with, and this job allows you to give them a chance. While your clients’ needs will likely still keep some of your more extravagant creative impulses in check, it’s still satisfying to create something visually appealing and unique to you.
7. You can create things for yourself, friends and family without having to outsource
Chances are good that, at some point, someone in your circle of friends and family will need a logo, t-shirt design, website or some other design venture that you could be able to help out with. Through your design skills, you won’t need to hire someone to create your wedding invitations or design your business logo—your skills make you a built-in bonus for those around you.
Be careful not to let people take advantage of you, however. There’s a time and place for favors, but if someone is repeatedly coming to you for work you could make money doing, be sure to set some boundaries.
8. You have concrete proof of your abilities
One overlooked, yet appealing aspect of being a graphic designer is that the job is absolutely a “show me” career. You can display your best work in a portfolio to calm any concerns a potential client may have about your abilities. Having tangible proof of your abilities is an asset—accountants can’t really showcase their ability to handle complex tax law. Graphic designers have the ability to prove their skills—which puts the power in your hands. If you want to show you’ve got a knack for typography, you can create examples instead of trying to list it as a bullet point on a resume.
But is it worth it?
Now that you’ve read about some of the perks of being a graphic designer, it’s probably just as clear to you as it is to us: This profession has a lot going for it.
These perks are all a great start, but earning a graphic design degree and launching a career is a big step that needs careful consideration. If you’re thinking of making that step, consider doing some more research and check out our article, “Is a Graphic Design Degree Worth It or Worthless?” to find out more.
*Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.