If you're thinking about switching careers to become a graphic designer, then let me tell you – there has never been a better time. The world is your oyster if you know how to visually communicate ideas that inspire, inform or engage people.
You're in demand too. The creative industries alone rake in £87.4billion each year to the UK economy. In 2015, there were 2.9million creative jobs. And the future is only looking brighter. The UK could become the leading hub for the world's creative industries within a generation, according to the CBI.
We've seen demand for graphic design courses skyrocket over the last five years, with a surge of new students joining us at our Shillington campuses in the UK, Australia and North America.
Still not convinced? Read on to learn why a career in graphic design could be the best decision you've ever made.
1. You'll learn skills that a robot or machine could never do
Millions of UK workers are at risk of being replaced by robots within 15 years, a study claims. It's depressing news for many, but if you learn something that machines could never do, then you'll be future-proofing your career for many decades to come.
Graphic design is creative and requires human-led intelligence and ideas to respond to trends, tastes and what has already been before. It will never be something a robot can mimic. Sure, the technology to create will continue to make our lives easier as designers, but they'll never replace us. Never.
Unless, of course, you believe the predictions of Mark Rolston, co-founder and chief creative officer of Argodesign. In which case, always make sure you adapt, never stop learning and stay ahead of the curve.
On that note, watch this recent talk by design heavyweight Adrian Shaughnessy at Shillington's London campus, which includes his thoughts on graphic design in future and the potential impact of AI.
2. You're satisfying the creative needs of Generation K
You've heard about the Millennials; now it's time to learn about Generation Z – those born between 1995 and 2002. Academic, economist and author Noreena Hertz calls them "Generation K", inspired by Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games. She wrote in her article for The Guardian: "Like Katniss, they feel the world they inhabit is one of perpetual struggle – dystopian, unequal and harsh."
You can't blame them really. They were born in "the shadow of economic decline, job insecurity, increasing inequality and a lack of financial optimism." It's an anxious generation.
But what's interesting about Generation K (along with the Millennials) is that they're hugely creative. They love to make things, hack things, and create something new. They're inspired by everything around them – and this is where you and your graphic design skills come into play.
According to Adam Mack, chief strategy officer, EMEA at PR firm Weber Shandwick, Generation K has an annual spending power of €150 billion in Europe, The Middle East, and Africa alone, so it's most definitely a lucrative target for brands and businesses to sell to. Who better to create the visual communications that will appeal to them? You, that's who.
3. Design and branding matters more now
Whilst we're on the subject of Katniss Everdeen and Generation K, you should know that these people don't trust brands or traditional big business. Which is why design and branding matter more than ever before.
The need to create visuals that will attract and win over this tough crowd will ensure design is treated with the respect it deserves. It will be your job as a designer to help win hearts and minds through your creativity. How exciting is that!
4. It's easier than ever before to design for yourself
Technology is cheaper and more accessible. The Internet offers a wealth of inspiration and ongoing learning. Feedback from others can be found in an instant. There has literally never been a better time to design for yourself. Heck, you can even start your own side business and sell your own greeting cards if that's what you want to do.
In fact, once you become a graphic designer, you'll find that your new-found skills will translate to many other parts of your life. You can get really creative once you have an eye for layouts, symmetry, grids and lines.
5. There's never been a better time to live and work overseas
If you're feeling adventurous and want to secure a job overseas, then graphic design is in demand everywhere. In Australia, it's a profession that gives you a good chance of qualifying for a skilled visa.
If you don't fancy a permanent move, then why not study graphic design overseas and enjoy a taste of travelling. At Shillington, we supply all the information you need to get the ball rolling, and we have campuses in six locations around the world, including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and New York.
6. You live in a time when millions could see your work
If showing off is your thing, and you want to see your name (or work) in lights, then graphic design is a huge boost to the ego. Your designs could literally be seen by millions – online, on the street, in newspapers and magazines, on packaging. The world's eyes will be on your creativity. And there's something truly magical about that.
7. You'll be able to survive many twists and turns during your career
Gone are the days when you could enjoy a "job for life". Today, you'll be lucky if you can stay anywhere for more than five years. Reassuringly, graphic design gives you skills that are in demand and can apply to many different career paths. They're transferable. One minute you could be working at a design studio, the next – you're working in-house for a large brand. At time of writing this article, there are over a thousand jobs in graphic design on Monster UK.
8. You'll problem-solve every day, boosting your brain power for a longer life
According to the latest findings in Neuroscience, your brain reaches its peak performance between 16-25 years, and that's when cognitive functioning declines. Bummer. The good news is that we can train our brain to perform better. It's a muscle, after all, and therefore needs regular exercise.
Well, graphic design makes your brain very active. It forces you to problem-solve every day, which challenges you and consequently ensures you're performing at your best capacity. If you want to keep your brain strong, healthy and perhaps smarter, then graphic design can help.
9. In dark times, you'll be able to absorb beautiful, creative things
The world is most definitely a dark place right now. But despite this, there is always something to smile about. Graphic design gives us the daily opportunity to embrace our surroundings, think creatively and absorb the most beautiful things life has to offer.
It's a wonderful career – one that you could argue doesn't even feel like a job. From thinking up colour palettes and solving the next big problem... from choosing the perfect font to happily agonising over the best-weighted paper... graphic design is a wonderful thing.
10. You'll learn the ropes to go freelance if you want to
Apart from refining your typography skills and understanding how to translate a sentiment into an appealing brochure, a career in graphic design will most likely teach you how to be your own boss.
Many designers learn the ropes of entrepreneurship when they work for a studio or agency, particularly if the company is small and they get to see first-hand the daily struggles and challenges.
You might find one day that you fancy a little more independence by going freelance. It worked for David Sedgwick, it can work for you too. The benefits of freelancing can be endless. It won't be easy, that's for sure. But isn't it reassuring to know that if the robots haven't taken over in future, you can look forward to a different path – one of many routes open to you, now that you're a graphic designer? What a great time to be creative.
Main image: Courtesy of Adobe Stock