Why Artists are Putting their Brush Down and Picking up Photoshop

You may think you have never heard of Rob Janoff. Or Carolyn Davidson or Ruth Kedar. But when you see an apple logo with a bite taken out of it, you recognize Rob Janoff’s creation. If you’ve ever worn athletic shoes with a Nike symbol on the heel you’re familiar with Carolyn Davidson’s work. And if you’ve ever typed a question into a search bar under the words “Google” you’ve seen the art of Ruth Kedar. All three are artists whose work in graphics turned into some of the most recognizable images on the planet.

Graphic Design is a Smart Move for the Artistic

Everyone’s heard of Warhol, VanGogh, and Picasso. Unfortunately, creating their type of enduring artistic fame is rare and as we learn from their stories…very stressful. That’s why a lot of job-seekers with a visual eye choose to make a living in graphic design where income and success are less unpredictable. VanGogh may have suffered for his brilliance, but you don’t have to lose an ear to have a successful and “artsy” career.

The Need for Designers

From humble gum wrappers to huge billboards to the T-shirt you’re wearing, graphic design informs, persuades, organizes, stimulates, locates, identifies, attracts and provides pleasure. So says AIGA (also known as the American Institute of Graphic Arts).

Graphic design exists and is needed in all aspects of publishing and business. From the start-up business that needs a new look, to the advertising agency that specializes in complex web-design. Those who can sketch, draw, envision and create are in demand to assist the rest of the populace that barely manage to scribble the doomed figure in Hangman.

Be a Designer with Skills

A graphic designer is more than a pretty picture maker. There is a broad skill-set required to be successful in this career.

A designer should be able to do the following:

  • Communicate a message through color, text, and images
  • Understand how the eye speaks to the brain and follows a pattern or process
  • Can create an “eye-path” through a design to control the way consumers see, read, and digest information.
  • Help others understand the psychology behind art
  • Be patient with clients and can “sell” them an idea
  • Be detail oriented and have an editing eye
  • Know design programs like they know their limbs.

Creating an Image for Clients: “I’m with the brand”

Businesses need more than a logo. Businesses forge identities through their names and logos but also through color and font selection. If you see a box of gradated sky blue, your brain will tell you “American Express” before you ever read a word. When you see text written in Myriad Pro Semi-bold you know you’re talking Mac and not PC. This is the power of branding, and possessing a visual identity so strong that a customer recognizes it in a microsecond is a highly coveted business communication tool.

Good Fit, Bad Fit? Would You Like a Design Career?

When does a creative person translate well to graphic design? If you believe that art, color and visual organization are fundamental to communication in whatever form, then graphic design may be a good choice for you. However, if creativity is a means for global expression and the idea of subjecting it to approval and deadlines makes you cringe, then the profession may not be your best niche.

Graphic designers are also artists- they possess a skill and visual awareness that many other people do not. However, they work for many clients who are artistically challenged and are constantly under pressure to create and communicate work in a way they will understand. As a result, there is very little room for an inflated ego. Graphic design is client-based, so the idea that the customer is always right is a big part of the job, even when you think the customer is dead wrong about a design.

Design and redesign (and redesign again) are part of the gig, and deadlines are par for the course. A graphic designer is an artist for hire, which may mean finding creativity even when you don’t feel it. You work with people and your work has financial value.

A Job Worth a Look

So if you’ve been wondering how to turn your artist’s eye into steady numbers in your bank account, put down the charcoal pencil and take a look at your graphic design options. Artists are essential to the world of media and publishing. So you don’t have to starve, and you don’t have to wear clothes covered in paint. Unless you really, really want to.

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