Here’s what we know: 2024 is an exciting year for graphic design! Don’t just take our word for it – the numbers say it too. This year, the graphic design industry in the U.S. is valued at $16.9 billion despite inflation and the economic slowdown. 

What does this mean for you? Consumers are spending more, and businesses are using interactive, eye-catching visuals to attract them. And that’s where your skills come in. In fact, our internal data reveals that graphic design is one of the most in-demand skills today – a reflection of broader market trends.  

You have highly valuable skills to offer, and choosing a role that’s right for you is a significant decision. Here’s a primer on picking the ideal graphic design role and navigating the job search process. 

Understanding the Industry

The internet and ongoing technological innovations continue to reshape the media landscape. With print media on the decline, companies are investing more in digital advertising. 

This is good news because technological disruptions benefit you in two clear ways:

  1. They lower the barriers to entry. We’re talking more tools, resources and access. 

  2. You can leverage innovations to create compelling visuals on different mediums in new ways.

Even the employment stats seem promising. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 3% growth in graphic design employment from 2022 to 2032, equating to 22,800 openings for graphic designers each year, on average.

What does this mean for you? In short, your role is important and will continue to be because good designs matter now more than ever. 

Essential Skills for Graphic Designers

As a new creative, you likely have many questions. What skills should you hone? What capacity should you work in? After all, whether you’re designing logos, brochures, websites, ads or social content, there’s a kaleidoscope of software applications and career paths to choose from. 

We’ve got you covered – let’s explore some skills to develop and steps you can take.

Degree Alternatives

First things first: How do you get started if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design? It’s simple. You can take various online courses (on platforms like Coursera or Udemy) tailored to specific areas of interest or more general ones on basic design software. 

Mastering the Adobe Creative Suite

The Adobe Creative Suite is an industry standard. So, mastery of it will open many doors for you. Start with the basics: Photoshop for photo editing and manipulation, Illustrator for vector graphics and illustration and InDesign for layout and publication design. Get ahead of the competition by becoming proficient in Adobe’s new AI-based programs like Firefly. This will help you create a wide range of visual content and make your profile far more appealing to prospective employers. 

Branding Yourself as an Expert

As you look for the ideal role for you, branding yourself as an expert within your professional niche is a must. Build a portfolio showcasing your unique style and capabilities and highlight your strengths in areas like logo design, typography and visual storytelling. It’s best to also highlight past projects that you have contributed to, noting successful implementation points. Doing this can help you attract clients/employers who align with your design philosophy.

Focus and Career Path

Graphic design is a broad field. So, it’s best to focus on building expertise in certain areas rather than trying to master everything. This will enable you to carve out a niche for yourself and develop a unique skill set, making you more valuable to potential employers or clients. 

Also, practice creating content for digital publications, devices and video entertainment. Combining your digital skills with traditional print media experience will give you an edge.

As you gain experience, you can aim for advanced roles in the long term, like senior designer, art director or creative director, which require a combination of creative talent, strategic thinking and leadership skills. 

Learning Motion Design Basics

General knowledge of motion design is a “nice to have” for graphic designers in today’s multimedia landscape. Especially now, you’ll find that companies want to add motion graphics to their marketing and communication strategies. 

Even if it’s not your primary focus, understanding the basics of tools like After Effects can make you more versatile (and add a fun dimension to your work!). Because graphic design and motion design use many of the same methodologies, principles and tools, the learning curve isn’t very steep!

Understanding UX Design Basics

Not every graphic designer implements UX design into their work or has to. However, having a basic understanding of UX principles is becoming increasingly valuable, especially if you want to design digital products like websites or apps. It can enhance your ability to create visually appealing and user-friendly designs. This, in turn, will help you build seamless experiences that users enjoy interacting with.

Landing Your Dream Role

Breaking into the industry may seem challenging. But with the right approach and mindset, you can increase your chances of landing a great job. Here are some tips to do just that.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Graphic design roles can be competitive, particularly remote-based positions. Don’t let this discourage you. Here are some strategies you can employ:

  • Analyze job postings: When you see a job you want, don’t hit “apply” immediately. Analyze the job description and the company’s specific preferences. Then, apply your insights to create tailored mock-ups of its branding. This will help showcase your skills and genuine interest in the company.

  • Tailor your portfolio: Customize your resume and portfolio to the job you’re applying for. Include projects that reflect the style and type of work the company typically produces.

Be Open to Hybrid or Onsite Roles

While remote positions are in high demand, consider applying for hybrid or onsite roles too. Working in a hybrid role can provide you with professional experience within an organizational setting, which many employers value. 

Be Flexible

What if you find a hybrid or onsite role that excites you but offers lower pay than you anticipated? Sometimes, starting at a lower pay rate at a reputable company can be a strategic move. It allows you to gain industry experience while developing your skills.

Leverage Networking

Engage with graphic design communities on platforms like LinkedIn, Behance and Facebook. Also, attending events and workshops will help you learn about industry best practices and trends. 

If you’re starting out, offering free services might be one way to gain experience and build credibility. This will also help you build a portfolio and could translate to referrals and potential job opportunities.

Build Relevant Experience

Many employers seek candidates with a few years of professional experience beyond internships or freelance work. They’d like to see that you can navigate organizational settings and collaborate with other professional designers. 

So, aim to gain experience through full-time, part-time or volunteer opportunities. Showcase that you can multitask and adapt. On your resume, ensure you highlight the average number of projects you managed weekly to demonstrate your workload capacity and efficiency.


Graphic design as a discipline stands strong and leading-edge graphic designers are in demand. With businesses prioritizing great visuals, your expertise is key. Learn core and emerging software, stay current with technology, refine your skills, and navigate the job market strategically. Creating effective designs is more than simply colorful visuals with a creative look. You are a brand storyteller whose expertise is needed and more important than ever, so seize this opportunity to advance your career.