Two years ago, when the global pandemic known as Covid-19 began to appear, most of the world began to wonder how this would impact not only their daily lives but also their professional lives. From a daily life perspective, the impact was huge. Forced to lockdown, designers created makeshift offices in the corners of their home and polished up their zoom skills. Everyone braced for the uncertainty the next year would bring. Business owners, contractors and full-time designers mostly feared for the worst.
How did the pandemic change graphic design?
While the early stages of the pandemic brought uncertainty, soon the influx of government assistance to individuals and companies would bring opportunity. We see companies flush with cash to pay employees as well make investments in growth. This means opportunities for contractors and businesses alike. Companies receive SBA loans, PPP loans and Economic Disaster funding. Soon this funding makes its way into the corporate world. The explosion of digital advertising, e-commerce and website design & marketing is prime for a revolution. The design world sees a direct benefit to this.
Digital design skills are in-demand
Now more than ever, digital designers and art directors are in high-demand. Marketing budgets that once were hesitant to part with deliverables like print and direct mail have no choice but to move marketing and advertising dollars and embrace digital. Skillsets that include web-development, SEO, Google Analytics specialist, mobile application development and UX experience are some of the most coveted traits to have at the moment.
Will the demand for digital skillsets continue?
In one word, absolutely. The pandemic has accelerated the transition into digital. Previous generations have embraced technology and are prime opportunities for advertisers and marketers to reach.
Digital, along with everything else, has become expensive
Much like everything post-pandemic, the dollars required to create and publish digital campaigns has increased in price. For example, Google advertising is much more expensive vs. pre-pandemic. The increase in users willing to purchase goods and services has gone up and so has the price to reach them. Google Adwords, while effective, is now borderline unattainable for small business budgets. LinkedIn, while effective at creating leads for B2B is perhaps the most expensive of the bunch. As a result, entire departments are now more likely to dedicate dollars for expanding audiences through free social channels vs. paid advertisements. Although paid ads have proven to be effective, they are highly costly in terms of conversions. The most effective paid ads are usually reserved for only high-profit items due to conversion cost.
What can graphic design expect for the future?
We personally hope that from a creative perspective, it allows individuals to continue doing what they love and make a good living. Creatives have a passion to create, and digital design is nearly limitless from that perspective. A single designer can build a fully functional business from the comfort of their home office. An interesting development in design is specifically in the world of NFT’s. Graphic design skills are being showcased in full-effect with the introduction and popularization of NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea. More on that in the next post, but right now, it is an exciting time to be a graphic designer.