10 Benefits of Being a Graphic Artist

Articles May 11, 2009

1. Express Your Creativity

Probably the most important benefit of being a graphic artist is the ability to express your creativity, while still earning a great living. Many artists are moving towards graphic design because it’s easier to make a living as a graphic designer than it is in areas such as fine art.

More Graphic Artist Benefits


If fine art is your passion than you should pursue your passion, but being a graphic artist is very rewarding and you can still work in fine art and other areas. I loved both computers and art so graphic art seemed to be a good combination of the two for me, but I still dabble in fine art such as painting in my free time.

2. Web or Print Flexibility

The cool thing about being a graphic artist is that you have different mediums just like in fine art. The two big ones being print and web. Web is obviously more recent and still relatively new. If you get into web design and you can pick up programming skills such as html, css and php you will open up an entire new world of job opportunities for yourself.

Being a graphic artist will allow you to branch off into other skill sets easily that can dramatically increase your freelance or business grow potential.

3. Huge Client Base

Some businesses have a limited client base, but every business needs a graphic artist. If a business is going to do marketing than some one is going to need to design those marketing materials. As long as businesses keep growing and new ones keep appearing, then graphic artists will always have plenty of work. Because of this, the competition is getting rougher every day, so you will need to work much harder to stand out from the crowd.

4. Freelance

My favorite part about the graphic art career is the ability to easily do freelance work online. There are tons of places to find freelance work on the Internet and you can make some incredible money from the comfort of your own home in your free time.

5. Run Your Own Studio

If you have ever dreamed of having your own studio or office than you could turn your freelance business into a larger operation and begin running your own studio. This is a great option if you want to play the role of manager or art director and gain a lot more exposure by doing graphic artwork for very large brands, not to mention making more money!

6. Work In-House

If you are not ready to freelance or run your own studio you can always work full-time for some one else. Working In-House can give you the stability you need for peace of mind. Some designers worry about their creativity being limited in-house and this can happen, but you need to take a look at the benefits and disadvantages to make the right choice.

There are plenty of other ways to lets your creative energy run wild while not working in-house so don’t get too caught up about having more limits on what you can and can’t do. Its just part of doing business!

7. Easy to Get Into

If you have a decent computer and a few Adobe programs you are pretty much ready to rumble! After that it’s all about creativity, hard work, self growth and networking to name a few things. Compared to other careers being a graphic artist could be seen a pretty low cost career to get into as opposed to say starting a landscaping business where you would need a truck and tons of expensive equipment and other materials.

8. You can Learn on Your Own

While I do recommend going to school for graphic design, many amazing graphic artists learned on their own. If you practice enough at home, study other art, practice tutorials, read books and really have a passion for design you can learn on your own. The big benefit of going to school is having teachers to guide you and critique your work, so if you learn yourself you need to be able to gauge what your current skill level is and understand what areas you need improvement in.

9. Few Expenses

Another great thing about being a freelance graphic artist is that there are few business expenses. If you have a computer and software already than there isn’t much else you need to spend money on. If you are going to handle printing for clients you would work this into the total project quote and the same goes for stuff like buying stock images or hiring an illustrator for a project.

You might have some web expenses such as website hosting and maybe a marketing budget, but overall costs should be pretty low if your a freelancing, which means more profits for you!

10. Easy Online Marketing

The design community is incredibly rich online. I have never seen so many different useful and unique sites for an online niche before. The design community is full of great forums, blogs, gallery sites, organizations, tutorials sites and much more. There are so many ways to market your skills online its not even funny. It just takes a little a bit of time and energy to make the most of the web.

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Cadence is You The Designer's senior blogger, and the most jack-of-all-trades of the staff. She's always trying out something different every day, some of which fuels her posts here on the blog. Let her know if you want us to post more about your favorite topic - she might know more than a thing or two about it!

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  • rd

    Untrained graphic artists are the bane of my existence; it may be easy to get into, but there would be a lot better design out there if everybody didn’t just go ahead and decide they were designers.

  • http://www.trulyace.com Amanda Vlahakis

    I have to agree that all of all of the creative jobs one could pursue, graphic design is probably one the most achievable roles to make a career out of.

    With many of the other creative pursuits such as fine art, sculpture, fashion and more … it’s incredibly difficult to make a full time living from or even break into such careers to start with.

    No wonder graphic design is such a popular option, because yes, there is always plenty of work and one doesn’t need to rely on catching a ‘big break’ to make a living from this career.

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk/ rory

    When was 16 I made a decision Fine Art or Graphic Design…..?!?!?

    I choose Graphics and have never looked back. Now I’m working as a web designer but I still class myself as a Graphic Designer, so much more work in Graphics than Fine Art your skills can really cross over into all kinds of industries, ‘everyone needs something designing’.

    Great article, there are lots of benefits to be a Graphic Artist. I don’t work in a bank is one!

  • http://www.blog.clickpreston.com Preston Lee

    Not sure I agree with number 7. Just becuase I own a scalpel, doesn’t make me a doctor, just because I can type, doesn’t mean I am a writer. Just becuase you splurge on an expensive apple computer and the latest creative suite, doesn’t automatically make you a designer.

    I know there’s a lot to learn on our own but computers and software won’t teach that to you. While it CAN be done, I recommend some sort of formal education.

  • http://twitter.com/VizionThree Silver Firefly

    @RD True but you can spot the novices from the pros. Even the novices can call themselves designers because that is what they do, the difference is that they’re inexperienced and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as they recognise that and continue to push themselves to improve.

  • http://fresharea.blogspot.com Vincent

    Hmm… this post ensure me to continue my school in Design field. Thanks. Great Post!

  • http://www.hollagraphics.com Donald Wooten II

    One of the hardest things about being a Graphic Designer are OTHER DESIGNERS. Everybody’s a critic and graphic designers tend to think they are they only ones that can do anything right. I am so ecstatic that you have a background in oil painting or you’ve sculpted over seas, but if someone does SIMPLE better than you and that’s what the client wants, that’s where it ends. What makes it worse is that arrogance is a folder we all get put in. Do what you do well and stop fixating on who isn’t. Better yet, pay attention to those who are stellar. Less Divas, More leaders…..a PSA from Hollagraphics Design Services.

  • http://www.inowweb.com/ flash design

    i t will explore your creativity.

  • Pablo

    I thought it’s gonna be all about hot chicks and lots of money =P

  • http://www.trustycovers.com/ eBook Covers

    I completely agree with your article, and learned some great new reasons for being a graphic designer as well. I design ebook covers more than anything now, but I still enjoy diversifying with other areas that fascinate me. I find the web to be a great place for graphic designers as there is, as I think someone else said, a plentiful supply of work to be done on the web. Thanks for the great read here, I’ll be back!

  • http://style-nova.blogspot.com Jillian

    @RD this is true… however you don’t necessarily need to have a degree in design to be good at it! I am not formally trained, I am self taught actually and I do think you can become good at what you do if you have an eye for design. I also think that MOST people who do this think it’s a “cool” career and do NOT have that creative eye and ruin it for the rest of us.

    It is very sad to say, but just because you can function in photoshop doesn’t make you a designer or an artist! So that part I do agree with!

  • http://www.trustycovers.com/ Kieren @ eBook Covers Service

    As I’ve stated previously, this includes some of the good list of reasons why I chose to become a graphic designer full time. I enjoy the work. I also enjoy running a few blogs similar to this one, and doing some marketing on the side. Unfortunately it all takes a lot of time though! You pointed out some extra points I certainly agree with, and there were a few things I was not already aware of. Except I do not agree with the part about it being easy to market online. So many people hate any form of marketing it seems, even if it is genuine, friendly and ethically done to benefit all involved. Other than that I’ve found your blog to be very useful.

  • http://sonnydesign.com sonnydesign

    i agree, as a graphic artist you can really earn a lot. Before i worked for a company but i decided to be a freelancer and that is absolutely the best decision i ever made. I earn a lot from doing freelance job and now i have my small web and graphic design studio.

  • Annie Kuhn

    This was very helpful. I am thinking about going into graphic arts as a second career. I’ve been a teacher for the last 25 years and just want to do art. Oh, yea and make some money…

  • Crusoe

    I entered my degree in graphics under the delusion that all I needed from the university was a piece of paper to verify my own “self taught excellence”. I felt I knew it all already, before even starting the course. This was because I’d tinkered about with Photoshop done a load of tutorials and could produce some attractive images. I just saw college as a formality to certify what I thought I already knew, so I could get a better job.

    Needless to say my lecturers soon took me clean off my delusional high horse. Yes, I was already producing some pretty slick images, which delighted my image-making lecturer. But that was one small part of the course. I soon had several lecturers land me squarely back down to Earth. In particular my typography lecturers.

    I loved doing tutorials that enabled me to do cool new PS effects, I did not however dedicate any real amount of time to doing typography and layout tutorials, beyond hunting for fonts and experimenting with superfluous type treatments.

    Sure I had books of other designer’s typographic work which I parroted, but like self-taught designer David Carson says, you have to understand the rules before you can break them; I didn’t understand them, I just mimicked people who did.

    Few self-taught designers are as interested in truly pushing themselves into the less immediately rewarding areas of proper layout and typographic study as people like David Carson, he is the exception not the rule. A cursory glance at the litany of horrendous examples of incompetent typography littering our visual landscape is testament to this. Typography and layout represent the glue that holds design together, not photoshop.

  • Nicole Walker

    It’s great to know basics and to have adobe products on hand to work on projects etc. But from experience it is a must to pick a good school known for that degree. It reflects on your work when you get out of college.

  • http://www.daddydesign.com daddy design

    great article.. ty!