Should You Learn Web Design?
Back when I graduated about ten years ago, I would have said no, with confidence. The problem with that is that right after I graduated, employers started looking for people who were experienced with both print and web design. This is a tough debate, considering there are a lot of designers out there who would like to keep the two fields separated. Let’s take a look at both and we’ll easily arrive at an answer.
Graphic design encompasses identity design, logo design, print design, brochures, flyers, business cards, and anything related to print. this includes signs, environmental graphics and more. There are jobs out there that focus mainly on these areas of design, but they are few and far between. It’s tough to find a job in the design field anyway, considering the field is pretty saturated with people and businesses offering their services.
It’s a Double Edged Sword
What I mean by that is: Do you want a job immediately? The catch 22 in this is the fact that in order to get one of those cushy jobs where you work mainly on print design, identity projects, branding, etc., you have to have experience and work your way up. The problem is that you need a job to get the experience. Most of the jobs that are available right now require the knowledge of both areas of design. In other words, you can’t get the job without the experience, and you can’t get the experience without the job.
The Market Has Changed
No longer are print designers paid good money to do their work. Unless you specialize in something specific like logo design, you’ll have trouble charging $50 per hour to do anything print related. You can charge by the job, but you’ll need to get some decent clients and build a good client list to pay the bills.
Web design tends to pay more, because it requires a little more technical expertise than the average person is comfortable with. You can easily bill at $50 per hour without any haggling on their end. Web design projects are more involved, but they pay more. Honestly, that’s where the money is.
It Will Only Benefit You
Knowing web design isn’t going to have a downside. Whether you do it full time, or you supplement your print design skills with web design skills, it won’t hurt to have them. Everything seems to be web based now. If you can build your own website, you can promote yourself a lot easier than if you don’t. Understanding how to create beautiful web graphics and sites that are SEO friendly will only help your business.
If you learn web design, you can build websites, your own landing pages, and you can drive sales to your business much more effectively. 10 years ago, people still opened the Yellow Pages to look for a business. Now, they hop on their smart phones and Google it or ask Siri. Having your business listed in web directories, and having a website that ranks locally for your industry will drive many more sales than any print ad I can imagine.
If you ask me directly if I think graphic designers should learn web design, I would definitely say yes! Ignoring the main source of income available is like living in denial. You have to use everything to your advantage to market yourself, your skills, and your business. Web design skills are a lucrative skill set that can bring you a stable income that print design alone can’t match. It will only open up more opportunities for you to get your name out there.