Freelance writer and editor from Austin, Texas 🇺🇸
Graphic Designers and Artists are in high demand, but with advancements in software and the growth of the internet, some fear that these jobs will die off.
The graphic arts have evolved over the centuries from a means of communicating to a few to communicating at the speed of light over the internet. Graphic design software has evolved as well into a more user-friendly interface, making graphic design more accessible to computer users with limited computer skills. With all of this user-friendliness, some people wonder if graphic design jobs will become obsolete.
Graphic artists or graphic designers are challenged to use creative ways to communicate ideas to large numbers of people, to make them understandable to a large variety of cultures, using color, texture and form. They conceptualize, plan, analyze and create visual representations of ideas or solutions to problems. They are usually asked to not just follow what others think up, but to create new ideas for old and new thinking and to constantly challenge the "normal" way of doing things to grab the attention of their target audience. With the ever-quickening pace of the world today, graphic designers face the challenge of being a couple of steps ahead of the times to anticipate what will be the next "big idea" in marketing and design.
The term "graphic art" covers more than putting text together with pictures and printing them. The profession of Graphic Design covers printing on paper used for various forms of communication, fabric used in clothing, wall covering, and on billboards, signs, illustrations for books, package design, graphics for cars, buses, trains, planes, visual design, backgrounds, textures, advertisements in all media, web design, software, animations, and a host of other areas. Each medium requires various types of job skills and levels of those skills to complete.
The first known graphic artists were cave dwellers who wanted a way to "advertise" their adventures to other people in their clan. As time progressed and civilization evolved, artists were hired to draw and engrave materials and to paint them by hand and later to use engravings to leave impressions of ink onto material or paper.
In 1439 Johannes Gutenberg invented the first printing press, making the mass production of printed materials more common. Since that time and through huge advancements in technology, graphic art has become a profession that is in high demand for the printing industry with graphic artists and designers producing files that print business cards, letterheads, brochures, magazines, newspapers and various means of communicating information.
In 175 A.D., the emperor of China wanted to have the six main classics of Confucianism carved in stone. Years later, during the second through eighth centuries, Buddhists made charcoal rubbings of these carved texts to have a personal copy for their own study. This is the earliest known example of printing.
People soon realized that if they carved the stone with raised letters and in mirror image of what they wanted, they could put ink on the raised areas and press materials against it to produce clearer, more easily read pieces. Over the next few centuries, graphic design moved from stone to printed books, woodcuts and movable type, all of which required the aid of trained professionals to design the type and art that went along with it.
Since the 1980s and 1990s, as computers and internet usage became more popular, graphic artists' jobs have changed considerably. Graphic Designers are challenged each year as more software and hardware is developed that must be purchased and mastered. Integration of the digital age with printed material is being made quickly but has had its challenges. Computers and specialized software have created a whole new set of graphic art jobs involving web design as well as software and video game development.
The future of the graphic art industry will change considerably over the next few decades and the titles of those people doing the jobs in the industry will most certainly change along with it, but the need for communicating ideas to large numbers of people will always be a necessity. Marketing and media have a constant need for people who are able to create and communicate ideas and as long as this need continues, graphic designers will continue to be in demand.