Graphic design has come a long way in the past 50 years. The industry and this profession have changed more in the last 5 years than during the previous 45 years combined. This pace of change will only continue to accelerate.
What Will Design Jobs of the (not so distant) Future Look Like?
Emphasize Technical Skills as Heavily as Creative Ability
Previously designers came from purely artistic backgrounds. Having artistic talent and inspiration are already not enough in the world of technology we live in today. Moving forward it will only become more important that creatives also be solid technicians working with the latest leading-edge tools.
Include More Opportunities for C-suite Leadership
The most influential companies in the world already understand this. Apple is a perfect example. Every experience customers have in every ecosystem Apple operates is carefully choreographed and curated. Beautiful design will not be an afterthought, but rather strategically implemented in every stage and every level of a business being conceived and designed. Will you be ready to step-up and lead?
Expansion Into New Industries
The way we are interacting every day is changing. Virtual Reality technology is on the verge of an explosion. Some of the most experienced 3-D designers in the world today work in the gaming industry. Many of these will be called upon to work their magic in education, healthcare, and a myriad of other industries. The concept in the movie Avatar is not about some future world we cannot possibly image. It is now.
Human-Centered Design and Artificial Intelligence
In the 1960’s design was all about style. Today design not only needs to look elegant, but it also has to solve technical problems. Design in the future will be intuitive by combining good design with data and AI. These systems will understand human psychology as well as run complex algorithms to navigate a dynamic environment such as a self-driving car on a busy roadway. Design in this realm will even be utilized to solve societal issues such as hunger, poverty, or homelessness. Creatives will play a key role in monumental shifts that will change the entire world as we know it today.
Who Will Lead the Way?
It will be you. A talented, experienced freelancer who works in diverse design settings every day. You are the one they call now when they need inspired design from someone with the latest tools. There are many talented young people in school, and we will need their ideas and inspiration as well, but none of that trumps the wisdom gained by people like you on the tip of the spear every day.
There is a massive gap in STEM education in our schools. Unfortunately, this exists in the creative space as well. As creatives and technologists morph together to become the designers of the future, it will be real-world experience and application of these technologies that will advance the cause.