How Graphic Design Has Changed As Technology Becomes More Democratized

Graphic design has become more in demand than it's ever been, and you can consider technology as the most prolific contributor to this change. The increased prominence of the internet and the higher level of accessibility to more advanced software and technology has created more democratic openings for prospective designers, but it's also created more niches for companies to integrate graphic design into their business models. But that can manifest in any number of ways. Here's how technology is changing the market for designers.

Graphic Designs Transition to a Technological Specialization

While graphic design has become a system synonymous with software platforms like those offered by Adobe, that hasn't always been the case. Graphic design has been with us since the early days of marketing, but it used to be a much different affair. The first phototypesetting machine was developed in 1946, and it would quickly come to change the world of advertising. But while this technology helped give birth to a whole new breed of advertising agencies, the work of a graphic designer was still painstaking. Pasting components together into appealing images required the precise and often tedious task of manually cutting and pasting pictures onto a makeshift canvas. Then there was the process of typesetting, which was a highly specialized and meticulous task even with machine assistance.

Fast forward 70 years, and graphic design is in the midst of a new revolution. The graphic design landscape of today is almost entirely digitized. Relatively inexpensive graphic design platforms allow almost anyone to test out different layouts and fonts with just a few clicks, while desktop publishing software expedites the process of taking a design from the conceptual stage to printed materials. The cost of mistakes are far lower, both in terms of finances and time, and that makes the learning curve significantly less steep than it's ever been.

More Businesses in Need of Graphic Designers

The evolution of technologies behind graphic design has made these services far more accessible to businesses of any stripe. Putting together a successful brand identity or marketing campaign was once incredibly costly, achievable only by a small number of agencies, and reserved for the biggest companies. The prominence of new technological platforms has lowered this bar greatly, making top notch design campaigns possible even for the smallest of businesses. And that's brought with it a landslide of opportunities for designers, opening the doors for designers specializing in a wide range of industries.

A Bevy of Educational Resources

Technological advances have made the task of working as a graphic designer easier, but it's also greatly expanded the opportunities for sharing information. While a traditional degree still holds cache in the industry, designers can learn everything they need without having to invest in higher education. Online learning platforms like Udemy and Skillshare provide a more affordable alternative to traditional academic institutions, while online resources like Grain Edit and the Book Cover archive create plenty of opportunities curated by professionals but more well suited to self-directed and non-traditional learners. Learning the skills of the trade are no longer locked behind tuition, and practically anyone can become a talented professional with nothing but personal drive and a solid internet connection.

The Increasing Irrelevance of Geographical Distance

Succeeding in this industry was once all about location. If you wanted to be profitable and well recognized, you had to settle in a major metropolis where the best clients could be found. But living in the same city as your clients is no longer a prerequisite. A skilled designer can find work regardless of where they live, and they can entertain prospects from clients throughout the world. This means that more provincial designers can get the work they deserve, but it also means that it's easier for companies to get matched to the designers that suit their sensibilities.


The graphic design business has changed in some pretty major ways, but the future is promising. The growth of the industry shows no signs of shrinking any time soon, and that's a good thing for both designers and the companies that need them. And while many are concerned about technological advances like artificial intelligence taking jobs from real life people, that's a change that's unlikely to happen anytime soon. While A.I. can be a great tool for assisting designers, creativity is difficult if not impossible to program.

  Modified On Sep-07-2019 12:19:17 AM

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