Are Print Designers Doomed? An Important Look at the Facts

by on 18th July 2011 with 46 Comments

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We constantly hear blanket statements about how print is in decline and the future of design is digital. Meanwhile, many print-only designers wonder if they should be taking steps to begin the overwhelming journey of learning a new career.

Today we’ll put rumors and speculation aside for a moment and take a look at some real data to see the actual projections for the print design industry and what actions, if any, print designers should be taking as a result.

Switching From Print to Web

Regular readers of Design Shack will know that I spent my first six years as a graphic designer in print. I created mostly POP, direct mailers and print ads for lots of popular brand names that you’d find as you peruse the shelves of any grocery store.

“I was forced to rapidly evolve or starve.”

I made the cardinal sin of allowing just about all of my work to come through a single client, which provided me with more than I could handle for years but eventually led to a situation where work was on the decline and I was forced to rapidly evolve or starve.

As a result, I taught myself to be a web designer and developer. It seemed to be the direction the world was going and I didn’t want to be left behind. In the end, the gamble worked marvelously as it brought me to where I am today. Despite absolutely loving web design, I’ll always be grateful for the solid foundation of skill and knowledge that print design afforded me.

Should You Switch Too?

For those of you who are still in print, this story sounds all too common. It seems more and more print designers are supposedly finding themselves in a transitional period. Work used to flow like milk and honey but now you find yourself scraping the barrel just to get by.

You’re faced with a major career decision. Should you too make the jump and attempt to reinvent yourself as a web designer? Can you even manage such a task after spending so much time in the world of print?

“Are print designers going to become extinct?”

In my opinion, you can definitely do it, but the question of whether or not you really need to is a bit hazier. Anecdotal stories and isolated incidents are one thing, but major shifts in the design industry are another story entirely. Are print designers going to become extinct? Do they really need to face the music and crack open a web browser or are industry experts just crying wolf?

Print Survey: By The Numbers

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Can print designers hope to find gainful employment for years to come? It’s an important question and one that is far too often answered with a general statement about how everyone is “going digital.”

Let’s attempt a modicum of specificity and research these claims a little to see if they appear to hold water. To start off, I looked to the Graphic Design USA 48th Annual Print Survey (2011), which asks readers various questions regarding print design.

“93% of respondents claimed to have worked on print design projects in the last year”

The results were pretty interesting. It turns out, 93% of respondents claimed to have worked on print design projects in the last year, compared to 71% for online projects, 58% for package design, 45% for POP/Sign, and 24% for motion-based projects.

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The top two most popular types of print projects were Brochures/Collateral and Direct Mail/Direct Response, with Sales Promotion, Identity/Letterhead and Print Advertising bringing up the next three slots.

A Skewed Survey?

The numbers above are encouraging for print designers, but they should be taken in context. Consider that this survey was given to graphic designers that subscribe to one specific printed magazine, a fact which could very likely skew the results towards favoring print simply because print designers might be more prone to subscribe to print magazines.

Further, as far as I can find, no information was given regarding the number of people surveyed or the general demographics of the respondents. Age would obviously be an interesting factor.

Finally, it should definitely be noted that, while most of the designers who responded have worked in print in the last year, many of those same respondents have done web design in that same period. This means that at least 71% of this audience possesses web design skills and are taking on web design clients.

Department of Labor

According to one survey of graphic designers, print work is definitely still there and still a top wage-earner for lots of people. Let’s balance this information out with some projections from the United States Department of Labor.

“Graphic design wages in print are expected to fall 14.5%.”

If we look at the printing industry as a whole, the outlook isn’t quite as rosy. Wages in printing and related support activities industry are projected to fall 16 percent over the 2008–18 period, with employment in printing “expected to decline rapidly.” Graphic design wages in this industry are expected to fall 14.5% over the same period. However, graphic design is one of the few occupations in the print industry that won’t give way to automation any time soon and therefore still holds plenty of opportunities.

These numbers present an interesting contrast to the outlook for graphic design in general, which is expected to see a 13% increase in employment during the 2008-2018 period. This growth is almost all attributed to “graphic designers with Web site design and animation experience” though who will supposedly have the best opportunities while designers in print publishing face a reduced demand.

Other Countries

The information presented above is obviously skewed towards the United States. For starters, I lack the time or space to cover every developed nation on the planet and to be honest, I came up short in my search for hard facts for other locations regarding the rise or decline of print design jobs.

Various UK papers have spotty reports of print in decline but hard labor statistics for graphic designers are difficult to come by. My assumption is that U.S. trends are indicative of what is happening or at least what is to come for other areas of the globe as well. Feel free to disagree in the comments or post a few sources arguing either way.

Should Print Designers Evolve?

As far as we can tell, many designers, perhaps even the majority are still reporting that they’ve worked on print projects within the past year. If you’re currently looking for work in this area, there’s no evidence to support the idea that you’re without hope. There’s still work out there to be done if you can find it.

Print designers will be around for a long, long time. If your legs haven’t atrophied from too much Facebook, take a walk outside in any city in the world. You’ll see signs, billboards, magazines, newspapers, bus stop ads and countless other real, physical objects that all have to be designed and therefore represent meaningful work for lots of people. Print designers won’t become extinct in my lifetime.

“The ratio of people looking for print design jobs to those offering them will likely continue to make this an extremely competitive industry.”

Unfortunately, there’s no doubt that the print industry is in fact taking a beating. Both wages and employment are on a downward spiral, which probably isn’t what you want to hear about your selected career path. The ratio of people looking for print design jobs to those offering them will likely continue to make this an extremely competitive industry.

The advice that I give to dedicated print designers is to first, know your field and know it well. Stand out from the competition by having more knowledge and experience and take care to remind potential employers that many of their candidates with a background in web design don’t know jack about offset printing, spot colors and the like.

Further, I recommend that you take a hard look at the print design survey mentioned earlier. If 91% of respondents work in print and 71% work in web, there is significant overlap that represents designers experienced in both fields in addition to the other areas such package, POP and motion design. There’s a strong argument for knowing one thing better than anyone but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be expanding your skill set on a weekly basis to ensure that you remain employable in the long term.

“You won’t regret knowing some HTML and CSS, but you may regret not knowing it.”

If you found yourself out of a job or client-less tomorrow and browsing some career website like Indeed.com, you certainly wouldn’t regret knowing some HTML and CSS, but you may regret not knowing it (many web designers even get by without coding). Even if you’re currently gainfully employed, look around for print design jobs in your area and compare those to the availability and salary of web design jobs. If you don’t like the results, it may be time for a trip to the book store and a few months of weekend studying.

Conclusion

To sum up, print is not dead. Plenty of designers still make an impressively profitable career strictly from print designs. Further, print designers are not necessarily doomed. Most of us can’t yet imagine a world without printed products and we’ll always need people to design those materials.

That being said, diversifying your skill set can only be taken as good advice. Many or most of the new opportunities in the graphic design profession are coming from digital industries where screen size matters more than page size. Further, wages in print design in the U.S. are projected to decline over the next decade in direct opposition to wages for graphic designers overall, which are projected to rise.

If you’re a print designer, leave a comment and let us know what you think. Has it been harder for you to find work lately? Do you fear the transition to web design or even see it as a solution should you find yourself without work?

Comments & Discussion

46 Comments

  • LilyZ

    I started my own company last year after 10 years in the industry, both working in house & freelancing. I’ve never had a shortage of work for the very reason that I diversified and could answer all my clients’ needs from print to web (I started in print). But there’s no shortage of print work out there – annual reports, brochures, sales sheets…once a company has a website, they’re good (at least for a few years) but their print needs are typically ongoing. Now, the advent of online quick print shops may have taken away business from traditional print houses, but companies still need designers to be able to navigate and prep for printing no matter where the end product is being produced.

  • http://www.makemecards.com Brett

    If I had not been in the print industry for the last 12 years, I may believe that print is on the decline. But being here in the industry, and opening a new print based startup expecting to grow 20%-30% a year, I can honestly tell you people who say “print is disappearing because of the web” are just ill informed. My brick & mortar shop is experiencing steady growth, and even some of the larger companies out there are producing more than ever before. I will say that over the last 12 years the type of work we are doing has changed drastically, but the needs for advertising and marketing pieces will never go away..

  • David

    Nice article. Though as someone who specializes in web design as opposed to print design, any print designer looking to branch out does need to keep in mind the two fields have really separated a lot from each other in the past few years. Don’t expect to just learn Dreamweaver and consider yourself competitive in the field (as I’ve seen people do).

  • http://www.webdesigncreare.co.uk Kim Ruddock

    A really interesting article. I recently finished a three year graphic design qualification that overwhelmingly focused on print with only a single module of the entire course looking at web design. I think that is telling of the emphasis that is still placed on print design in education. Print is certainly not dead in the way that video didn’t kill off radio. I now work in web design and the learning curve is quite steep. The principles I learnt whilst studying print design are transferrable though. It is still and will continue to be a valid media. For anyone to suggest that web design could be causing the decline of print design is a bit of a stretch in my opinion.

  • pbj@grf

    1st of all, great article… I’m a student from Croatia, Europe. I’m studying Graphic Technology. Most of the subjects are based on Print, so I’m constantly hearing stories how print is dead, and that I’ve maybe chosen the wrong career path.

    The thing is, I find the whole print industry extremely interesting, and I DO want to work in that field.

    I’m still too young and unexperienced to claim that the printing industry is not dead, but I certainly hope it isn’t.

  • http://www.fionarobertongraphics.co.uk Fiona

    I trained as a print designer and I love it; it’s very satisfying to take something from concept right through to a tangible item when the work comes back from the printers.

    In my full-time job, most of the work I do is for print – posters, leaflets, DVD packaging etc. But as a freelancer, it’s probably split about 50-50 print and online graphics.

    I am one of those print designers who are branching out and learning web design. It’s as much for myself as my clients though. For myself, I’m interested in learning it and I want to be able to design and code my own website.

    My clients seem to want to come to the same designer for all their projects rather than one person for a logo and print work and another for web work. And yes, I also want to make sure that I don’t run out of projects if print is doomed!

  • Andrea

    Great article! I’ve had the same question in my head for a month now. I am a graphic designer in Serbia. You realy helped my with this. And you are right print wont desapire, but knowledge of web is in some way necesary.

  • tosin

    I studied printing technology, specializing in pre-press. Currently, I am a freelance graphic designer. But in my country Nigeria, clients hardly pay for graphic designs. So I had to branch out and learn web designs because it attracts moore pay than graphic design. There will always be print jobs to do. But I think web development attracts a nice income than graphics

  • rojo

    recently we placed and ad for help with a print project—we got only ONE response–i was surprised–with only one response we were forced to pay a premium–go figure

  • Reginald Raju

    I am a graphic designer in a firm, we to large format printing, vinal cut outs.. annual reports.. bill boards.. web sit designing.. many stuff.. at da same time.. I just stsred an offset printing business. very small one from home.. n its an old machine. buh.. still got scope for it.. n making good money.. I can make more money then my wages.. at times in a week.. an when I have established myself well then will resign n concentrate on my business.. and I believe. printline wil stay muc longer den we think

  • http://www.thailand-pi.com/ Pi Thailand

    Great article. When i started learn Graphic and design, I have a lot of question and i had ask in 4room, blog, website. But I had no such feedback. But this article had touch me a lot of information. Thanks you very much.

  • http://www.dokdoc.com kevin o’callaghan

    Since freelancing in 2011, all ( not most, but ALL ) of my new clients want the “package”. I call it the Brand Foundation Package. It includes: logo, identity, stationary, signage, a print template, and, most importantly, a web site. In many cases, it’s a real simple site, one or two pages, with an email link. But it gets them started. So – my point is, we should all be at least conversant in ALL the mediums. It pays. kevin@dokdoc.com

  • http://www.designshack.co.uk Joshua Johnson

    Kevin, love the bundle idea. Great insight.

  • Kirsty

    I am a dedicated print designer and have been for about 15 years. I have held 5 different positions in that time. This topic of switching to Web design does make me nervous, but I have been thinking for a while now that it is a necessary ‘evil’. Evil in the sense that i have no clue. I work for a small design agency and there is plenty of print work to sustain 4 designers, but keeping an eye on whats out there is scary. Every job description is for print and web combined. I will have to learn web soon enough, but it will have to wait because I need to learn illustrator as Adobe killed my beloved Macromedia Freehand.

  • http://www.orangefrogdesign.co.uk Steve Bratt

    I think we all have to remember that design for web and design for print can live happily together! I had a direct mail piece in the post from Google of all people (a web born company), driving me to their website to advertise with them. I don’t think web will ‘take over’ web, but it will obviously make the initial impact that we’re seeing at this present time.

  • http://www.orangefrogdesign.co.uk Steve Bratt

    Sorry, above should say:

    …..I don’t think web will ‘take over’ print…..

  • Karen Zadziuk

    I’ve been working as a designer for print since graduating 3 years ago and have experienced a decline in work since starting. I have actually been debating with myself whether to expand my skill set into web design (this was something that was only briefly touched upon at university) as I have noticed from the majority of advertised jobs at the moment the employer requires you to have a knowledge of HTML or CSS, which I have absolutely none.

    I think it will be something I will learn eventually but for now I love designing for print as I feel an overwhelming sense of pride when something I have designed returns from the printer and the customer is overjoyed with their finished product.

  • Patrick

    Do what you like to do and do it with all your heart.print or web, as long as you get the wright message outta there and the client aswell as yourself are happy with the final result then you succeeded in your job. Print and web are complemantary to themselves. The only loser can be yourself. Stop discussing about it and start to communicate.

  • http://www.skichaletsaustria.co.uk Ashley Keenes

    There has been s a huge drop in print demand over the last 12 months, speak to the big paper merchants and hear their tales of woe. The packaging industry is the only steady sector. The need to re vitalise and new products launches maintains a constant demand. I run a Design Consultancy and buy print on a regular basis and am constantly having to change suppliers as printers and finishers go out of business. Roll on retirement thats what I say!!!!!!!!!!

  • Robbie Sparks

    Design for print – output for tablet. Good “print” designers should know how to make stuff be read – easily. I train InDesign, I could see this day coming from miles away.
    Print will become a premium medium. Too many web-based designers clutter information with tricks and effects.
    Lead the reader through to what you’re trying to sell them. Reader being the operative word.
    Bring back great typography.

  • Marc van Gijn

    Good question and article!

    Don’t forget the revolutions print has survived until now. It started with wooden stamps and blocks of stone. Adapting to new techniques is a part of the existence.

    Maybe many are scared by the programming skills for web and the unpredictable output compared to print. But the tablets bring a new kind of hope to many of them.

    My experience is, it’s becoming more a combination of all publications. Depending on the company where you work or own, you are can be a all-rounder or specialist. The trade stays the same; making publications beautiful!

  • Chris(topher)

    People still embrace the “tangible” mediums. I learned in a short six weeks after college that I had to evolve from Marker Renderings, to on-page design. While I am hesitant to jump at new media that evolves too quickly and dies, I still respect the idea that I must build my diversity with the idea that I am to become a jack-of-all trades, master of maybe one, That one trade being Print, for which I began this journey 20 years ago.

  • http://www.scott-mccreedy.com/edb/ Ed

    Being a print designer most of my working life it’s a painful reality facing me that print is indeed dead. (Books may soon be “dead” too.) The signs are everywhere. Facing retirement with a lack of web experience will make earning even a meager wage impossible.
    Of course the growing unemployment numbers and the glut of web designers/graphic artists in the market place will make growth, even with new computer skills, bleak at best.
    As a designer I always thought I had a profitable “trade”.

  • http://www.sorcadesign.com John

    Great article and discussion. Like Kevin above, we found that offering The full suite if design needs to be effective. If you can make the contact and build a relationship, clients seem to prefer the one stop shop. I come from a print background but learned quickly that I was losing clients because we couldn’t take care of all their needs. Now we concentrate on start ups and Sme’s offering. All the graphic design services they will need. So far so good. Print won’t die in my lifetime, but print alone no longer covers the wages. A big problem in print us the low cost online print companies. It’s very hard to compete with their prices, and at this time, price does seem to be the deciding factor, whereas 3 years ago there was more balance between price and design

  • komiska

    i do not think print designers will become extinct, just like radio anchormen did not,but as in every profession,there is a strong selection process going on. i find my clients to be wanting more of both – usually they start with a print product order, and then it comes to their mind, that a website is a necessity. or vice versa. this puts a strain on the time schedule, if you work as a freelancer, and have several clients at once. i believe that finding a niche really is the formula for further success. clients want special, unique design and products. a colleague has specialized in serigraphy – getting quite a few smirks from others , who have turned their back on “old, analogue techniques” ,but she has more work than ever . same goes for friends who have continued working with letterpress. i haven’t noticed that among my friends people are buying each other e-books. “au contraire” – the trend goes towards the unique and rare at any cost.

  • http://www.abdellahsmita.com Abdellah

    Hey,

    As a print designer, I do repeat the same repliqua to people every time I hear the same conversation about the decline of print. Print will never die. If we think about it more rationnally, print design includes a lot of fields that we can’t miss in our daily life (advertising, book layout, magazines, packaging…).
    I think the web wouldn’t afford all that, even if there are ebooks available in all fields, the web can’t get to the tactile/intimate part of the book/reader relationship, or emphasize on an ad size or use die-cut and other pretty print techniques.
    The print and the web industries are very different from each other. Both of them will remain.

  • http://webpages.charter.net/kfx/ Ken F.

    As one with extensive experience in Photoshop retouching/illustration I’ve often wondered if I should maybe branch out into web design to offer more services to clients. Not necessarily a bad idea, but then I ask myself, “why would anyone hire me—a novice web designer—when there are probably hundreds of people around here who are already experts?” I wouldn’t mind learning web design just for fun, but I need to concentrate on my niche which really is kind of a cross-platform skill anyway. Long live print…and the web.

  • http://www.trailertrashdesign.us joe

    I for one am sick of this conversation. Print will never go away. People will always want to hold a piece of printed material in their hands… what ever it may be. I’ve been in print for well over 25 years now and am just as busy now (with print) as I was back when I started, actually busier. Do I only design in print? Hell no. I’ve diversified so that I can offer my clients a complete package of services. One need feeds off the other. I let my clients know if I’m working on a printed piece for them, I can also design “e” materials as well. Print will never die. Never.

  • http://www.pingdesigns.net David

    I can see how print design could be on the decline, but I don’t think it will ever disappear. As long as we are buying products that come in containers or with tags attached to them, there is plenty of work out there. Learning how to do something else can never be a bad thing though. It will just give you more choices down the road.

  • marge

    I agree….print will never go away. It may become more streamlined in it’s use but will always have a place. Learning to “design” for web calls on many of the same design skills and practices as does print. Above all, it requires the ability to design so as to communicate effectively. As designers, the web is just another tool to get the message out there. At the risk of dating myself, we need to know how to design for web just like we learned how to make mechanicals and then use the Mac.

  • http://www.dreamscapesdesigners.com Bryan

    One of the first comments mentioned something about “once a website was done the client was good for a couple years”, if you aren’t maintaining the site and/or effectively assisting/consulting your clients on how to generate new and improved content to help them stay on the first page(SRP) than you are doing your clients an injustice.

    Yes print will never die and it’s a good thing because I don’t want our future designers to have to figure out how to print again in 100 years when the web is once again just a piece in the puzzle of marketing and the only thing on the consumers and clients minds.

    As a web developer, I still have a very real attachment to a beautifully engineered sub-straight, nothing beats holding a printed piece in your hands.

  • http://www.autoshare.ro Krisztian

    Guys, i am working in this field since 1999 and there is one important fact you have left out. You will see a print designer starting to learn how to be a web designer and he will be a good one. But i honestly say that i’ve seen web designers witch are very good at coding but very crapy at design in general. My point is that a print designer will always have a good eye for any design, web, print, design in general, but a designer who is only starting his business in web will clearly not make good design. Let’s not forget that web design is actualy based on print design. It’s not like the letters and graphics first apeared on the web. You need to understand design in general, because most of the companies out there will ask for a package witch is consistent in design, not for a website witch is miles away from his brand identity. I have read almost all the comments, and my opinion is that all the graphic designers (print designers like you call them) are working on a web project. And yeah…that is why we are called graphic designers.
    The margin between print and web design, from the software point of view is also becoming thiner and thiner.
    Graphic designers can start working on web projects way easier than 10 years ago. The rise of CMS and HTML 5 is changing the way a website is developed, and here is where a so called print designer will always win. Just think about how a website was done 10 years ago, and the have a look at what tools are offered for web design.
    I don’t think print designers will disappear, they will become…graphic designers

  • http://www.gavinburnett.co.uk gavin burnett

    Print is definitely not dead but most designers i know straddle the digital fence, they have to. Designing a website is part of the whole package these days when re-branding a company.

    I don’t think you have to choose one or the other, you can do both.

  • mezzanoche

    I think that print design will still be around. It holds a lot of diverse places in marketing, promotion, and different niches across the board. I have only over the last 2-3 years got into web design and IT and I love designing for the web, but I also enjoy the challenge of learning more about print work. It goes both ways, do what you love, love what you do etc. etc. I think that sometimes when things change, and they always do, people have a tendency to get a little anxious about where their next “meal” is going to come from. Everyone is trying to pull out the crystal ball, and predict what the future will hold for them, and the industry they work in, no matter what industry, not just art/design etc.

    It is human nature to analyze these things, it is fine. There are more and more humans inhabiting the planet, and those numbers will continue to rise. Add in globalization, open source software, faster internet speeds, new technologies that make work faster and more convenient, automation and the list goes on, and you end up with flux that moves faster than at any other time in human history. I say stay up on new technologies the best you can, and practice what you love, continue to work hard, and things usually seems to straighten themselves out. And, if they don’t, well…move onto something else, that is life. Take care.

  • http://www.handwerkerwerbung.de Georg

    sure, printdesign will be there for a long time. i am a (…)designer from germany who came from printdesign, but this post exactly says what i am thinking about the last two years. and guess what, i made it. done my first selfcoded designs for clients. as a “web-power-user” it wasen’t as hard as i thought. theres so much information on the web ’bout webdesign, that theres no need for buying a book. and its completly free. well i guess i have a bit of talent for that stuff. and it makes fun. so much fun that my last 5(!!!) and the netx 3(!!) projects are webpages. i love it :-))

    i think, specialists for print will be needed for a long time. but i like to learn and get myself forward. anyway, no matter what kind of design you’re doing, learning should be your
    daily bread.

    peace georg

  • http://www.peciar.info Tomas

    I think its very easy. If you still want to work in prints, you have to be specialized! There are lots of possibility’s like typography, art, scripting, photo retouch etc etc…Maybe DTP goes little bit down, but in last 10 years nobody was specified only in DTP.

  • http://www.tschubarov.com Adrian Tschubarov

    Take anything in your hands and you’ll see that Print Design has a very long life to live. I say that with a Heineken in my hands.

  • Jerry Wong

    Unless web takes the ‘packaging’ out of delivering the physical product to the customer, then print will be obsolete. Until that day – when that happens, print will always rule the world of consumerism.

    The only reason why – not so many jobs are lined up with designers for print, is simply because the big boys of the printing industry are taking all the jobs. Smaller print houses that started in the garage or alleyway has to look for alternatives… And there’s not enough work to go around for the small guys.

    Lets face it, the bulk of the jobs will go to the big print-houses that will offer all the services of pre-press & design right up to print, packaging, etcetera.
    Hey if some offset printers are going into Signage & large format print to meet demands and become a one-stop-shop to their customers (who demand it) then one day they will also go big into web design. Cos that’s what the customers will be wanting too.

    I agree with the article, and that it should be advisable to all graphic designers, to shift now (before it is too late) and get into learning web design. But, that being said print will be around till who knows when, but we designers must also ply our skills in all aspects of print & web design. This will allow us to be multi-skilled in all areas, and be able to switch between them easily.

    Those in the print industry know that the vital differences in Print as opposed to web is in the resolution and colour mode. But of course there’s more to everything than meets the eye.

    Thanks for the article. Happy DESIGNING to you all.

    PS: There is an article in (if I am not wrong) in the ‘New Zealand Printer’ or could it be ‘INK’ that talks about this same issue as well. If I find the print copy, I’ll post the link here.

  • Jerry Wong

    An afterthought just occurred to me and that is: if web designers were to only concentrate on web design alone (which I don’t encourage) that would mean a one-off website for a company or business with maybe a few revised and retouched website. That would mean two or three websites per customer – it may stop there until a few years down the line when the company or business wants to revamp the website to look different.

    Now consider a printing firm. It can design and print, package etc for the same client – thousands of different jobs. Now that is only one client and the design of posters, fliers, point of sale material, annual reports, business paraphernalia, etc, etc. Oh! and including the ‘packaging’ to hold the item from the web sales.

  • http://www.onebrightdayconsulting.com Tyus

    I don’t think print designers are doomed I think digital design and print will just become one profession. Look at your average magazine as far as layout and general beauty it looks far better than your average web site. With HTML5, CSS3 and the many JavaScript frameworks out there, which allow for finer control everything you can do in print design you can do, or at least very soon, be able to do on the web. I personally like Jquery Masonry make the web look like print. Plus with tablets on the rise, you need that skill set to put traditional print information into a web or app for clients. Print designers will be fine; print might have a problem though.

  • http://www.bertica-art.com Bertica

    I’ve been working independently for the last 10 years (print, package design) after having worked in-house for about 10. When I first went on my own I had plenty of work but started slowing down considerably in 2008. Since it coincided with the “bad economy” I opted to get back into painting (I have a degree in Fine Arts), to weather the storm. I learned enough about web design to create my own websites and feel that it helped me at least understand the process. I love paper, inks, press checks and all that is involved with print and hope there will be enough work to allow me to keep going — even if it takes more work to find it.

  • Diane

    I agree with Ken F. Just because we learn doesn’t mean we have those things, well designed AND coded in our portfolio to compete with coders who just happened to be ok at design. If there is any doom, it is that businesses do not want to pay “snooty” graphic designer’s what their experience and expertise is worth. They would rather pay almost nothing to their nephew who is good at coding to do a crappy design. Do not get me started on crowdsourcing.

  • Diane

    sorry about the misplaced apostrophe.

  • Gloria Fontana

    As a buyer of graphic design services, I have found that the best designers for digital delivery are those who have a firm foundation in print design. They understand how not to get in the way of the message

  • mistermike

    The paragraph about the Cardinal Sin is spot on! I began in this situation about a year ago. I’m evolving steadily while getting work elsewhere, but it’s a steep hill to climb with all the possibilities and progress coming out of every corner of technology. I’m still trying to find my niche to settle into.

  • MikeC

    Just found this article. Very interesting as I have been a print designer for 8 years, am going freelance and realising that clients will be asking for websites as well as logo’s, stationery, leaflets etc. I think having some web design knowledge and experience is now a must so that you can offer the whole package. What’s interesting is that no matter what medium you learn to portray your graphic work, the same design principles still apply but each one offers a different set of challenges and restrictions. We may find that in years to come graphic design graduates are all web designers and print designers are in short supply. Great article and I agree, there will be printed material to design for many years to come.

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