The internet has entirely transformed the graphic design industry. The number of graphic designers has increased steadily over the recent few years. In fact, this growth is attributed to the development of internet communication (Tufte, 2010, p.5). There are more websites on the net: a number that is estimated to have tripled from the 1990s.
Because of these improvements, graphic designers have been enabled to transcend the limitations of time and space that were in existent before. Some ‘conservative graphic designers’ however despise the internet claiming that it has done more harm than good to the industry (Toom, 2007. p.75). Most new comers in the industry however are grateful of the benefits that internet communication has given to them.
Graphic designers who would have otherwise remained unknown in the industry can now display and sell their products in the global market with a click of the mouse (Rock, 2008, p.23). Being the greatest invention of the 20th century, the internet has transformed the manner in which everyday tasks are conducted and hundreds of millions of people use the internet in one way or the other.
It is during the 21st century however that many improvements on the internet have been done making it possible for people to conduct almost everything via the internet (Wasserman, 2009, p.9).
Social networking, online graphic design galleries and online graphic design contests have provided graphic designers with the opportunity of having the products and expertise viewed and reviewed by millions of people among them potential clients (Purvis, 2008, p.12).
Because of this, the possibility of a less established freelance graphic designer to get a job has increased a lot since the 1990s. Guided by the theories of design innovation, the consumer demand theory and the color theory, graphic designers seeking to make it online have established the best ways through which they will have their artworks and expertise displayed to the global audience (Jubert, 2006, p.97).
This study aims at analyzing the current trends of online graphic design by evaluating the most effective ways that graphic designers have employed to take advantage of internet communication to spread their artwork and skills to the world.
This includes analyzing tools such as social networks, which include Facebook, twitter, Flickr, and YouTube among others, and the online graphic design promotions such as online galleries and contest sites. The study will also evaluate examples of renowned graphic designers in an effort to review the role that internet communication has performed, which contributed to the success of these designers.
Considering that internet communication has its own disadvantages, the paper also focuses on the problems that have emerged in the graphic design industry as well as gives an informed forecast on the future of online graphic design.
Internet communication and the graphic design industry
While most of the contemporary graphic designers are thankful for the contribution that internet communication has made in the graphic design industry, others mostly the ‘old school’ designers abhor the internet due to the problems that they accuse it of creating in the graphic design industry (Purvis, 2008, p. 14).
Despite this, it is important to note the changes that internet communication has created in the graphic design industry whether negative or positive since there is no unanimous agreements as to what changes can one consider problems and others solutions.
Among the most significant changes that have been experienced in graphic design with regard to the role that the internet has played are mostly concerned with but not limited to collaboration/ networking, education/ skill transmission, the medium and copyright issues (Purvis, 2008, p.15).
Some designers complain that the invention of personal computers and the later creation of graphic design software robbed the professionals in the industry the worth of their professionalism as untrained people could still make designs.
To make matters worse, the end users can even create designs for themselves using these software which deprives those expecting to make a living out of engaging in graphic design lack the opportunities to do so (Rick, 2009, p.6). Cheapening of the venture to such an extent makes it difficult for the industry members to face the future with optimism.
Others are thankful for the revolution that the internet has introduced in the industry stressing that those complaining about the change are only those that are adamant to such change. For instance, Moggridge (2007, p.421), claims that following the advancement that internet has brought in the graphic design industry; a web designer is capable of wearing even the hat of the computer programmer.
With search engine rating becoming more and more sophisticated, it is becoming important the web designers also master programming and the use of SEO (search engine optimization) so as to have the pages that design be ranked better in the search engines.
The internet has created a new medium in which graphic designers work, opened a new way to create alliances and networks through the online communities, provided more opportunities for the would –be designers and also substantially made it easy for designers to plagiarize the works of others and abuse copyright terms than ever before (Newman et al. 2006,p.64).
The creation of a new medium is considered among the most important improvements that the internet has offered to the graphic design industry (Margolin, 2007, p.45). Through the power of the internet, design comes to live and capable of interacting with its users. Many contemporary designers acknowledge the fact that the web has brought about the natural evolution of their design skills and talents.
While using the interactive tools found in the well-developed websites, it is obvious that user participation is no longer amiss as it was before (Newman et al. 2006, p. 57).
The growing importance of SEO makes it mandatory for web designers to have the necessary technical skills that will enable them to utilize them and the behind the page programming that will be of great use in raising the ranking of such websites (Bierut et al. 2007, p.96).
Designers now realize that there is no point in coming up with a beautiful web page that utilizes most of the elements perfectly but fails in the search engines. This makes the successful web designer to strive to make it as a computer programmer or an SEO expert.
To many of the conservative designers, this dilutes the essence of graphic design as an art since graphic designers are compelled to the fears of coming up with web pages that pass artistically but are poor according to the standards of the search engines (Newman et al. 2006, p.59).
Collaboration / networking
The internet makes collaboration and networking between people more instantaneous than ever before. Online graphic designer communities have as a result emerged that make it possible for a growing designer to work and learn together with peers in the industry.
Online graphic designer communities make it possible for the emerging designers to acquire skills easily from more experienced personalities in the field (Monmoier, 2006, p.54). With the massive online storage capacity, uploading work samples to the internet for the purposes of getting reviews or tweaks, and displaying to potential clients has been made easier than ever before.
High-speed internet connections have made it easy for designers to form communities where they can discuss and review each other’s works with a lot of ease (Rand, & Rand, 2009, p. 145). For instance, a graphic designer in Japan or China is able to review the work of an American graphic designer instantly over the internet.
Cultural backgrounds have been melted by the collaborations that have been made easy by the internet communication tools and there has emerged a race of designers who can work for clients anywhere on the globe (Blakesley, & Collins, 2010, p. 90).
Education/ online training
Flexibility of internet communication has made it possible for graphic design skills to be transferred from the experts to learners easily (Parker, 2008, p.48). One can choose not to attend formal education to become a graphic designer, as it was mandatory some years back. By simply joining the peer communities online and searching for materials online, one can independently learn graphic design.
Some of the social networks such as You Tube, experts in graphic design make demonstrative videos on how to do things, which are of great use to the learners in the field (Poynor, 2008, p.125).
One can engage the experts directly by asking questions and getting helpful information that enables them become effective in the graphic design industry. Learning designers have no worry as to how they will be able to meet clients after they start working professionally as they get the effective tips from the experts whom they rely upon for mentorship in the field (Poynor, 2008, p.129).
Copyright issues/ plagiarism
Copyright issues such as plagiarism are among the most terrifying challenges that contemporary graphic designers face with regard to the internet (Parker, 2008, p.65). It has become easier than ever before for one to copy or save the work of other designers and use it as theirs with little or no modifications at all.
With a click of the mouse, a person can download the work of another artist that was meant to be viewed by potential clients, and instead use it to benefit him or herself illegally (Rams, 2009, p.45). It is therefore important for designers highlighting their works on the internet to include copyright to the images to protect them from pirates and plagiarists (Rehe, 2003, p.363).
One of the major problems with the internet however is the harm that it has caused to copyright laws. It is difficult to trace copyright violators since the introduction of the internet since as much as the internet transcends national boundaries; the copyright laws are failing in the same. Some of the most famous graphic artists of the time struggle with this problem either as culprits or as victims.
For instance, there has been a major debate surrounding the graphic artist Shepard Fairey who has been accused of constantly abusing copyright laws in his works such as the ‘Hope portrait’ among others (Anders, 2010).
The hope portrait is claimed to have been developed from a photo by an AP journalist whom Fairey has never acknowledged in his work. As a result, Fairey has faced lawsuits for the same from AP or from other people and organizations but seems to come out clean (Anders, 2010, p.12).
The design innovation theory
Design innovation as a theory has been used immensely in the design profession and academic world for the past 10- 15 years.
Despite the fact that the modern theory of innovation focuses on the practical relationship that exists between design and innovation while emphasizing the role of design in the innovation process, design innovation theory can be attributed for the changes that the graphic design industry has recently experienced due to the development of online communication (Bernhardt, & Kramer, 2005, p.39).
The fact that the two fields of design and economics are strongly linked holds true. Designers however, in most instances tend to overlook the historical natural of the relationship between innovation and design which is symbiotic in nature (Barnard, 2005, p.268). Designers come up with new inventions that help in the growth of the economy while at the same time economy helps in the forging and the creation of new designs.
The innovative designs that graphic designers come up with rely upon the technological advancement of the internet to reach the target market. As argued in the example of the vacuum cleaner given by Foote (2011, p.45), designers rely upon the economists or marketers for their success and the economists upon the designers in order to make it.
In fact, “some of the most famous inventions of the nineteenth century were invented by men whose names are forgotten; the names, which we associate with them, are of the entrepreneurs who brought them into commercial use.
For example, one J. Murray Spengler invented the vacuum cleaner, originally called an ‘electric suction sweeper.’ He approached a leather goods maker in the town who knew nothing about vacuum cleaners, but had a good idea of how to market and sell them –one W. H. Hoover” (Tidd et al, 2001, p.98).
The categories and levels of design innovation
According to Schumpeter (1934), there are two major categories of innovation: product and process innovation. Product innovation comprises of “the creation of a new good which more adequately satisfies existing or previously satisfied needs” (Schumpeter, 1934, p.34). Product innovations can also involve the designing of completely new products that creates a monopoly to the inventors (p. 36).
The invention of the internet, which has completely transformed industries such as graphic design, can be classified as a product innovation in that the invention filled up an existing vacuum that could not have otherwise been filled without it. For instance, designers relied up traditional media channels to market their products and services.
These included magazines, holding art exhibitions among others (Toom, 2006, p.452). The problem with these channels is that they lacked the interactivity that came with the invention of the internet. With the internet, designers are capable of engaging their peers as well as their clients with a lot of ease.
A process innovation replaces according to Schumpeter in that “one production or consumption good is replaced by another, which serves the same or approximately the same purpose, but is cheaper” (1934). OECD (1992) categorizes design innovations as ‘product innovations’ (incremental and major) and ‘process innovations’.
However, it distinguishes between ‘technological innovations’ such as the invention of the internet as adverse in that it includes both product and process innovations. According to OECD (1992), technological innovations such as the invention of the internet have to be “implemented in a product or process for it to become an innovation that bears a commercial value” (p.10).
Considering this description, internet qualifies as a technological innovation in that it has helped industries such as the graphic design industry to come to live by marketing the products to the entire world. As they indicate it, “Technological innovations comprise new products and processes and significant technological changes of products and processes.
An innovation has been implemented if it has been introduced on the market (product innovation)” (OECD, 1992). In addition, key merchandise modernization “describes a product whose intended use, performance characteristics, attributes, design properties or use of materials and components differ significantly compared with previously manufactured products.
Such innovations can involve radically new technologies or can be based on combining existing technologies in new uses” (OECD, 1992, p.10). Incremental product advancements present an accessible product whose routine has been extensively improved or upgraded. This again comes in two major categories.
“A simple product may be improved (in terms of improved performance or lower cost) through use of higher performance components or materials, or a complex product, which consists of a number of integrated technical subsystems may be improved by partial changes to one of the subsystems” (OECD, 1992, p.10-11). Course improvement is the implementation of fresh considerably better production techniques.
The techniques “may involve changes in equipment or production organization or both. The methods may be intended to produce new or improved products, which cannot be produced using conventional plants or production methods, to increase the production efficiency of existing products” (OECD, 1992, p.11).
In this case, the internet can also be considered a process innovation in that it almost replaced the other channels that designers used to market their products and services. Innovations that led to the creation of social sites such as Facebook, twitter and others can also be regarded in this light.
Different scholars define the categories as given forth by Schumpeter differently. For instance according to Tschichold (2008, p.42) product innovation is “new technology or combination of technologies introduced commercially to meet a user or a market need”.
The consumer demand theory
This theory is majorly directed towards understanding the nature of the market demand and the law of demand. This theory analyses the consumer behavior, which in turn influences the conduct of the graphic designer to supply the consumer with the products that suit their desires (Tidwell, 2005, p.172).
This is especially in the case of market purchases, which are mostly based upon the satisfaction of wants and needs (utility) after the consumption of the given product. The consumer demand theory regulates the extent to which designers value the quality of their work and aim at satisfying their clients.
Considering the competition that is currently in the graphic design industry, only those designers who aim at satisfying their clients manage to retain them and get future contracts from them. The theory however provides an insight into all the other human activities that graphic designers engaged in internet marketing should rely upon (Tufte, 2009, p.42).
Insight into the quantity of labor that given workers are capable and willing to commit at different is construed by this theory by considering the tradeoff between labor and leisure activities (Tufte, 2009, p.44). Graphic designers engaged in online marketing for their products and services utilize this theory in determining what their pay for a given contract should total.
The choice that contemporary graphic designers have with regard as to whether they opt to commit a crime such as copyright abuse can be investigated by the use of the consumer demand theory (Tufte, 2007, p. 15). Considering the cost that is incurred when caught, online graphic designers opt to employ original materials in their works and reference accordingly in case they end up using materials by other people.
The color theory and online graphic design
Color is a very important tool at the disposal of any graphic designer (Biesele, 2009, p.23). The internet has seen the tremendous increase in the number of existing graphic designers. Web designers have recently increased largely compared to the last ten or so years.
The manner in which these designers employ color in their designs talks much about their mastery of the venture and it is only those who win the hearts of the viewers by effectively using colors that end up making it in the design industry (Wainer, 2004, p.143).
According to the color theory, color can be utilized by designers to attract the attention of people who include potential clients, to effectively organize their content, to put emphasis on given elements in their work, to evoke emotions as well as present their work as neat and aesthetically pleasing.
To be in a position to choose the right colors for the given contract, a graphic designer should have the basic understanding of colors as provided in the color theory (Seliger, 2008, p.236). The color theory is study of colors in art and design (Siebert, & Ballard, 2002, p.51). This involves the relationship between the colors and the principles that guide the “creation of harmonious color schemes” (p.25).
A designer who lacks the necessary information about the relationship of colors often ends up creating unpleasant designs when on websites or graphic work. This can repel potential clients and make their careers a nightmare. Especially for the web designers, the colors that are employed in a given website speak so much about the expertise of the designer in the given field.
Because of this, clients can choose web designers by analyzing previous web sites created by the said designers. In this case, the designer can either attract the potential buyers or repel them (Bringhurst, 2004, p.23). The growth of the internet as a market for the designers such as web designers has opened up the minds of these designers to look at colors from a different perspective (Poling, 2004, p.83).
The fact that a given client interacts with the colors on a web page as they would with a human requires that a given designer only utilize the colors that send the message that they require. By the help of the color wheel, a designer can have a hint of the purpose and the nature of the messages that different colors convey to the viewers.
The social media in online graphic design marketing
The 21st century saw a rapid rise in the social media and with it online communication has become not only fun but also more enhanced (Lupton, & Julia, 2007, p.29). Online communications have revolutionized the manner in which information and ideas are shared worldwide which has created a major shift in world culture.
Hundreds of millions of people have subscribed to the popular social networks such as facebook, tweeter, linkedin, you tube among others (Lupton, & Phillips, 2008, p.11). With most of these people being active in giving suggestions, commenting on social issues on a daily basis as well as looking for the things they love to buy, these social networks have turned out to be the biggest markets that the world has ever known.
Placing your products in one of these sites means that you are capable of reaching a market of over hundred million subscribers among them potential buyers. Graphic designers, music artists, illustrators and other artists have taken advantage of the social networks to market their products a decision that has made the venture easier and less time consuming (Maeda, 2010, p.23).
Many industries are taking advantage that has been provided to them by the social media to market their products more aggressively than ever before.
By carefully embracing the world of social media, utilizing the communication channels that it opens, many designers and illustrators have been able to reach a wider market and at the same time been capable of displaying their products to a wider community of art enthusiasts all over the world (Lupton, & Abbot, 2009, p. 16).
Facebook is unarguably the most successful social site on the internet. Founded in 2004, Facebook brought a complete turn in social networking and opened the limits that had been in existence before then in social networking. Facebook has over 845 million members according to a survey conducted by () in Feb 2012.
The website essentially presents the digital mapping of an individual real –life connections. Internet users also spend a period of not less than five and a half hours per month on the social site according to the same report (Lupton, 2011, p.264).
Facebook users are capable of creating personal profiles, connecting with friends, family members and colleagues as well as uploading photos on the site. In the profile a person can provide a list of their personal interests, give personal contacts and other different details.
Most marketers and experts in different areas of expertise have utilized Facebook to meet potential clients and buyers of their products and as a result achieved greatly in terms of success (Manovich, 2009).
Communication via Facebook is done either privately or publicly depending on the level of intimacy of the parties communicating. Graphic designers who have unveiled the gold mine that is presented by Facebook use the social site as a platform for communicating their expertise as well as showcasing their products to the many friend and the different people on Facebook.
Most of them upload samples of their works to the timelines and share publicly with their friends or create ‘like pages’ which attract their fans to their works.
In collaboration with Google ad sense, the graphic designers are capable of placing adverts on Facebook without using their Facebook accounts to generate leads to their personal sites where they have displayed their products at costs as low as $0.20 to $0.30 per click and $0.09 to $0.14 per impression (Manovich, 2012, p. 5).
Facebook stands out among the best social sites where marketing of products and services is conducted freely and with a lot of convenience. To achieve the same leads by attending art exhibitions, a graphic designer can spend a very long an entire lifetime to achieve the same as that which he or she is capable of achieving by showcasing their products on a social site such as Facebook.
Created in 2006, twitter has well over 400 million members according to a report conducted in Feb 2012 by Manovich (2012, p.16). Twitter is a free social networking/ micro-blogging service that enable the communication of people in a simple manner that can be easily broadcasted to the world.
Twitter as a communication platform enables the members to send messages referred to as ‘tweets’ to a group of the author’s subscribers referred to as followers. People discuss what is happening around them in discussions that range from entertainment, politics, economic and social issues (Buchanan, 2011, p. 20). The corporate use of twitter enables individuals to share with cooperate heads and experts in different fields.
The discussion platform is a good chance for graphic designers and illustrators to show their expertise in graphic design by engaging their fans in the prevailing debates.
Using twitter to market one’s skills can be a very daunting task especially when one is not well versed with necessary strategies on how to go about it. One has to change the focus of the debate to suit his or purposes without seeming to do it intentionally (Manovich, 2012, p.18).
Twitter is advantageous in that updates made by twitter subscribers who are also on Facebook can be synchronized. A graphic designer, a web designer or an illustrator can take advantage of this to reach followers who are also on Facebook in the selling of their products or in advertising their expertise.
Another advantage with twitter is that it is growing at a fast rate with the rate having been 1382% increase in users between the years 2011 and 2102 (Levy, 2012, p.13). In fact, according to the same research study, twitter is overtaking the traditional media outlets such as television channels in public reliance for breaking news, skills and gossip (p.16).
By constantly tweeting, a graphic designer ensures his or her followers that they are on time and active and can, therefore, be entrusted on design projects even those that have tight schedules. Once the designer gets a deal with a particular client, communication of the progress can be conducted freely and without incurring any costs through tweeting.
YouTube is a video sharing site created in 2005. With almost every written work being adapted into film, YouTube has gained popularity among many internet users. The site offers users the opportunity to upload, watch and share videos as well as comment about the videos that they have watched.
Many marketers as well as trainers have taken the opportunity that is provided to them by YouTube to come up with informational videos that push their agenda to the millions of viewers online (Manovich, 2012, p.23). Over the last few years, YouTube has grown steadily to become the second most powerful search engine considering that it has well over 300 million videos posted by the members (Hall, 2011, p.58).
The most populated and developed nations of the world such as the USA, Canada, and China among others have the most people uploading, watching and sharing videos online. This does not however imply that people from other nations are not active on YouTube. Graphic designers have the opportunity of exploring the market for their products by producing videos that highlight their products to the world.
When a certain video goes viral, it implies that millions of people are viewing the video and talking about it throughout the world. Makers of propaganda use YouTube to reach millions of people and get their topic to be discussed by many people using this simple trick.
YouTube has an advantage in that one can upload as many videos as they wish and can track the progress by observing the number of views that the videos are getting as well as the likes and dislikes.
YouTube provides the most cost effective way of doing a detailed product and service marketing for graphic designers and illustrators as they can make videos of themselves engaging in the actual work explaining to the viewers about the processes of coming up with a given sample product. The viewers are not limited to the subscribers alone as anyone on YouTube can view a given video if they know how to trace it.
The interactive nature of YouTube makes it possible for the viewers to give their opinions on a given video they have watched by commenting on it. This makes it possible for the graphic designer who relies upon the tool to gauge the nature of reception that their products receive from the audience.
People can share or embed videos on You Tube or on other social sites such as Facebook and affiliate websites such the graphic designer’s personal websites.
This social site, which is owned by Yahoo, was established in 2004. Flickr is among the most popular image sharing and video hosting sites as well as online communities on the world. The nature of the social site makes it possible for artists such as graphic designers, web designers and illustrators to come up with ways in which to engage the communities in discussions and have their products exhibited to them (Heller, 2012, p. 6).
The site allows users to create accounts free of charge, as well as store, share and explore digital photos. Members of Flickr are capable of creating their own profiles, discuss trending topics, and at the same time, sharing photography and videos with each other.
Bloggers also use Flickr a lot in hosting images that they embed to their blogs and other social sites. The two main objectives of Flickr are enabling its users create their content and share it with the people that they are closest to, those who matter to them most and also enhancing video and photo organization in new manners.
Just like other social sites, the business objectives and potentials are hidden to those who are not capable of observing them. Through careful utilization of Flickr, graphic designers and illustrators are capable of reaching the widest market with their products by sharing samples and discussing them with friends in the Flickr community.
A good example of an existing group is the Paul Rand modern graphic design fan club, which has over fifteen hundred members (Heller, 2012, p.7).However, Flickr services are in two packages with one being a free package and the other being a pro package. A little amount is charged for the pro services but it is enough for a person to use the free services if for marketing purposes.
LinkedIn was created in 2003 as a professional and business- oriented social tool. The site offers the change for different professionals to advertise their skills in a given field. The site enables professionals to create and maintain a list of contacts belonging to the people that they trust in business.
Job candidates also benefit by getting endorsements from their colleagues, former employers and professional peers. Graphic designers on LinkedIn are best placed to tap the opportunities and potential buyers of their expertise who advertise for the same on the site.
LinkedIn has well over 100 million registered professionals and companies (Heller, 2012, p.6). There are also professional communities, which debate on issues that are relevant to their fields of expertise. A community of graphic designers on LinkedIn, which enables them to discuss, as well as explore job opportunities and devise ways through which they will make their industry better.
LinkedIn offers professionals such as graphic designers the opportunity to connect with a pool of professionals at absolutely no cost. Employers tend to trust LinkedIn when sourcing for workers to award contracts and that works well for the graphic designers who have realized this trick.
As a graphic designing or rather writing personal graphic design blogs can be an effective way of utilizing internet communication to your advantage (Bierut et al, 2004, p.34).This is because it builds a community of art enthusiasts and fanatics around you, which can have a very good impact on your business.
Writing about issues concerning graphic design and displaying samples of your work on the blog establishes you as an expert in the discipline. A blog for a graphic designer opens a door for fans to start appreciating their work, which they could not have otherwise gotten the chance.
After a potential client visits a graphic designer or illustrator’s blog, if they are impressed by what they see, they therefore head straight for the portfolio to have a look at the works showcased. What comes after that is definitely a business deal for the graphic designer (Bierut, 2009, p.78).
To be able to attract the relevant audience of the art passionate people to the blog, the graphic designer has to be careful about what to include in writing the blog. By constantly upgrading a blog post, a graphic designer assures potential clients who visit it that he/ she is still active and readily available if given a task to handle (Hara, 2007, p.42).
Furthermore, blogs open up debates with the readers on their opinion about what the graphic designer has displayed or what they have discussed in the writing. A blog post serves as part of the designer’s portfolio as much of what the potential clients end up knowing about the designer is based on what they showcase or what they discuss about in the discussions (Benet, 2010, p.2).
Posting content constantly also improves the ranking of the blog on the search engines and therefore drives more traffic to it. The graphic designer therefore gets some sense of an’ online voice’ in which he engages the community of fans and potential clients.
With the accumulation of ideas and knowledge on the blog, other graphic designers in the field will find themselves constantly alluding or referencing the contents of your blog in theirs and therefore further widening the existing market for more potential clients and establishing one as an expert in graphic design (Heller, 2008, p. 1)
Email marketing is another cost effective and efficient way that graphic designers use to ensure that their products reach a wide market (Bierut et al. 2006, p. 12). In email marketing, the graphic designers get internet users to subscribe for their periodical newsletters either on their websites or on blogs.
By having the emails, they then send details of their services, which might even be underpinned by providing case examples of previous clients and so on. Email marketing is a powerful marketing and communication tool over the internet and it is very free of charge. Graphic designers often make use of email marketing to make follow-ups on potential leads that can result to business deals (Helfand, Maeda, 2010, p.35).
The biggest advantage of using e-newsletters by graphic designers is that unlike other social networking sites that target the general audience, they target a specific audience of people who have personally subscribed to receive the newsletters either on the designers’ websites or on blogs.
The chances that these can turn out to be potential buyers of the products or services are very high which makes it one of the most efficient marketing tools that graphic designers and other artists can ever use.
Designed in the year 1995, wikis provide an open, collaborative website in which information on different specific topics is provided. Wikipedia- the free encyclopedia is the most popular Wiki on the internet. However, organizations are not supposed to create their personal Wikipedia pages (Barnard, 2005, p. 34).
Most graphic designers who reach their clientele over the internet have Wikipedia pages about their artworks. Third party members of the public create and upgrade the pages.
Online galleries of graphic design and illustration
There are numerous online galleries for graphic design and illustration on the internet. These galleries provide a platform on which artists share their artworks and as a result meet potential clients on the internet (Buxton, 2007, p. 21).
The online galleries also provide information about some of the world’s leading graphic designers, their rates, showing how they can be contacted. This section analyses some of the most popular online galleries of graphic design and illustration and the nature of help that they offer to graphic artistes throughout the world.
This independent venture aims at showcasing outstanding creativity and culture as presented by artists and designers from different parts of the world (Gladwell, 2012, p.43). The online gallery offers a platform for designers and illustrators to inspire, share, and express themselves to other art enthusiasts.
The gallery that was formed by graphic artist from Malaysia in 2007 offers them a platform to exhibit their wares as well as those of other artistes to the world thereby expanding their potential market and clientele. The online gallery has attracted international designers from all over the world in their quest to showcase their creative work to the world (Chayutsahakij, & Poggenpohl, (2010, p. 61).
Considering the fact that art has no boundaries, artzmania has succeeded greatly as an online art gallery whereby many artists and designers who were less known to the world have gained substantial recognition.
The gallery has also fan pages in social sites such as facebook where discussions about prevailing art and design debates are undertaken by the art enthusiasts. Artzmania is regarded as one of the most successful graphic design sites on the web (Galloway, & Thacker, 2010, p. 72).
Bakmagazine is another online gallery that offers the opportunity to graphic designers and illustrators from all over the world to showcase their wares and talent. Artists from all over the world including illustrators and graphic designers converge at the site where they display their products as well as contribute in the discussion about the contemporary trends in graphic design.
Typographers, web designers, graffiti artists among others meet potential clients or end up deals from the products that they submit for display at the bakagazine online gallery. Renowned graphic designers and illustrators have their works critiqued by different critiques and as a result their artworks have ended up becoming household symbols (Hasset, & Kostelnik, 2010, p. 142 ).
Bakmagazine has enable artistes to market their products to a wider market that could otherwise be expensive to reach. It is not easy for a graphic designer to have their work exhibited at any of the world art galleries as it is with bakmagazine yet with bakmagazine it is a simple and inexpensive venture.
Artists enter samples of their works for display and the works are exposed to a very wide audience that could not have otherwise been achieved through attending different exhibitions.
In addition, the bakmagazine gallery has a sister magazine that is currently only and can be downloaded by internet users from different parts of the world. This has made the magazine a very effective tool in marketing graphic designers and illustrators on the internet.
This other online gallery showcases the works of different web designers and provides a platform for expert web designers to discuss matters that aim at advancing the current design technology. Digital thread has listed the most of the best design agencies giving their contacts as well as producing articles that spark debates about the graphic design industry.
Clients are linked to the best web design companies in their locality, which serves their convenience. Through this online gallery, web design agencies and clients have been linked for free which has greatly boosted the design industry to a great extend. Freelance designers also take part in debates that are triggered by the articles on digitalthread.com, and therefore get the chance to showcase their expertise, which widens their market.
This online graphic design and illustrators gallery showcases the design products of different niche players in the design industry often linking them to their clients.
The gallery has been in existence since the year 2003. The works of different graphic designers from different places of the world are showcased and exposed to public debates with audiences of more than ten million viewers a week. Several graphic designers who were otherwise even not known among their colleagues have found the online an effective way of transforming their careers and exposing them to a wide market.
This online magazine enhances the networking of graphic designers, web designers and illustrators. Different works by different designers and illustrators are showcased on the online magazine therefore opening them to a wide market and fanatics (Crampton, 2010, p.24). Smashing magazine also hosts debates and discussions, which enable designers and illustrators to share their skills with other over the internet.
The magazine showcases the top rated designs works from renowned designers throughout the world, which exposes them to buyers of such works.
Least known artists who have submitted their works on this online art magazine benefit from having their works viewed by millions of art fanatics throughout the world, which boosts their popularity and chances of making a living out of the sales of their artworks.
The online art and design directory
The art and design directory is another online gallery that showcases the works of designers and illustrators to the online audience (Campbell, & Collins, 2010, p. 41). The gallery also portrays the biographies of the biggest names in the graphic design industry and their contact details.
Clients are linked to the graphic designers from this gallery and the least known players in the graphic design community get the chance to submit their products to a very huge audience. Designers submit articles that are discussed by design fanatics and experts from the entire globe on the art and design directory.
Alongside other artworks by artists, the world’s most influential art critics have criticized the works by graphic designers therefore making them popular in the market. Graphic designers at different levels in their career have found the online art and design directory a good resource in marketing their products and services.
They are capable of reaching a very wide market and engage potential buyers of their products spontaneously without incurring any costs that would have otherwise been experienced without the use of the internet (Buxton, 2009, p. 51).
2photo is another online art and design gallery that has helped many less known graphic designers, web designers and illustrators to gain exposure and have their products viewed by a global audience. Graphic designers create their portfolios on the site and submit samples of their work, which is scheduled for the online exhibitions conducted on the site.
As a result, even a starting graphic designer has the opportunity to sell his or her products to customers who like them (Burke, 2010, p.7). This privilege has been actualized through internet communication as provided through such online galleries such as 2photo. Experienced graphic designers submit articles that serve to guide the staring designers in handling different situations or graphic design work related situations.
Starting a career in graphic design has been made easy by online galleries such as 2photo, which provides the necessary information to such artistes when they need it the most. Graphic designers and illustrators of the 21st century have therefore been saved the tussles and hassles that were experienced by the earlier graphic designers in gaining market for their products and services.
Online graphic design contests
One of the most effective ways that graphic designers use internet communication in spreading and selling their products to the world is through participating in online contests. There are several sites on the web where these contests are hosted.Different graphic designers participate with the hope of having their skills recognized by the world and meeting prospective clients on the internet. Among these sites are:
The founders of the site Mark Harbottle, Paul Annesley and Lachlan Donald in Melbourne, launched 99designs.com in 2008. Designers consider the site. The site offers a level playing ground for designers to participate in design contests and win cash prizes when their designers emerge as winners in the given contests.
Currently there are more than two thousand active contests where entry is open to designers from all occupations. Corporate organizations rely upon the site. This enhances efficiency and reliability of services such as logo design amongst others. Once a contest has kicked off, a client is capable of getting their product ready within a very short period.
Being a site that is created by designers for designers, the contests are such that a given graphic designer can improve on their work, share in a discussion with peers and at the same time be in a position to win new clients.
This site is generally helpful to both well-established graphic designers and emerging ones in that they are given the opportunity to showcase their skills in a well established platform as well as find a ready market for their products.
Graphiccompetions.com is one of the most successful online graphic design promotions. As of April 2012, there were more than 29 graphic designer contests posted on the site (Frascara, 2012, p. 54). Graphic designers, especially those working on freelance basis rely on the site to get the chance to join others in the world’s best and most profitable graphic design gigs.
Graphiccompetitions.com has an online graphic design community that exchanges ideas through holding discussions on the site as well as making referrals for each other. Clients also find graphiccompetitions.com a very reliable place to meet the best talent in the graphic design world.
Among the listed competitions on graphiccompetitions.com for the years 2012 include the Chicago Fringe Festival 2012 design contest, which calls for different graphic designers to come up with the poster for the event.
Another existing contest listed on the site is the ‘One Condom Design Contest 2012’, which calls for different designers to compete in coming up with the condom wrapper design, and thirdly is the ‘World No Tobacco Day 2012 Poster Contest’. This contest calls for the designing of a theme poster for the day which is commemorated every 31st day of May.
The contests are open for all and this gives a chance to the emerging designers to take advantage and show the world what skill they have. A category only accepts students to compete in a given contest therefore preparing them for the professional life as a graphic designer. Students also benefit from mentorship that is offered by the experienced graphic designers who are members of the site’s community (Frascara, 2012, 55).
Only the winners benefit from these promotions, as also the works of the other participating designers are showcased on the site. Thousands of clients visit the site in search of the best talents, which might not have yet been recognized. Entering the competitions in the site offers a good starting point for emerging graphic designers (Ehses, & Lupton, 2008, p. 149).
Online Logo design contests
Numerous websites conduct online logo design contests on behalf of their corporate clients. The clients submit the required details about the organization that are to be included in the logo and then the site administrators call for logo designers to enter the contests (Hill, 2006, p.32).
Many corporate organizations find these sites much economical and reliable than conducting the ventures by themselves. Some of the most famous online logo design contests hosting sites include the following:
Logomyway.com is a website that offers the clients in need of a logo the chance to start a logo contest to get the best logo that they desire. Clients can start a logo competition for as low as $200 with an assurance of getting unique and high quality logos. The site has a resource pool of more than two thousand talented graphic designers taken from all over the world.
There are open logo contests that offer opportunities to the industry beginners to showcase their talent to the huge market of corporate clients who rely upon the site for quality logo designs. There is a huge reserve of sample works and designer portfolios at the site that a given client can choose.
Logotournament.com is a website that offers clients the privilege of choosing the best logo designers for their organizations by following very simple steps online.
Logo design contests can be started for less than $275 in this site and it only takes less than a week for the client to be overwhelmed by excellent and original logos that in most cases leave them spoilt for choice. The process involved is so fast, which makes it possible for many clients to choose the site rather than outsourcing to get the job done.
There is a huge online community of graphic designers who engage each other in discussions about the industry…mentoring each other (Heller, 2008, p. 37). The site has attracted the best in the logo design industry and therefore emerging graphic designers and students who join the community not only benefit by being exposed to wide market but also from being mentored by the best in the industry.
Numerous works from logo designers are exhibited on the site for clients to review them and choose among them in order to get the best designer for prospective jobs.
Prominent graphic designers and the role of internet communication in their success
As evidenced through considering the success of some of the modern day graphic design artists, internet communication has played a very vital role in the spread of not only the skills involved but by opening up the market for such artistes (Hill, 2006, p.65).
Older graphic designers who have been lucky to have experienced the graphic design industry before and after the revolution that came together with the invention of the internet testify that the industry has been transformed a lot with competition becoming extremely stiff (Ilvin, 2007, p.65).
Among the graphic designers who have been able to experience the shift in the trends in the graphic design industry include the renowned American graphic designer Milton Glaser, David Carson, the Japanese designer Ikko Tanaka among others.
He is the famed creator of I ♥ NY Logo. To many art enthusiasts, Glaser is considered the personification of graphic design in America. Glaser started his career in the 1970s when online communication was not well established, and has survived through to the 21st century when almost everything is conducted online.
Glaser’s contribution in the graphic design industry is magnanimous making him to be regarded as a legend in the industry. He is best known for the enduring I ♥ NY campaign, being a co-founder of the renowned New York Magazine, creating the “Bob Dylan” poster, coming up with the “DC Bullet logo” which has been used by many Comics since then (Hill, 2008, p.442).
Milton Glaser is however among the many graphic designers and illustrators whose genius would be only enjoyed by a limited audience were it not for the development of internet communication. The ‘I ♥ NY logo’ and the entire campaign for instance would not have attained international exposure were it not for the part that online communication mediums have played in coming up with the same (Hill, 2008,p. 431).
Despite the fact that Glaser had utilized the New York magazine to market himself, he could not have attained the global recognition that he attained were it not for the internet. This explains the reason why Glaser and many other individual artistes who existed since the 1970s were barely known outside the US.
Because of his recognition, Glaser has won numerous awards for his contribution in the contemporary art and design. The awards include those from Art directors clubs, the American society of Graphic arts, the Society of illustrators and type directors Club among others (Hendel, 2008, p.56).
As a result of gaining internal recognition which was to a large extent contributed by the internet, Glaser is now a member of the Alliance Graphique International and the Cooper- Hewitt National Design Museum award in 2004 (Hendel, 2008, p.73).
The internet has played a significant role in eliciting the views of more experienced graphic designers about the prevailing graphic designers of the 21st century (Hollis, 2004, p. 35). For instance, Glaser engages in debates about other designers such as Shepard Fairey and offers his criticism of their works, which is accessible to art enthusiasts all over the world.
For instance, Glaser’s commentary on Fairey’s work and the accusations made by the graphic designer did not reference the sources that inspire his works in the “Hope poster’ can be accessed by many art enthusiasts who were anxious of the debate that ensued (Heller, & Veronique, 2010, p. 65). For example, Glaser says this about Fairey’s work “I find the relationship between Fairey’s work and his sources discomforting.
In my own case, when I did the Dylan poster, I acknowledged using Duchamp’s profile as an influence. I think unless you’re modifying it and making it your own, you’re on very tenuous ground” (Lasn, 2012, p.43). Websites that record such discussions tend to be sufficient markets for the works of many graphic designers and illustrators as many people among them potential buyers visit them in pursuit of the debates.
They are among the well-established names in graphic design such as Glaser and Fairey. Despite the fact that the recent technology has advanced the graphic designs industry, which enables most designers to use the computer in doing their work, Milton Glaser is one of the few designers who still insist on the usage of manual techniques in graphic design (Hill, &Marguerite, 2004, p. 87).
With his name already established, this does not hinder the marketing of his products considering that he is famed for holding one man exhibitions.
David Carson is renowned American graphic and type designer. Carson is best known for innovative magazine and through experimental typography. He worked as the art director for the famous magazine Ray Gun. His contribution to the graphic design industry made him to be considered as the most influential American graphic designer of the 1990s (Joly, 2007, p.54).
Carson art directed some music, skateboarding, and surfing magazines throughout his career, which include twSkateboarding, surfer among others (Heller, 2005, p.4).
It is during his years of work as the art director at Ray Gun magazine that Carson came to be recognized by many as an influential figure in the graphic design society. In fact, he was named among the top five most influential graphic designers by the graphic design USA Magazine (NYC) alongside Milton Glaser, Paul Rand, Saul Bass and Massimo Vignelli (Joly, 2007, p.15).
By the late 1980s, Carson had already developed his signature style. This used the “dirty” type and non-mainstream photographic techniques that were upheld by the other designers of the time (Hawthome, 2003, p.122). Having worked in the graphic design industry since the 1980s, Carson has experienced the nature of change that has been encountered in the industry since then.
Carson talks about the change that has been experienced in the graphic design industry especially with the development of internet communication. Carson acknowledges the contribution of online communication channels in promoting the graphic design industry (Kinross, 2009, p.38).
However, he also predicts a not so good future for the graphic designers of the future considering that the industry has been overcrowded even with ill skilled designers mastering the trick of getting even more pleasant deals than the qualified designers get.
Carson claims that in the future, it is not the graphic designer who has the talent in producing the most impressive visual messages that will be in a position to land the best deals but the one who will have mastered the art or science of online networking and marketing (Joly, 2007, p.19). To Carson, the internet has opened up the industry and connected designers from all over the world (Kinross, 2009, p.43).
Just as with other industries, the graphic design industry will enjoy the benefits of the internet development while at the same time suffer the problems that are associated with it. The number of graphic designers grew tremendously since the beginning of the 21st century, which saw the start of major developments in the graphic design industry (Galloway, & Thacker, 2010, p. 342).
Ikko Tanaka is a well-known Japanese graphic designer whose designs exited many art enthusiasts since the 1950s (Kinross, 2000, p.231). Considering the fact that both the West and the East influence the works of Tanaka, and they acknowledge the vocabulary of European modernism while at the same time keeping it Japanese, Tanaka managed to gain recognition in many parts of the world.
Under the inspiration of sources as diverse as the Japanese traditional culture and the passion he had for the American jazz, he came up with posters and graphic event programs that made him to spring to fame (Drucker, & McVarish, 2008, p. 76).
However technology such as the internet had no significance to the growth of designers such as Tanaka, he acknowledges the contribution that the internet as made in the industry claiming that modern graphic designers are ‘blessed’ to have mediums such as the internet that can bring them international fame in a day.
According to Tanaka, most designers especially those from the east could not have found a platform where they can have their wares showcased to the world and get the advantage of working for international clients (Klein, 2010, p.361). Despite the fact that Tanaka was a famous designer, his clients were only limited to his locality and it was hard for designers like him during such times to land deals from internal clients.
The internet according to Tanaka has made the graphic design industry more promising to the young and emerging designers who only have to create their client base in the comfort of their houses (Coombs et al. 2007, p.56). During his days, designers could only showcase their artworks to a limited audience and incur a lot of expenses having to travel to different places to showcase them to only an audience of art elites.
The 21st century famous graphic designers
The twenty first century saw the biggest developments in internet communication and it is therefore then that designers who were least known were catapulted to glory through the eased networking capability. Among the most popular graphic designers of the 21st century is Shepard Fairey whose talent was displayed to the world majorly through the internet in few days he became a household name.
He is among the most successful graphic designers and illustrators of the contemporary American society. Fairey provides the best example of how internet communication can transform a graphic designer and attract clients within a very short period.
Fairey has been involved in numerous successful online campaigns where he has been able to showcase his talent to the world, which has given global fame to his ‘OBEY GIANT’ brand (Cooper, 2010, p. 22).
Fairey emerged from the skateboarding scene. The artwork that is widely acknowledged as making him famous is the “Andre the Giant Has a Pose” (Cooper, 2010, p. 22) sticker campaign that he came up with after appropriating some images from the comedic supermarket tabloid Weekly World News’ in 1989 (Lasn, 2012, p.65).
However, it is until during the 2008 presidential campaign that his works gained international recognition. The Barrack Obama “Hope” poster brought him to the spotlight.
Fairey is considered among the contemporary artists whose success has been influenced to a great extend by online communication media tools such as the social media. The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston considers Fairey as among the world’s best-known and influential street artists of the time (Kress, & Van Leeuwen, 2009, p.37).
It is only in the 21st century when internet communication reached a peak through the invention of social sites such as twitter and facebook that designers and artists such as Fairey came to the spotlight (Fleckenstein et al. 2007, p. 21).
The ‘Obey Giant’ campaign for instance has experienced a tremendous growth due to its exposure to other arts artists through the international network of collaborators who have replicated it and made it to spread further. According to Fairey, Obey Giant was intended to invoke curiosity among the audience as well as provoke the people to question their relations with their environs (Kress, & Van Leeuwen, 2009, p. 29).
This is a dream that has been made true by the internet communication. In social networks such as facebook and twitter, people hold debates about the possibly intended meanings of the Obey slogan as well as the composition of the picture. This has played a great deal in making such work popular and making it among the most demanded brands across the world.
Many people in different places of the world not only notice but also investigate the works of Fairey after encountering them through the internet or from the collaborators who get them from the internet. This explains how the internet has played a significant role in the popularizing of graphic designers and exposing their works to the global market (Scott, 2011, p.78).
In marketing the ‘OBEY clothing line’, the internet has played a remarkable role by opening up his designer clothing to the world. Through the social media for instance, people from different corners of the world are capable of seeing the exhibits and can even place orders and get them delivered to their premises anywhere (Fiell, & Peter, 2008, p. 9).
Different people who require the services that Fairey offers can negotiate terms with him through the OBEY website where there is a portal for one to do so.
Along with Dave Kinsley, Fairey opened the design studio BLK/MRKT inc., which conducted guerilla marketing and high-impact marketing campaigns and managed to work with client companies such as Pepsi, Hasbro and Netscape. Fairey designed the red dinosaur version of mozzila.org’s logo and mascot for Netscape (O’Connor, 2008).
Fairey has been involved in numerous art campaigns most of which have political motives. A good example is the 2004 campaigns that he was involved where he had collaborated with other artists such as Robbie Conal and Mear One to create a series of ‘anti Bush’ and ‘anti war’ posters. The revolution, which was called ‘Be the Revolution’ relied a lot on the internet to garner the support of the ‘anti Bush’ members of the public.
The success of such initiatives can be attributed to the existence of internet communication channels such as the social media (Laurel, 2007, p.64). Internet communication has played a major role in the growth of graphic designers.
The fact that less was known to the world about the achievements and the works of geniuses such as Fairey during the 1990s shows how the development of internet communication has played a significant role. Through networking from their websites and the social media, artists such as Fairey have been able to rise to fame within a very short span of time.
Graphic designers are capable of collaborating with other artists through the internet and come up with big impact campaigns (Preston, 2009, p.2).
For instance, Fairey’s company, Studio Number One which he formed together with his wife Amanda Fairey, has enabled such collaborations as Fairey has produced the cover work to the music albums of renowned music artists such as the Black Eyed Peas and the also posters for films such as walk line.
These collaborations have in fact elevated graphic designers whose audience was limited to the few people who knew the artist personally to entirely the art lovers throughout the world. This has in fact made graphic artists to be regarded as among the most influential policy movers on the world.
The appearance and the naming of Fairey as an important policy mover in the recent controversial video ( KONY 2012) that had gone viral and triggered a big debate also sent a message to the world that the influence power of artists cannot be underrated especially at this time of information technology (Levy, 2012, p.46).
The fame that Shepard Fairey has got throughout the world places him among the contemporary greatest artists in the American society. People have appreciated as well as criticizing his work throughout the world, which continuously boosts his fame.
Some critiques such as Erick Lyle have accused Fairey citing that he has turned the graffiti culture into self promoting ad campaigns only aimed at making him famous and rich (Scott,2011, p.23). From this accusation, it is evident that Lyle is ignorant that the success of the artworks means definite success for the artist.
The fact that Fairey’s works have been appreciated throughout the world means that his name also is carried along with this success. The San Diego Union Tribute art critic Robert Pincus points out that Fairey’s work “is political art with a strong sense of visual style and emotional authenticity.
Even in a time when political art has ebbed, Fairey’s work has just the right balance of seriousness, irony and wit to fit the mood of the moment and has benefitted a lot from information technology to gain international acceptance”(Siegel, 2008, p. 74).
It is therefore evident that, Fairey’s work would only get the recognition of the few people who know him and the world would have been secluded without internet communication. The mega profits that the graphic designer gets from international companies that have recognized his talent through the different internet communication channels would not have otherwise been achieved.
The success of graphic designers such as Shepard Fairey can be attributed to the part that that internet communication has played to promote graphic design. The internet has acted as an exhibition platform for these artists to display their wares as well as a market where they can sell their products and talent to clients all over the world (Siegel, 2008, p.78).
Pieters is one of the fascinating minds behind Douh! She is a vibrant graphic and web designer whose success as she claims can be attributed to the improvements that have been brought about by the internet in graphic design (Lasn, 2012, p.32).
Pieters is a Belgium and as she claims, geography is no longer a problem for graphic designers as they can have their work displayed and sold to anyone in the world considering that the internet is spread throughout.
Pieters claims to have been influenced greatly by the works of designers Jeffery Zeldman, Douglas bowman and Shea’s Zen Garden (Lasn, 2012, p.34). She claims that web design offers the most freedom that a graphic artist can ever dream of. Through the internet, Pieters claims that she can work for clients anywhere in the world and this does not mean that the communication is compromised (Lasn, 2012, p.36).
Through instant messaging, emails and video conferencing, she is capable of interacting with clients and negotiating terms without incurring much cost thanks to the internet. Effective internet marketing and networking has made it possible for less known designers to make it to the global arena where they have proved worth of the recognition that they end up receiving (Crawford, 2005, p. 24).
The future of graphic design
The proliferation of computer into the graphic design and illustration industry, everyone has the potential of making it in the industry (Watts, 2011, p.21). The desktop designing software, the numerous online design templates, digital cameras have made it possible for absolutely anyone to become a designer of sorts.
Internet communications has made it easy for designers to network with ease, at the same time showcase, and sell their products without incurring any costs. As a result of the overcrowding that the industry is facing, for one to make it in the industry, he or she should be able to demonstrate that their work is superior and outstandingly unique in quality and creativity.
The recent computer technology employed by many designers in the industry makes it difficult for even the clients to differentiate the professionals from the pack of quark designers (Wieldemann, & Taborda, 2008, p.87). Formal education in design is still an essential requirement in that many things that seem valueless to the nonprofessionals in design do have impact in design.
Many graphic designers still think digitally when it comes to coming up with products that will make them outstanding in the overcrowded industry in the future (Cawood, 2007, p. 127). It is however important to note that being able to do storyboards, roughs and freehand sketch is also very important. Even the clients that one meets online are aware of the overcrowded nature of the industry.
They will most likely want demonstrations such as freehand. Therefore, while technology will still play the role of widening and improving the graphic design industry, the ability to create unplugged graphics will remain being an effective marketing skill to designers (Laurel, 2011, p.321).
Niche areas in the market are emerging each passing day (Lasn, 2012, p.29). It is up to the graphic designer to face the future will an open mind filled with innovation and improvisation. Demonstrating competence and mastery in the field makes it possible for the graphic designer more marketable.
For instance, due to the increasing development of the internet, web designers will always be in demand. Being capable of working with most of the programming languages will make a particular web designer stand out.
Live online communication through channels such as Skype and online chat rooms is continuously advancing to satisfy all the desires that a graphic artist can have to communicate and make demonstrations to clients all over the world (Wood, 2011, p.34). Video conferencing is experiencing a rapid growth in the graphic design industry with most of the outstanding designers taking advantage of it.
This connectivity has introduced a major shift from the traditional way of doing things where a given client would only contract a local graphic designer. Clients now can have their projects handled by people from any part of the world and have their instructions delivered to them in a face-to-face manner (Lasn, 2006, p.265).
Sites such as Odesk, E-lance and Freelancer continuously provide job leads to graphic designers and creating contact platforms for them and their clients. Therefore, it is most likely that even the least known of the graphic designers, if he or she will be capable of demonstrating that with skills are extraordinary will be able to find work in the future.
Even more is expected in terms of providing ready markets for the graphic designers to showcase their skills and ready products in the future (Wood, 2011, p.35). It is therefore obvious that the 21st century saw the start to a technological revolution that transformed the manner in which graphic designers work and how they meet their prospective clients (Fiell, & Fiell, 2003, p.40).
The demand for print publishing is decreasing at a very alarming rate with everything ranging from news to books being transformed to cater for the needs of the online community (Livingstone, & Livingstone, 2003, p.89).
This does not however pose any threat to the graphic design industry in the future considering that it is only facing some sort of modification. The same graphic designers are expected to adapt to these changes as their opportunities are majorly going to be found online in the years to come.
There is another significant trend shift in the graphic design industry that graphic designers and especially web designers should be aware of. With the current shift from desktop to mobile, only those designers are versed with the suitable programming languages (Levy, 2012, p.56). Web designers of the coming years are expected to act both as computer programmers and as designers to survive in the increasingly competitive industry.
Not considering the graphic designers working on a freelance basis, the number of graphic design jobs is expected to rise at a rate of 13% yearly until 2020 according to the American bureau of statistic’s data (2010). This rate is the highest considering that a negative growth rate was experienced in the past in the industry. This change can be attributed to the role played by the internet.
The graphic design industry jobs statistics in the 1990s.
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program (2010)
It is no doubt that the graphic design industry is much better and bigger thanks to the internet. Business deals that could have taken a graphic designer a lot in terms of finances and time can now be made within a second by simply clicking a mouse button (Almeida, 2009, p.186).
Graphic designers are among the most favored by the developments that came with the internet considering that the nature of their work allows them now to work from anywhere in the world provided there is internet connectivity (Lidwell et al. 2003, p.68).
The benefits that the industry has received through the help of internet communication outweigh the few disadvantages associated with it. Graphic designers can now work for clients without considering issues such as geographical limitations (Lovink, 2008, p.78). A graphic designer can work for a client based on the other side of the world and have the work delivered to them in a very short period.
Emerging designers do not have to take the long time that they used to take in order to establish themselves in the industry. An aspiring graphic designer has the chance to showcase his or her talent to the world by participating in the online contests or having samples of their work showcased online where thousands of clients are capable of viewing them.
Internet communication has been boosted a lot in the 21st century following the invention of major social sites such as facebook, twitter, You Tube among others, which serve as very powerful markets for designers in the industry (Lupton, 2009, 245). Designer-client communicating has been enhanced through instant messaging and email, which makes it possible for a graphic designer to seal a deal within a very short period.
Through the evaluation of the most successful online graphic design promotions and analyzing the role that the internet has played in the expansion of the industry, it is very clear that the graphic design industry is increasingly becoming the most famous and easiest to venture and succeed in.
This can be attested by considering the manner in which the number of graphic designers has grown few the few professionals two to three decades ago to the millions in the year 2012.
The major problem however that the growth of the internet is accused of orchestrating is the tremendous tendencies of copyright abuse and plagiarism. In fact, renowned graphic designers of the past express the concern that in the future graphic design will be a vague industry characterized by immense dishonesty and cheating (Levy, 2012, p.49).
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