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Is your job obsolete? Become a designer of the future

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash
This is you.

If you are a designer, you’ve probably been caught in the middle of a heated debate about the future of a designers’ job. Let’s face it: sometimes, the whole debate is even in your head. A part of you knows the ground is shifting and there is this other part trying to resist that thought.

Wait, you are having that thought again!

It is real. More than ever, there are clear signs that the designers’ appeal is fading and it isn’t what it use to be a decade ago. With all the different software competing among themselves to make the design process easier and faster, what used to appear as an answer to the prayers of designers is now the cause of cold sweat and nightmares.

There was a time when designers were consulted about everything related to design. Everything. If a business wanted to make a flyer, you reached out to a designer first.  Want a new logo? Better call that designer guy. In those days, designers were lords. 

Then, a bunch of free and paid apps like Canva and Crello made it to the scene. Their sole purpose is to cut out the need for the middleman – the designer. With these apps, business owners can spin various graphics right from their phones within a few minutes, usually for free. Now, with all the available software, you can even do AB testing with designs in a couple of minutes and get the best design the user wants.

It was hard to resist. Today, these apps are the norms, and a designer’s job has never been so threatened. Does this mean that these apps totally replaced designers? Of course not. Design goes beyond slapping a few colors and shapes over each other.

Design is both a science and an art. Well trained designers understand the principle of aesthetics, the science behind visual branding and the strategic importance/impact for a company. Good luck explaining that to your fleeing clients. The simple truth is that they don’t care. These apps are making it cheaper, faster, and more fun to create their own designs. Why should they care about you?

If you think this is just for a moment, think again. We haven’t even started.

We are going to point out: 

  • Now Everyone Can Be A Designer
  • Even AI Is Replacing Designers
  • Crazy Price Drops for custom designs
  • There is still hope
  • Learn how to code
  • Programming and design are related
  • Build Authority with Coding Skills
  • Become a problem solver with new coding skills
  • Best thing - More Income - $$$ :D

Now Everyone Can Be A Designer

This is one of the biggest challenges you would continue facing as a designer. More and more people are becoming creative. Yes, including CEOs. Design isn’t limited to specific job roles anymore. Actually, if you have a smartphone, you might as well design.

With all the apps helping everyday people explore their creative side, designers no longer retain that authority. What happens to any commodity with unlimited supply? Right? The demand drops. A basic rule of economics.

But this is not just about graphic designs. Web design is getting hit as bad. As far as a lot of people are concerned, web design as a profession is dead. There are dozens of online web page builders today competing for your clients’ attention. All they want to do is replace you.

Now, instead of hiring a web designer, the CEO or the receptionist can whip up the company’s website in an hour. The design may not be perfect, but like we said, who cares? Maybe only you do.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

 

Even AI Is Replacing Designers

If you are worried about how technology is allowing people to take your job from you, you need to sit down and read this. You are old school. Now, AI is doing the job itself. That means people can punch in a few demands and sip a cup of coffee while AI does the heavy lifting.

Have you heard about The Grid’s site builder? If you haven’t, you should check it out. With its powerful AI, business owners can now set up their websites by doing virtually nothing. With little information, The Grid goes on to create the website for them.

AI is changing all aspects of a designers’ job. Even, photo editing has been greatly improved by AI over the years. You don’t have to learn how to use Photoshop before tweaking your pictures. Since there are simple apps that help with all of this.

Now with just their smartphones, business owners can take and design photos that look as if they were taken in a studio. Filters have been improved as well as face recognition tools. AI is only going to get better. Good news for the business owners. Not so good for the common designer, because the need to hire designers has dropped drastically.

 

Crazy Price Drops for Custom Designs

Since technology is taking over jobs, a lot of designers are getting desperate, slashing prices so that they can stand ahead of the competition. Most likely, you’ve done the same. The problem is that, unless you are Wal-Mart, you can’t win a price war.

There is always that other designer who is hungrier than you are. This designer will cut out the profits to the bare bones until you give up. By then, the profit won’t be worth the stress.

Let us even imagine you managed to have the lowest price in your area. Your prices are so attractive and business owners are trooping in for a chance to work with you, there is a great probability that you would have to compromise on the quality of your work. And we all know that quality is that winning factor on why you hire a designer in the end.

With the quality of your work compromised, business owners would get irritated, dump you and go back to the AI. It is a vicious cycle no one wins, right?

Photo by David East on Unsplash

 

There Is Still Hope

It is not all doom and gloom. Since you know we are no bearer of bad news, we surely have a solution for you. Designers are creative and this is important since AI will not be as creative as humans, for a long time. If you want to take your job back and stay relevant as a designer, there is something you can do:

 

Learn How To Code

Yes, you read that correctly! Many smart designers are beginning to see the vast opportunities in going beyond design and supplementing their design experience with coding skills. If you want to stay ahead, this is what you have to do too.

So, what is so special about coding? Why programming and not something else?

 

 

Programming And Design Are Related

Design and coding are like two sides of the same coins. They are not exactly the same, but they are interlinked. Since a lot of projects require both a designer and a programmer, learning how to code will, at first, help you to better communicate with developers, and with time and practice it will offer you even more.  (read our blog post 10 Reasons why you should learn how to code )

Another advantage to them being related is that you wouldn’t have to take so long to learn to code and if you only want to enhance your skills as a designer you only need to learn the basics. As a designer, you already have some experience. You would quickly understand terms and concepts. In fact, you would even see things from a designers perspective that a full-time developer might miss.

 

Build Authority With Coding Skills

There are many good reasons why programmers are revered by all. For one, not a lot of people can code. Design has been democratized, but coding is another kettle of fish. 

While everyone can whip out their Canva, not many people know the first thing about coding. That right there is one of the main reasons why programmers are respected. We always respect anything shrouded with mystery, right?

But there is more.

Coding is seen as more demanding than design and this is largely true. After all design is just the body, while coding is the function. While programmers are seen as problem solvers, designers are seen as... well, just designers. By learning the basics, designers can better manage a project because they can better communicate or guide a developer. 

When you learn how to code, you gain more respect from business owners. They will seek to work with you. When you design, you would do so with the knowledge of the function behind it all. Designers who program are rare breeds, and you can quickly gain respect with such rep.

 

Become A Problem Solver With New Coding Skills

There is so much to be done and a lot of problems to be solved, but not all of them can be handled by AI and random apps for now. While design is becoming obsolete, coding is ever relevant, with more and more needs popping up each day.

Side note: Do you know who created all those AIs and software taking away designers’ jobs? 😈

A lot of jobs are being replaced and it is programmers and designers who can code that are called upon to handle the job. That means that programmers are relevant to AI. When you learn to code, you will only get more relevant and in demand.

 

Best Thing - More Income - $$$ :D

We are adding this as the last reason, but make no mistake about it; this is the most important reason of all. When a designer learns how to code, he will be opening up more opportunities to make extra income. Instead of hoping and waiting for a small design job to be dangled at him, he can make more money helping businesses to code business solutions.

This is a sleek way to increase the flow of income without completely switching the industry. Work is more fun when a lot of money is made. Generally, programmers get paid more than designers. It only makes sense to jump on that train. Any amount invested into learning how to code can be made back in just one awesome coding gig.

Designers are hoping that time could slow down. However, if there is one thing we’ve all learned, time waits for no one. Every day, more designers lose their clients to AIs. With time the evolution in design would be similar to what happened to scrolls and newspapers. It is inevitable.

The question is, would you wait for it to happen to you, or would you be part of the new breed?