Explore the future of graphic design, the job outlook, and how your career path could be influenced by this evolving industry. Gain insights into the necessary skills, potential opportunities, salary expectations, and how Noble Desktop's graphic design classes could help you launch your career.

Key Insights

  • There will be over 24,000 new Graphic Designer jobs by 2031, signalling a positive outlook for the field.
  • Successful Graphic Designers possess proficiency in programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and have strong collaboration and time management skills.
  • Graphic Design job growth is expected to slow, with an anticipated increase of only 3% annually. However, skills in digital design and software development could offer potential growth opportunities.
  • Industries with a future demand for Graphic Designers include digital marketing, web design, and the performing arts and entertainment industry. Traditional print media graphic design jobs are anticipated to decline.
  • Graphic Designers earn a median salary of about $51,000 a year, with senior and principal designers earning up to $100,000 a year. High paying jobs are primarily available in large software and technology companies.
  • Noble Desktop offers comprehensive graphic design classes, which provide foundational skills for aspiring designers. Students also benefit from individual career mentorship.

Anyone studying to become a Graphic Designer might be interested in the long-term job outlook of the field. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that job growth in the industry is set to slow in the next decade, it is still growing and there should be over 24,000 new Graphic Designer jobs added by 2031. This means that the outlook of the field is positive, if not particularly exciting.

What is a Graphic Designer?

A Graphic Designer is a creative professional who combines text and visually appealing imagery to share a message with an audience. This could be through advertising, social media, or product packaging, to name a few. They are well-versed in design principles like color and typography and are committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends. Whether they work for an agency or freelancer, they collaborate with clients and other team members to create high-quality designs that appeal to new and existing customers. 

In addition to proficiency in professional design programs like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, a successful Graphic Designer must also work well with others. Graphic Designers rarely work alone, and since their job is to create a product that matches a client's vision, they must be willing to accept feedback and suggestions from others. Time management skills are also crucial for a Graphic Designer; since most of them work freelance, they often work on multiple projects for many clients simultaneously. 

Read more about what a Graphic Designer does

What is the Job Outlook for Graphic Design?

Job Outlook

As of 2021, there are more than a quarter of a million Graphic Designer jobs in the US. The field is relatively open for new designers and every year, approximately 25,000 new or existing jobs are filled by new Graphic Designers. While not a uniquely large number, this does mean that Graphic Designers are in high demand as they are the largest sub-category of designers in terms of jobs available and regular job openings. Graphic design skills are also easily transferable to other related fields, such as digital design and software development, both of which are expected to see significant growth in the next decade.

Future Growth

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in the field of graphic design is expected to slow, increasing by only 3% year over year, which is below the expected 5% year over year growth across the entirety of the private sector. While this will amount to an approximate total growth of 24,5000 jobs, it is still a slow growth given the size of the industry. 

However, it should be noted that this is likely not a result of the demand for Graphic Designers slowing down. Instead, it is a result of a reorganization of where those designers are working. The digital marketing industry, web design industry, and performing arts and entertainment industry are set to add a huge amount of new jobs in the coming decade. However, traditional print media graphic design jobs, like those in the newspaper and magazine industry, are drying up quickly and stand to lose between 25% and 50% of their jobs in the coming decade. This divergence in industries is something you should consider when deciding on your training.

On the whole, while many companies will be hiring Graphic Designers and graphic design firms aren’t going anywhere, a number of factors are contributing to the slowing of growth in the field. This means that aspiring Graphic Designers are likely to face a slightly more competitive job market and see slightly lower growth in their overall salaries compared to other creative professionals. As a result of this, it is good practice to consider what skills you can learn beyond the basic tools of graphic design as a means of expanding your career opportunities in the face of a potentially stagnating market.


Jobs that primarily utilize InDesign, such as those in the newspaper or magazine industries are likely to contract significantly over the next decade. Print media, and print advertising in particular, have been on the downslide for decades and those trends do not appear to be reversing themselves in the near future. While these industries are far from completely disappearing, they are losing jobs rapidly, so anyone hoping to find a job as a Graphic Designer is going to want to look elsewhere. This is slightly less true for jobs in the book publishing industry. While this field also isn’t growing, it is contracting at a slower rate and might be a solid place to look for employment.

Jobs that handle digital design processes, such as those in the web design industry or those connected to the online publishing industry are slated to grow at a steady pace over the next decade. Of particular note is the expectation that the demand for designers working on promotional material and other visual content for the performing arts, sports, and the entertainment industry is set to grow nearly sixty percent over the next decade. This will primarily be digital media production, but virtually the entire industry, from massive sports franchises and large scale concert venues to small casinos and dinner theaters are expected to significantly expand on their graphic design needs in the coming decade.

Graphic Designers interested in working in the public sector are looking at more of a mixed bag in terms of job outlook. Social advocacy organizations and other non profits are looking at a reasonable growth of 10% over the next decade, which is well ahead of the national average. Work in local government offices is slated to grow at about 3% and government jobs are slated to hold steady at about -0.4%. Most of the disappearing Graphic Designer jobs in the public sector are happening at the state and federal level, which are both expected to contract by about 3% to 5% over the next decade.


Graphic Designers earn a median salary of about $51,000 a year, which is about 5% more than other artistic and design occupations and about 10% more than the median wage in the United States. Print, newspaper, and periodical positions will earn less than their more specialized online counterparts, bringing in only about $43,000 a year, which is slightly below the national average in terms of median incomes. Learn term earning outlooks are good for Graphic Designers, particularly those who stay at a single company or firm for a long period of time. Senior Graphic Designers earn about $72,000 a year and Principal Graphic Designers can earn up to $100,000 a year.

Most of the highest paying jobs currently available for Graphic Designers are at large software and technology companies that are regularly releasing new products and services. These include employers like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Established Freelancers and Self-Employed Graphic Designers tend to make slightly more than their counterparts working at existing firms (though less than those working at massive tech and financial employers), though freelance designers have a number of added job responsibilities and will tend to make less money when they are starting up in the industry.

How Do I Find a Graphic Designer Job?

Several avenues can lead to finding a graphic design job, but most people will take advantage of multiple methods. A college degree is a common way for entry-level designers to get their foot in the door. Majoring in art or design can lead to many networking opportunities and ensures that your education is comprehensive, which may not be possible through self-teaching. If formal education isn’t a good fit for you, that’s no reason to stop pursuing this career path. A degree isn’t necessary for all graphic design openings. However, your experience and portfolio have to be that much more stellar if you’re competing with candidates who do have a degree.

Although some Graphic Designers freelance full-time, this is another excellent way to find employment with one agency. Aspiring professional designers generally freelance at the start of their careers to build their portfolios and gain practice, but these opportunities often lead to a more stable career. If you performed well in a freelance capacity, you might be at the top of a hiring manager’s list when a position opens up; after all, why would they want to take the risk of hiring an unknown candidate when you’ve already proven your capabilities?

Online design communities on Facebook and Reddit and local chapters of The American Institute for Graphic Arts (AIGA) are other ways that many professionals can get inside tips on how to find work. These networks are full of industry experts, making them a great (and free!) resource for Graphic Designers just starting their careers. Even if you don’t land a job this way, you can still join one to get help troubleshooting your designs and learn more about the latest and greatest trends and technologies.

Learn the Skills to Become a Graphic Designer at Noble Desktop

If you want to start a career in graphic design, the graphic design classes offered by Noble Desktop are an excellent place to start. Students can take all their classes remotely or in-person at their Manhattan campus. For students who want to start slow by just learning one popular design program, Noble offers an Adobe Photoshop Bootcamp, an Adobe InDesign Bootcamp, and an Adobe Illustrator Bootcamp. These beginner-friendly courses take just a few days to complete and will provide students with foundational design skills.

For those who feel ready to dive into a more comprehensive program, Noble Desktop’s Graphic Design Certificate might be a better fit. Students will complete hands-on assignments using popular design programs, including Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. This program is ideal for those hoping to start a career as a Graphic Designer. Certificate students at Noble Desktop receive individual career mentorship, where experts in the design industry help craft resumes and portfolios and provide helpful tips for finding lucrative employment. 

If a class isn’t feasible for your current schedule, Noble Desktop has a host of resources on its website to help start your graphic design career. You can browse their collection of articles about Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign if you’re curious about how each program works. You can also review information about other design tools to see if another field might interest you more.