“I love being a designer.”

Roberto Cavalli, Designer

Pros and Cons of Working as a Designer

advantages and disadvantages of being a designer

You plan to become a designer? While there are indeed many upsides to this profession, working as a designer also implies some issues.

Thus, make sure to check out all the pros and cons of being a designer in the following. You may change your mind and go for an alternative career path instead.

Designer Job Profile

Short Job DescriptionDesigners are responsible for creating and optimizing the layouts and designs of products. This can include physical products like fashion, but also digital products like websites.
Salary$60,000 per year on average, most designers make between $50,000 – $95,000 per year.
Job SecurityDecent job security.
Job SatisfactionGood if you love designing and being creative.
Work-Life BalanceGood work-life balance.
Physically / Mentally Demanding?Can be mentally demanding.
Future OutlookGood since designers will always be needed.
RequirementsCollege degree.

Advantages of Being a Designer

  1. Designers can be creative
  2. You are one of the first parts of the production chain
  3. Big budgets are spent on design
  4. Good designers can earn decent money
  5. Designers can work in many different fields
  6. Being a designer can become your passion
  7. Designers can work indoors
  8. Teleworking might be possible
  9. You can work with many different departments
  10. Design is crucial for the success of products
  11. Good social standing of designers
  12. Designers often have an easy time in the dating market
  13. You can work for yourself
  14. Good designers have high job security
  15. Modern technology can make your life easier
  16. You can share your ideas with people from all over the world
  17. You can help out your family and friends
  18. Good work-life balance
  19. Most designers don’t work on weekends or holidays

Designers can be creative

One important advantage of being a designer is that you can work in a pretty creative manner. Since you will design many different products and parts of products, you will always be able to invent yourself new and to become better over time. No product will look the same and you often even have to start from scratch.

While this can be challenging and sometimes also mentally exhausting, it gives you the great opportunity to really develop your skills and to be creative in various different aspects.

Hence, becoming a designer can be great for you if you are the kind of creative person who always wants to try out new things and who wants to become better every day.

You are one of the first parts of the production chain

Designers also have a great level of responsibility. In fact, they are often one of the first parts of the whole production chain since plenty of further manual work is based on their design. For instance, when a new car is built, designers will first have to plan the layout and the shapes and form of all the parts of the car.

Before that, manufacturing the actual parts would make no sense and therefore, the actual construction work can only start once designers are at a mature state with their plans. Thus, you will also play a crucial role for the success of the end-product since most working steps are based on your original plan.

It will be in your hands whether a product appears well to customers or if it is just not selling due to bad design and this can give you a feeling of importance and that you are really needed within your company.

Big budgets are spent on design

Another benefit of working as a designer is that big budgets are spent on design in major corporations every year. Company leaders just know how important design is for the success of a product and are willing to invest plenty of money into this field.

This is good news for you as a designer since it implies that you will always have high budgets to spend on latest technologies to stay ahead of the competition.

It also means that many people can be employed in this field and that the average workload per person will not be that high most of the year.

Good designers can earn decent money

Also the salary of designers can be pretty high. While some designers who become pretty famous make a fortune, others barely make a living out of what they are doing. However, the majority of designers make between $50,000 and $95,000 per year and the average is around $60,000 in the US.

While this might not be that much compared to other professions like doctors or lawyers, it can still be enough to cover your basic expenses and to afford some luxury, depending on where you live and how high your living costs will be. It also depends on how much you inherited or got from your parents.

For instance, if you already have a house that is paid-off, the money from your design job will be more than enough for a decent lifestyle. However, if you have no money to start out and have to finance a home, it may not be enough in some expensive areas where property prices are high.

Hence, whether a designer salary will be enough for you or not greatly depends on your individual circumstances and you should really make some calculations so that you can see whether you can be happy with a designer salary or if you rather want to go for higher-paying jobs instead.

Designers can work in many different fields

As a designer, you will also be able to work in many different fields. You can not only work on many different products within your company, you can also just switch companies and work in a completely different niche in case you are really good at what you are doing since the demand for good designers will always be high.

For instance, you might have worked on the design for car mirrors for an extended period of time and are just bored of it. Chances are that you can also work on many other different car parts inside your company or just go in a completely different direction.

Opportunities are almost endless and if you build a strong network inside or company and your industry, you will soon be considered as a pillar in your industry and will have freedom of choice for whom you want to work for.

You can also use social media to share your insights and your knowledge on design which you might even be able to monetize later on as a side hustle.

Being a designer can become your passion

For many people, working as a designer is not just a job. It is a real passion and they would even do it without getting paid as a hobby. This is indeed one of the best cases.

If you can turn your hobby into a profession, it means that your job will not feel like work to you most of the time. Instead, you will be able to really enjoy what you are doing and time will just fly.

Consequently, if you really love designing things and also do plenty of this work in your leisure, chances are that you should also go for a career as a designer.

Designers can work indoors

Another upside to becoming a designer is that you can also work indoors. While other people have to work outdoors under extreme climatic conditions like rain, snow or heat, you can work in a rather protected office environment or even from home.

In turn, your overall working conditions tend to be much more comfortable compared to people who have to work outdoors under any circumstances.

Teleworking might be possible

As a designer, you may also get the chance to work from home instead of having to commute to an office every day. In fact, in many big firms, teleworking has become the standard rather than the exception.

This gives you a great level of freedom since it just makes your life much more flexible. It can also be great in case you have children since you can just pick them up from school and continue your work later on that day.

You can work with many different departments

Designers also have to work with many different companies since they have to make sure that they don’t spend too much money and also have to make sure that their ideas can really be applied. Theoretical constructs may sound great at first, but the end result may still look rather poor in case workers just don’t understand it.

Consequently, you will have to talk to many different departments in your company to make sure that the whole production chain will be successful and that employees of all departments accept the designs you create.

This also gives you the opportunity to build a strong network in your company since you will just talk to so many different people and some of them may even become really good friends of yours in the long run.

Design is crucial for the success of products

In general, designers play a pretty important role in a company. If the design of products is poor, people will just not buy it, even though it might be of high quality. Customers are always tricked with nice looks and if products don’t have a certain visual appearance, chances are that it will just fail in the market.

Consequently, the success of your company’s product will be in your hands and especially if you love to have high levels of responsibility, becoming a designer can also be great in this regard.

Good social standing of designers

Many people in society also admire designers. They secretly wish they were you. In fact, many creative people wanted to study design but had been convinced by their parents or friends to rather become a lawyer or doctor since they can simply make more money out of their profession.

However, this doesn’t mean that they would not have been happier as a designer since money is not what motivates people in the long run. Therefore, if becoming a designer is really what you are passionate about and you also have the strength to get there, many people will secretly admire you and this can feel really good.

Designers often have an easy time in the dating market

Since designers can make decent money and also have a pretty good social standing, they also have a rather easy time to find a partner.

They also often have a good idea regarding what to wear for dates and this makes it pretty easy for them to succeed in the dating market.

You can work for yourself

As a designer, you also don’t have to work for a company forever. You can just gather some experience and start your own design company after a few years. You may also work as a design consultant.

In fact, opportunities are almost endless and it will be pretty easy to just work self-employed, especially if you build a strong network during your time as an employee.

Good designers have high job security

Since the design of products is so important for the success of products, good designers will always be needed and if you are really passionate and also really good at what you are doing, you will not have to work about losing your job that much. Even if you lose it one day, chances are that you will find another job pretty soon.

Modern technology can make your life easier

Working as a designer also changed significantly during the past decades. While there had been plenty of manual hands-on work in the past, most work is now carried out by computers.

In fact, there are many software applications out there that can really make your life as a designer much easier, at least if you are willing to put in some work to understand them.

You can share your ideas with people from all over the world

By working as a designer, you will also have the opportunity to share your work with people from all over the world. You can also discuss your latest ideas with leading people in your industry and can get some feedback on what’s already good and which parts still need some improvement.

You can help out your family and friends

As a designer, you may also be able to help out your family and friends. For instance, if they want to have a nice dress, you may be able to design it and even make it in case you also have some sewing skills.

You can also just go shopping with your peers and consult them on what they should buy and what just not fits for them.

Good work-life balance

Most designers also enjoy a pretty good work-life balance. In fact, there are not many designers out there who have to work more than 40 hours a week and some of them even work less.

This also means that you will have plenty of leisure to spend on your hobbies or with your family and friends.

Most designers don’t work on weekends or holidays

You will also have a pretty standard workweek as a designer. This means that you will often work from 9 to 5 and also don’t have to work on weekends or holidays.

In turn, this implies that you can make nice weekend trips with your family while other people just have to work.

Disadvantages of Being a Designer

  1. Most designers don’t get rich
  2. Designers have to keep up with latest trends
  3. Technology always changes and so have designers
  4. Working as a designer can be stressful
  5. You need a certain taste to be successful as a designer
  6. Designers need to figure out what people want
  7. You will work in front of a computer most of the time
  8. You need a college degree to become a designer
  9. Student loan debt is a problem for designers
  10. Lack of creativity can cost your job
  11. Your mistakes can ruin the whole product

Most designers don’t get rich

Apart from the many important advantages to becoming a designer, this career path also has some downsides. For instance, one disadvantage of being a designer is that you will simply not get rich. Sure, you can make a decent living out of it.

Yet, if you want to make really good money, you will be better off becoming a doctor instead. Hence, if money is really important to you, you may want to go an alternative career path instead.

Designers have to keep up with latest trends

As a designer, you will also have to inform yourself about latest trends and how they shape the design industry. For instance, influencers are more important than ever in our current state of the world and you have to inform yourself and talk to those people so that you can find secret trends that might become quite popular in the near future.

Technology always changes and so have designers

The world is changing with rapid speed and you are required to adapt to those developments as a designer. If you don’t learn how to use latest technologies, you will soon become obsolete in the near future and may lose your job.

Thus, make sure that you are the kind of person who is willing to adapt to technological progress before deciding for a career in design since you might run into serious problems otherwise.

Working as a designer can be stressful

Another problem with being a designer is that it can simply be stressful. While your work-life balance will be pretty decent, there will still be times with huge workloads and you will have several different tasks at the same time.

While some people are pretty good at multitasking, others really struggle with it and if you are the type of person who doesn’t want to think about many things in a rather short period of time, you may not become happy as a designer.

You need a certain taste to be successful as a designer

You also need a certain taste to become successful as a designer. Some people are just borne with this instinct and everything they touch will turn into gold. However, the majority of people are just not gifted with these skills and have to work hard to succeed.

Some designers will also never succeed since they just have a completely different taste than the majority of people out there and their designs will therefore not be accepted and bought by the general public.

Designers need to figure out what people want

Working as a designer is more than just following your own taste. The modern designer also has to figure out what people really want and what they will likely buy in the future based on data from the past.

This also means that you will not be completely free as a designer since departments inside your company will figure out what works and what doesn’t and will confine your level of freedom in this regard to ensure the long-term success of the company.

You will work in front of a computer most of the time

Another downside of being a designer is that you have to work in front of a computer screen for many hours every day. While working as a designer has implied plenty of manual work in the past, this has changed significantly and nowadays designers have to do most of their work using software instead of doing hands-on work.

You need a college degree to become a designer

Many companies also require a college degree to employ you as a designer. This implies that you have to spend many years of your life on education and that you also have to spend plenty of money on tuition and other expenses related to college.

Student loan debt is a problem for designers

Since many young people just can’t afford to go to college, they have to take on student loan debt and have to pay back large sums of money later on in their lives.

Hence, make sure that a career as a designer is really worth it to you making this financial commitment.

Lack of creativity can cost your job

Creativity is crucial to succeed as a designer. However, this also implies that creative blockades can cost your job. For instance, if you can’t come up with new innovative ideas for an extended period of time, your company might just fire you and employ someone who is more creative than you.

Your mistakes can ruin the whole product

You should also always keep in mind that mistakes on your side can ruin the whole product. This can imply plenty of pressure for designers and you should make sure that you are able to deal with this pressure in an emotionally healthy manner.

Top 10 Being a Designer Pros & Cons – Summary List

Being a Designer ProsBeing a Designer Cons
Designers can make decent moneyDesigners urgently need to be creative
You can be creative as a designerBeing a designer can be stressful
Being a designer never gets boringYou have to adapt to latest trends
You can always invent yourself newTechnological progress cannot be ignored
You can start your own design businessYou have to get into the mind of people
Designers have a good social standingProblems with other departments
Easy time in the dating marketNot the best job to get rich
Teleworking may be possibleCollege degree required
Designers can work indoorsStudent loan debt can be an issue
You can build a strong networkYour mistakes can ruin the whole product

Should You Become a Designer?

Now that you got all the advantages and disadvantages of being a designer, you have to make your final decision whether you still want to pursue a design career or if you want to go for different job opportunities instead.

Make sure to take your time since this decision can really affect how your future will look like.

Also make sure to check out the following articles:

Advantages and disadvantages of working as a model

Advantages and disadvantages of working as a bartender

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Designer

https://elementthree.com/blog/8-graphic-design-interviewing-tips/

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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