1. Working From Home And Its Challenges
While a significant majority of graphic designers from around the world were already working from home as freelancers, there are those for whom this was an entirely new thing. Finding a place in your home where can you work diversion-free, investing in a stable internet connection, and then finding the discipline to actually work from home – it has been a struggle for many. I for one always thought I could do everything I do in a office at home.
2. Reinventing And ReimaginingThis global pandemic has also been a time to rediscover and re-imagine. How can we do things differently? What we’ve been doing so far that can be improved? What new skills can we invest in and how can we reinvent ourselves? Collectively as well as personally, these questions have been on everybody’s mind.
3. Designing For Hope And Support
Graphic design has had a rich history of proactive contributions to global efforts of education, health, training, the spread of information, and community outreach. In times of global health pandemic, graphic design has especially outshone itself every time. From the Indian cholera symptoms of 1831 printed on to a broadsheet to the iconic Aids campaign of the late 20th century, graphic design has always helped create artwork that dispels misinformation, educates the masses, and communicates in a way that makes the consumption of information easy and effective.
For the current pandemic too, artists world-over have come together and designed artworks that educate, inform, and teach. From hand-washing to social distancing, and from teaching about the Covid-19 symptoms to humorously describe how people are handling quarantines, designers are doing their bit to send messages of help and support.
4. Graphic Design For Gaming Is At A Rise
While video games have always been popular, Covid-19 crisis has opened up new vistas for the growth and evolution of graphic design in the gaming industry. How? Well, it has to do with a whole lot of people turning towards gaming to ‘let the steam out’, reconnect with friends that they aren’t able to hang out with anymore, and in some ways be even more socially present for each other. Children, as well as adults, have admitted to using video games as a part of their regular quarantine routine.
5. Behavior Changes Through Design
Another major change that we have witnessed during this lockdown in terms of how graphic design is responding to it has been its creative investment in behavior change efforts through design. From teaching people new ways to say hello without shaking hands or hugging to illustrating how to ‘flatten the curve’, these designs have it all.
6. Lack Of Collaboration & Human Interaction (Huge!)
Creativity is about connectedness. We feel inspired by the people around us, the environment around us, or the stories or times that we’ve lived, listened to, or experienced any other way. This connectedness is fundamentally social. We require human interaction in order to be able to design pieces that will have relevance and that will resonate with others.
In a time like this, human interaction has been put on hold. This lack of collaboration has forced designers worldwide to find inspiration anywhere else. For design studios and freelancers who have been able to stay afloat in these tiring financial times, inspiration has been able to come somewhat easily. Being in touch with colleagues, having virtual platforms to be able to get client feedback, and Zoom meetings where a lot of collaboration can take place, have all meant that their creativity may continue, albeit at a slower pace.
7. Virtual Reality May Become The New Work-Normal
Another way that the change is coming for graphic designers in the near future is in the form of VR programs that’ll replace any instances when we aren’t able to meet with colleagues, clients, and vendors for our design project.
As a graphic designer, if you have worked closely with Virtual Reality, this change may not be that challenging. But for others, who have had little to no experience with VR, you may be in for a ride. If you are a designer who runs their own studio or work in a large agency, the finances of investing in the new technology may be bearable.
For small- to medium-level designers who do not have flexible budgets, they’ll have a harder time competing with rivals who can invest in this technology and acquire clients who may want VR/AR capabilities for their business partners.
8. Focus On Mental Health & Wellbeing
The government imposed self-isolation, social distancing rules, and having to remain cooped up inside for months on end, has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. For graphic designers and other creative professionals, this has been a particularly difficult time.
Not having colleagues around with whom you can bounce off ideas, lack of inspiration due to a stagnant lifestyle, and a continued imposter-syndrome that many artists – new and experienced – deal with anyway, has not been easy. Therefore, this time has forced a lot of designers to focus on mental health regimens to make this time easier. Graphic designers have come together to create posters, designs, and infographics to talk about mental health and how to stay positive in these uncertain times.
9. Economic Meltdown And Its Effects On Design Careers
Coronavirus has already cost the US 20.5 million jobs as of April 2020. World over, every four out of five jobs have been hit by the pandemic. The graphic design industry is dependent on other industries to flourish. With so many of its potential client markets – restaurants, retail stores, and travel & leisure, etc. – so severely hit by the pandemic, it is no surprise that designers are also feeling the brunt of the circumstances. The situation could not have been easier for those who were just about to start their careers in design.
The pandemic certainly has changed my design career path. What about you?
Ian Ransley DESIGN
Ian Ransley is a Bay Area Digital Artist, Graphic Designer and Illustrator who has designed some of the most popular large-scale sporting and corporate events in the world.