Design Through the Decades: The Evolution of Graphic Design over the Last 50 Years… and Beyond

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s

2020s (the future)

  • Mobile Workability: Although Adobe Creative Cloud can be used on mobile devices currently, I believe we will see massive improvements in the program’s usability on mobile devices, to the point where it is just as easy to work on an iPad as it is on an iMac.
  • Merging with Animation: A lot of people who have design degrees may know basic animation, but it is usually not their forte. With the two arts becoming slowly blended together (on almost EVERY design job application, there is a line that says “experience with After Effects is a plus”) it is safe to say that companies will be looking for “all-in-one” designers in the near future.
  • More Expensive Software: It pains me to say this, but Adobe’s cloud-based subscription service has only gone up in price since its introduction, and I don’t see that trend going away (much like the price of other high-demand tech commodities, such as phones and streaming services). While Adobe offers very good discounts to students and teachers, the freelance designer will see more and more of their earnings going back toward paying for the very tools that they use to make money.
  • More Freelance, Less Full-Time: While almost every industry has demand for a designer, the longevity of that demand varies. A company may need a logo, a dog-walker may need a website, or a gym may need new business cards, but what comes after that? Outside the communication industry (which has a daily demand for all sorts of materials, whether internal or client-based), I see design evolving into more of a project-by-project profession for a lot of professionals.

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