“Automation threatens to make graphic designers obsolete.”
We all know it’s coming or is here to a degree. Automation is already prolific in many industries, the most notable of recent months being the car industry.
Switzerland announced it’s 2016 plans to build an underground freight system which means fleets of autonomous, unmanned vehicles will be capable of working 24 hours a day. That’s crazy right? Cargo will load itself before descending into two tunnels and this could be ready by 2030. What will happen to drivers jobs?
Source: Futurism, Published on Apr 28, 2016
Drivers aren’t the only ones to be concerned. Futurist Thomas Frey predicted that 2 billion jobs will disappear by 2030 at a TedX talk.
Now let’s turn our attention to the design industry. Creativebloq notes that NPR’s ‘Will your job be done by a machine?’ predicts an 8 per cent chance of a graphic designer’s job being automated in 20 years time. But what does this mean and is this necessarily a bad thing?
This is an open debate. I agree, it is easy to get unnerved about the predictions mentioned above but if you think about it, this could be a good thing. Firstly, the dawn of automation in graphic design has already arrived and is it better to just embrace the change? You still need a human to create concepts and user interfaces that work to the needs of a particular organisation or company. In fact, automation using a grid like system serves to assist the more technical part of a graphic designers job leaving the really cool creative stuff to the human.
Secondly, how much time have you spent re-inventing the wheel, making rounds of amends and growing grey hairs because that bottle neck of designs needed yesterday is just getting bigger and bigger. All those multitudes of platforms requiring different sizes and resolutions.
From my own experience of working in a busy charity, this can be a little soul destroying. Not only are you constantly chasing your tail trying to get the day to day designs done but you’re also facing a group of frustrated fundraisers who urgently need their materials to do their job. You want to move quicker to help them raise more money but in order to clear the decks in good time you need that extra manpower. It also means that the bigger picture ground breaking stuff is constantly put on the back burner as you’re too busy playing catch up with the smaller things. So does this make the designers job obsolete? No, I don’t think so.
So how can graphic design freelancers, brand agencies and marketing professionals embrace this change? Here’s a potential recipe. Firstly, get your ship in order. Re-evaluate your brand and your materials together with an external agency and ensure that you get your communication materials feeling right: consistently on message and on-brand.
Secondly, get everything designed from a Facebook banner to a roller banner following a clear set of brand guidelines. And thirdly, get these nice consistent designs onto a platform where you can control your brand yet free it up to a wider audience. This will provide a strong brand identity, save time, frustration and money.
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