AIGA Research Dives Deep Into Value Of Design In The Marketplace

Data Breaks Down Trends in Income and Career Trajectories

AIGA has released the fourth installment of its groundbreaking 2021 AIGA Design POV Research Initiative: Be a Designer, Design Pathways, and Market Intelligence. This installment examines designer career trajectories alongside market trends in income. Survey respondents demonstrate that designers think about what it means to be a designer in three ways: 1) as a skillset – a visual problem solver, experience creator, and communicator/storyteller; 2) a mindset – more a way of thinking than doing; and 3) an impact-set – a force for change, progress, and good.

The survey also notes the importance of continuing to diversify skills and business acumen to best position oneself throughout a career arc, which highlights the continued importance of designer adaptability. Artistic appreciation, creative spirit, and perceived talent were the most common sources of inspiration for individuals to become designers, while networking and relationship building were cited as the key to advancing in the design field.

As for market intelligence, the study suggests that three professions within design are expected to grow in employment over the next decade: software design (up 22%), web design (up 8%), and special effects/animators (up 8%). This shift in job trends will require designers to remain adaptable and ready to sharpen skills to stay competitive. Further, AIGA found that designers are often self-employed and do not receive benefits. For those who do, healthcare insurance is the top choice in terms of benefits. Many designers take on other work, and for those who do, they tend to raise their annual income on average by 26%.

Additionally, the AIGA Better Workplaces for Designers assessment found that the top ways to create better creative workplaces is to build cultures where people feel valued/respected/heard; received fair pay/benefits; are encouraged to have a healthy work-life balance; are presented with opportunities to grow, use existing skills/abilities, and learn new skills; feel safe to be their true selves; and are empowered to make decisions. As with all the AIGA Design POV installments, chapter also helps designers hone their visions for their careers with interactive visioning worksheets.