Graphic Design: Tips to Compete in a Post-Covid DIY Landscape

by | Jul 6, 2022 | Advertising, Digital Marketing, Effective Design Discussion, Graphic Design, Social Media

Welcome back to the blog! This is where we like to regularly post to give a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes of our digital marketing world. As the graphic designer here at Bean Media, I am shaking things up and trying my hand at writing. I am here to spill the beans… On my thoughts and for everyone’s sanity no more puns.

Graphic design, like many industries in the digital world, is constantly changing. One of the great things about graphic design is that it’s an umbrella term that applies to a large range of creative skills, from print brochures to augmented reality. Keeping up with the trends, competition, possible AI creators, and emerging software can often feel like riding a wave that never crashes. With more people working from home and trying to save money, DIY may seem like a quick and cheaper option. But don’t worry my lone graphic designer, this response isn’t a threat. The need for quality design will never go away, the digital landscape and advertising are becoming more diverse. How exciting! Here are a few tips for competing in a post-covid DIY landscape.

Photo by Tim Douglas from Pexels:

Bye Bye Paper

Have you been to a restaurant or bar in the last year? Paper menus are few and far between. Hello, digital world and welcome back QR codes! A clear decline in publishing and print media has been evident. Even newspapers, which used to be the firsthand way people would learn about what was going on in the world, are no longer quick enough to keep up with the instant news updates and are more often used for scrapbooking and crafts. Fewer graphic designers are working in print. Many online companies also opt out of having an in-house designer.

Freelancing is a hard transition, especially without the networking and built-up relationships needed to make a sustainable living. For creative brains, the ability to self-promote and brand oneself along with the communication involved in building a network is a lot. Most people’s brains are not wired to be able to do both well.

Is all print going away? Of course not! The demand for book publishing is still a strong market and those artists’ in-depth knowledge of design make them perfect candidates to be a director or consultants. One thing that isn’t going to change for us, is the principles and fundamentals of design.

Okay, let’s talk about Canva…

Most artists who studied digital media in school learned the Adobe Suite. It’s professional, used worldwide, and has an in-depth set of tools that not many competitors can compete with. Is Adobe’s software accessible? Definitely not. Back in 2011 when I bought my first 6 disk set of the Adobe Creative Suite, it cost me over a month’s worth of pizza shop paychecks and even today is a very pricey monthly subscription.

Canva is free, only requiring an internet connection, and is very user-friendly. I strongly believe that if more people have access to tools and knowledge, it will lead to improvement and innovation. I want to be a part of a world that has a great understanding and advances in design. When I see judgment about what software someone is using and whether they are a “true graphic designer” I think back to Leo Tolstoy’s “What is Art?” and the complex questions around what makes “goodness” in art. Some of us started on (RIP) and it’s an accumulation of all these tools and software of the past that has brought us to where we are today.

It’s free

Free software like Canva is quick and user-friendly, but it isn’t as customizable, it’s generic and it’s not going to make any business stick out if they’re using the same templates. If a client wants to do it themselves, that is on them. Do they have years of experience to back up these designs? It’s choosing a quick aesthetic over purpose and function. Anyone can make something that looks “nice” but does it communicate your brand and your goals in growing a business? Most likely the answer is no. You’re paying for quality when choosing to pay for a graphic designer, they can create custom designs that target the right audience and the unique spirit of your brand.

Saving now by not investing in quality design could end up costing in the long term. Canva does provide a quick turnaround with a trendy look, but let’s be honest, cliché template. Canva may have the potential to someday provide more originality, but what it comes down to is that understanding design takes years of crafting by an artist. It is a convenient solution for a quick post or starting up logo ideas for those who can’t afford or see the value of a designer, but building a larger brand will need more TLC. Give your business the attention it deserves to reach your career goals

Photo by cottonbro:

The Demand is Still High!

Now more than ever, every business needs a strong online presence. Working from home and only communicating through a desktop or phone for the last two years left lasting effects. Some people are still working in an alternative hybrid workplace and some left altogether and started their own businesses. Businesses are still transitioning to be more digital and their demand for social assets across all the platforms remains top of mind.

Keeping up with creating ads, banners, posts, blogs, reels, stories, and webpages is a lot for anyone to take on all on their own. With rising prices and wanting to stay competitive, brands are looking for social media designs and assets. Fellow creatives are also looking for assistance. Check Fiverr’s postings for Instagram content and Tiktok and Youtube thumbnails and intro/outros.

Seems like every business needs some form of service that a graphic designer can provide. No longer is just having a website enough, crafting an entire online identity through all platforms is less of a suggestion and more of a need for survival.

Gotta Keep UP!

Like any business, accepting change, and being willing to learn/adjust will lead to longevity. Not saying to abandon who you are, but just like our cell phones, we need an update once in a while. Keeping up with the trends and trying something new once in a while could bring something fresh to your portfolio. Your style develops over time and allowing it to morph and be influenced by the current culture could result in something remarkable. This could also apply to using a whole new skill that could lead to influencing your art.

Trying something different will give your brain a break away from the norm of your usual design process and have you thinking in a different way. You might be surprised to find how stepping away from the computer and learning cross stitch or ceramics can do for your creative process. Another tip is that instead of having a broad range of services, keying in your focus to be specialized in specific fields could lead to more success. Becoming an expert in a specific lane can allow you to charge more and develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of it. This would be easier for those who are freelance, which leads me to my next tip…


Sell your digital products online where you would be making a profit on every one sold. Programs like Adobe Stock, Society 6, GraphicRiver, Etsy, Redbubble, and many more can be one of your sources of income or your full-time focus. To stand out, you need to promote yourself, which can sometimes be tough for the creative brain. Consistently post on platforms showing off some of your work (or the process) and interact with your fellow artists to build up a strong community online. Also, take advantage of the reach that TikTok and Instagram Reels have outside your following. Be ready with an online portfolio for when the right people find you, any free sites like WordPress, Wix, and Behance that can be a great space to show off your art.


But What Does It All Mean?

In short, Graphic Design isn’t going anywhere. The career landscape and job market are ever-changing and riding the wave can bring you safely to shore. Businesses choosing to DIY graphic design, are either not able to afford professional work or don’t see the value in it. Demand for these skills is still present and it will likely continue to morph. Unfortunately to this day, there are still many signs existing with Curlz MT font, a need for quality design is ever present. Keep your skills sharp, be perseverant, and take advantage of online resources. You got this!

brand strategy is a key part of online graphic design
Photo by Olya Kobruseva:

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