8 Common Reasons Why People Leave Graphic Design

The graphic design industry is, without a doubt, competitive. As a graphic designer, I found that I was always looking for new and innovative ways to stand out from the crowd. However, after years of trying, I found that I couldn’t keep up with the ever-changing trends and started feeling like I was on a hamster wheel.

Eventually, I decided to leave the industry altogether. This can be discouraging to hear if you’re an aspiring graphic designer. But, before you give up on your dreams, it’s essential to understand the common reasons why people leave graphic design and whether or not it’s the right career for you. 

1. Stiff Competition and Limited Job Opportunities

When you embark on a career in graphic design, you’re competing with some of the best and brightest designers in the world. And while that may seem like a daunting task, it’s also very inspiring. The competition drives many designers to be their best and continually push themselves creatively.

However, this high level of competition can also lead to frustration. In an ideal world, there would be more job opportunities for talented graphic designers. But, the reality is that there are far fewer jobs than there are qualified candidates. This can lead to a lot of disappointment and discouragement, eventually leading someone to leave the field.

2. Graphic What? Most People Don’t Care

Another common reason people leave graphic design is that they feel that their work isn’t valued. I can relate. I felt like people didn’t understand or appreciate the value of my work.

It was worse when it came to employment. Some businesses I was interested in partnering with didn’t prioritize or understand the value of graphic design in their industry. As a result, my work would go unrecognized and unappreciated.

This can be frustrating for designers who put a lot of thought and effort into their work. When it feels like no one is noticing you or appreciating your hard work, it’s easy to feel unmotivated and uninterested in the field.

Source: Jayce-O-Yesta

3. Bad Work/Life Balance

Some people leave graphic design because they have difficulty maintaining a good work/life balance. This career can be highly demanding, with long hours and tight deadlines, especially if you’re doing the job on a freelance basis.

Most clients want their project delivered yesterday, so it’s not uncommon for designers to work long hours and weekends. This can be really tough on your personal life, especially if you’re trying to balance work with raising a family or doing other activities outside of work.

4. There’s So Much to Learn

If you thought being an excellent graphic designer was all about mastering Photoshop and other fantastic design software like Placeit.net, think again. The industry is constantly evolving, so you need to continually learn new trends and techniques.

And apart from mastering the basic principles of graphic design and staying on top of new trends, it turns out you also need to be an effective communicator, project manager and team player.

Some employers will also need you to have basic marketing skills and business and accounting basics. All these skills can be learned, but it does take time and effort – which some people may not want to commit to.

5. The Pay is Not Great

No one wants to work for peanuts, and sadly, the graphic design industry is not renowned for its high salaries. Sure, some people earn a lot of money doing graphic design work, but they are in the minority.

Most people earn an average wage, which may not be enough to cover living costs in expensive cities like Los Angeles or New York, which is where many design jobs are located.

The situation is made worse by the fact that everyone and their mom can be a graphic designer now, thanks to the proliferation of design software. This means that there is a lot of competition for jobs, which drives down wages even further.

Source: Media Caterer

6. Little to No Creative Input

Let’s face it. Most graphic design work is pretty boring. You’re often given a set of guidelines and told to follow them without much room for creativity or innovation.

This can be frustrating for creative people who want to express themselves through their work. When you’re not allowed to do that, it’s easy to lose interest in the job.

Freelance graphic designers have an easier time of it because they can choose the projects they work on. But for those stuck in a job they hate, there’s not much to look forward to each day. Therefore, if the cycle of boredom and frustration continues, it’s not surprising that people eventually leave the graphic design field.

Source: Launch the Damn Thing

7. Lack of Advancement Opportunities

Graphic designers are often stuck in a rut, with little opportunity for advancement. Unless you’re one of the lucky few who gets promoted to a managerial position, your chances for growth within the company are quite limited, especially if you work for a business or company that doesn’t specialize in graphic design.

As a result, many designers feel stagnant and unfulfilled with their job, leading to frustration and eventually leaving the field.

8. It’s Not Fun Anymore

This one is subjective, but some people may find that they no longer enjoy graphic design after working in the industry for a while. When you’ve been doing the same thing for a long time, it can start to feel monotonous and unfulfilling. As a result, most people venture into other creative fields, like web design or advertising.


As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why people may leave graphic design. Therefore, if you’re interested in this career path, it’s advisable to be aware of these potential factors.

Do you think you’d be able to thrive in a career that’s constantly changing? Are you willing to put in the extra effort to stay ahead of the curve? If so, graphic design may be an excellent option for you.

However, if you’re not sure whether or not this industry is right for you, that’s okay! There are plenty of other creative careers out there that may better suit your needs. So explore your options and narrow down to the one that feels best for you.