Categories for Design

Design Census 2017 Results

March 1, 2018 8:22 am

2017 Design Census Graphic


Over 13,000 people participated in the 2017 Census (compared to 2016’s 9,500 participants). I’m so grateful that AIGA and Google partnered up for this project—it lends a lot of credibility to our field and helps advocate for the value of design.

…the goal is to move beyond basic salary conversations and collect information that can be used to empower the design community to take charge of its professional development and achieve greater happiness through insight.

A few highlights I thought were interesting…

Demographic Info

  • 60% White, 11.3% Multi-racial, 10.4% Asian, 8% Hispanic, 3% African American
  • 53% Female
  • 9.6% don’t have a degree

Industry Info

  • 28.6% work in agencies
  • 42.1% work in-house for a company
  • Organizations: AIGA, Creative Mornings, IXDA, Freelancers Union, AAF, Graphic Artists Guild, SEGD, D&AD, TDC, ADC

Compensation Info

Annual Salary Graph and Top 10 Benefits List

Developmental Courage

April 20, 2017 11:11 pm

You might say educators are the ultimate students. We tend to get into academia because we have a love for learning. If I was only able to give myself one label it would be “lifelong learner”—not Professor, not Designer, not Creative. In a field like design there is always something new—and that’s the #1 reason why I love it. You can never be bored as a designer. One moment you are designing for a client that manages a nursing home and in the same afternoon you could be developing a new branding for an energy drink—and then you start a side project called “Octogen”, an energy drink targeted at the 80 year old market…

The year I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in design is the year the first iPhone came out (2008). In other words, I had no instruction on developing for mobile devices, the state of web design was still deeply rooted in Flash animation, and there was really no such thing as a mobile app or mobile website. Luckily my art and design professors didn’t harp on trends in the field, instead they focused on teaching me the creative process and how to apply that process to a variety of opportunities. I didn’t graduate with a degree on how to use Adobe software or animate Flash websites—I graduated with the skills to be a creative problem solver with a flexible mindset and an inherit desire to learn. The demands of a modern designer are constantly changing. There is always a new platform, medium, or application for us to create on. There are new tools, methods, and techniques for things we’ve been doing for years or things we just learned 6 months ago.

After graduating I worked for Apple for a few years teaching people how to use technology and make the best of the tools Apple had to offer. We had a training session that revolved around “Developmental Courage”. 

Someone with Developmental Courage values learning more than comfort. Willing to risk public failure, deep frustration, and the repeated hopelessness of being at wit’s end all in the name of building new skills, awareness or knowledge. —unknown.

This concept struck a cord with me. I knew I was someone that always wanted to tackle the next thing, wanted to be better, but I never really defined it.

Summer “break” is right around the corner. Sure I’ll loaf around for a week or two and refresh—but I start to get that itch after a few days. My library card starts to burn a hole in my pocket. My Instapaper “read later” archive is yelling at me. That “someday maybe” list on my task manager starts to give me dirty looks. It’s time to muster up that developmental courage…

Design Census 2016 (AIGA + Google)

December 15, 2016 11:25 am

Go do it! I did.

Google and AIGA are pleased to announce the first annual Design Census—an open and collaborative resource for understanding the complex economic, social, and cultural factors shaping the design practice today. It is free and open to everyone, and its goal is to empower the design community to take charge of its professional development and happiness.