Graphic Designers are the Backbone of the Marketing Industry

And the best designers are few and far between, despite graphic design being one of the fastest growing industries. The problem is, graphic designers, even the experienced ones, don’t understand two major things: first, that marketing is one of the best industries for them, and second, how to design well for marketing firms. Still, the statement above applies — graphic designers are one of the most essential members of a marketing team. So why are great marketing graphic designers so hard to find, and what needs to change? Glad you asked.

What Graphic Designers Are Missing

This is a subject that hits close to home here at Wolf & Key because one of our co-founders, Taylor, started out as a graphic designer. This topic was brought to our attention when Taylor and Adam went to consult with the faculty of the graphic design department at the college Taylor attended. During that conversation, we realized there’s a hole… a gaping hole.

When we look to hire marketing graphic designers, we’re looking for someone who not only can design well, but, more importantly, someone who can understand the concept of a marketing strategy. We say that’s more important because you can find a great designer anywhere. They basically grow on beanie-wearing coffee-drinking trees these days. But what we struggle to find is someone who understands the scope of work involved in developing a marketing strategy for different clients and how, say, the colors they choose will affect a marketing campaign.

The person we end up hiring will know how to cater to different audiences on different platforms from social media to display ads. We look for someone who can design for a client from start to finish. Someone who can think like a client’s ideal customer and target them well through their design. That’s a true marketing graphic designer. What we don’t need is someone who just wants to make things that look cool, which, unfortunately, is mostly what we get.

If you’re a graphic designer… here’s how you get hired

We want to see a portfolio that proves how you’ll market a client from start to finish. That includes things like logo re-designs, display ad examples, landing pages, and designs for both print and digital platforms. Yeah, it’ll take work and research because most designers don’t know what goes into a digital marketing campaign. But we’re also going to expect you to know how to use Google… if you catch our drift. If we saw someone walk through our doors with a full-blown portfolio that showed us how they’d contribute to helping us market a potential client? Shoot. We’d hire them on the spot. It has yet to happen.

If you’re a hiring manager, CEO, or business owner… here’s who you hire

Hire the designer who knows how to think like the customer and is willing to learn everything they can about digital marketing. Hire the person who is able to look at the big picture and pump out 15 unique display ads for one Google campaign. Stay away from the one who wants to just design illustrations all day because those are useless. You can teach (or re-teach) graphic design. You can’t teach willingness to learn and big picture thinking.

Graphic designers aren’t hard to find — marketing graphic designers are.

We need better graphic designers in the marketing industry. It’s just a fact. Marketing graphic designers understand the process of digital marketing and are in the thick of it from start to finish, which is why they’re so valuable. So, if you’re a graphic designer and you’re reading this, we just gave you the key to actually getting hired for a job. If you’re a CEO, we just gave you the key to finding the perfect person to fill that hole in your company. Hopefully you two end up finding each other.