The Future of Graphic Design: A Tidal Wave of Change

The rise of AI is poised to reshape the global economy and disrupt traditional design roles. Designers need to embrace change, invest in continuous learning, explore new opportunities, and collaborate with AI to adapt and thrive in this rapidly evolving landscape.
AI Tidal Wave

A recent article by Emil Skandul on Business Insider caught my attention, and I believe it’s something we all need to read and reflect upon. It’s about the rise of artificial intelligence and how it’s about to reshape the global economy, including our beloved field of graphic design.

The AI Revolution and Its Impact

The Reality of AI

AI is no longer a futuristic concept; it’s here, and it’s growing at an unprecedented pace. From OpenAI’s generative AI to enterprise-grade AI tools, the integration of this technology is happening faster than we ever imagined.

The Good News

AI is estimated to add between $17 trillion and $26 trillion to the global economy. It’s going to create new industries, boost living standards, and improve productivity. Some jobs that will be lost will be replaced by new ones, and there will be growth in demand for certain roles.

The Bad News

For graphic designers, the news is not all rosy. The article suggests that 14 million jobs will cease to exist over the next five years because of AI. Even highly skilled professions like ours are at risk of being automated away or evolving into something entirely different.

McKinsey is estimating that more than 12 million Americans will have to change to another field of work by 2030.


What Does This Mean for Graphic Designers?

The Changing Landscape

The integration of AI in design tools is already happening. Automation is taking over repetitive tasks, and AI-driven design platforms are emerging. While this can enhance our efficiency, it also means that many traditional design roles may become obsolete.

Opportunities and Threats

The rise of AI presents both opportunities and threats. On one hand, it can free us from mundane tasks, allowing us to focus on creativity. On the other hand, it can replace human creativity with algorithms, diminishing the value of human designers.


Preparing for the Future

Embrace the Change

Start learning about AI and how it can be integrated into our work. Understanding the technology will make us more adaptable and open new doors.

Invest in Continuous Learning

Consider taking courses in data science, business, or other areas that could complement our design skills. Countries like Singapore are already investing in retraining programs to prepare their workforce.

Explore New Opportunities

Look for ways to apply our creative skills in new industries or roles. The creativity and problem-solving abilities we possess as designers can be valuable in many fields.

Collaborate with AI

Rather than fearing AI, we can learn to collaborate with it. By understanding how AI works, we can use it as a tool to enhance our creativity and offer innovative solutions. A recent study from MIT discovered software developers completed tasks 56% faster using generative-code-completion software. Similar results will be available in different creative fields. 


Reflections and Inspirations

A Time for Reflection

The tidal wave of AI is about to crash into our world, and we must be prepared. It’s a time for reflection, learning, and action. The future of graphic design is uncertain, but our ability to adapt and grow is not.

Inspirations from History

History has shown that technological revolutions create new opportunities. The industrial revolution, the rise of the internet, and other major shifts have led to new professions and growth. We can find inspiration in these historical examples.

A Call to Action

Let’s not wait for the wave to hit us. Let’s ride it. Let’s be proactive, innovative, and resilient. Let’s shape the future of design together.



The future may seem uncertain, but it’s also full of potential. By embracing change, investing in continuous learning, exploring new opportunities, and collaborating with AI, we can not only survive but thrive in the AI revolution.

Jim MacLeod

Jim MacLeod

Jim MacLeod was a graphic designer for more than a decade before pivoting to adjacent areas of focus such as marketing, digital experience, and branding. Knowing that AI is going to displace many graphic designers, Jim set up After Design to help designers prepare for this impending change. 

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