The Pros and Cons of DIY Graphic Design

With all of the advancements in technology in recent years, it’s never been easier to get into doing your own graphic design. The tools, techniques, and technology are all out there for the enterprising individual to find, if they choose to seek it out. Anyone who runs a website or operates a small business might want to at least consider designing their own graphics. That said, there are also some strong reasons why it might be better to simply hire a professional. Today we’ll examine some of the reasons both for and against doing your own graphic design.


The most obvious advantage of doing your own graphic design is pretty immediately apparent; it’s free! Or at least, it can be free; the software that you’ll need to create your own graphics can be pricey at the top end, but freeware also exists to allow amateurs to try their hand without a significant investment. Regardless of what software you use, doing the work yourself will still be significantly less expensive than hiring a graphic designer.


Working with a graphic designer is always a process with a good deal of ebb and flow. You have to tell the designer what you want them to make, but then, there’s no more input you can have in the process until they bring a product to you, one that may or may not resemble what you’d hoped it would become. When you’re doing your own graphic design, you have a much more intimate level of control; as you guide every step of the process, you have no one to blame, or to praise, than yourself.


You want to have this graphic made in the first place in order to express an idea to your audience, but in order to get that idea made into something real, you first need to express that idea to your graphic designer. Believe it or not, that communication can be one of the most difficult parts of working with a graphic designer; sometimes the designer you’re working with just can’t seem to understand your vision, or perhaps you yourself are struggling with how to describe the idea that you’ve had. Whatever it may be, there are times when bringing your particular vision to life requires cutting out the middleman and making it yourself. 


Creative outlets of all kinds can be enriching and invigorating processes for many people. Others find artistic creativity to be overwhelming or paralyzing. You can never know what kind of artistic pursuit you might find fun and relaxing until you try; some people paint, some journal, some dance, and some, yes, creative visual art. Because at the end of the day, that’s what graphic design is, a facet of the visual arts. So whether you’re an old hand or a first timer, try out making your own graphics. You might find that you actually enjoy it. 


As mentioned above, doing your own graphic design can be a huge cost-saver, as it’s hard to beat “free” for a price. However, that does come with a pretty significant asterisk. Depending on how quickly you’re able to pick up graphic design, how efficiently you’re able to use the tools that you’ve procured, and how much other work you have to do to maintain your business, it’s possible to lose money even without paying a graphic designer. Because we all have a limited amount of time in the day, it’s no good spending a week designing an awesome graphic all day if you have other responsibilities that get neglected in that time. And one of the best things you get when hiring a graphic designer is experience; they’ve done this sort of thing countless times before, so the tools that you spend minutes looking for they reflexively use without thinking about. A task that takes an amateur a full week might take an experienced graphic designer only a few hours, just because they know what they’re doing.


In that same vein, graphic designers bring that level of experience to the whole task ahead of them. Figuring out what software to use won’t even be a factor for them; they will already have a suite of tools that they’re accustomed to using. More importantly, they will know about a whole host of pitfalls that amateur designers might not know about. Designers already know if certain fonts are frowned upon or if particular layouts are confusing for the average reader, making sure that your final product comes across polished and professional.


Humans are a societal species, and even the smartest among us can’t think of everything all the time. When you hire a graphic designer, in a sense you’re hiring a partner. You will talk through exactly what you want to have designed, how you envision it, how you want it to make customers who see it feel. But your designer isn’t just an AI bot, taking in your requests and spitting out a result. A good designer will talk through the project with you, and will often point out things that you would never have thought of on your own. It’s a good idea to listen to what they have to say; even if you end up going with your initial plan, that collaborative expertise is a great way to strengthen your project. Two heads are better than one, as they say.


Graphic designers have spent a great deal of time honing their craft. They have a unique blending of experience, combining marketing with visual arts, often having gone to school for one or both of them, in addition to spending years in the industry constantly honing their craft. Put simply, many graphic designers are just plain good artists, and when you hire them, that artistic talent is brought to your project. Unless you happen to be a great artist yourself, it’s unlikely that your final product, full of passion it may be, will be quite as aesthetically appealing as what a professional can create.

So there it is. Is it better to hire a graphic designer or to do it yourself? That entirely depends on you. How much time do you have, how much artistic talent do you have, what is the idea that you want to bring to life? Perhaps you want to mostly make your own graphics, hiring a designer for certain special projects. Maybe the idea of having a graphic designer on retainer would be a good way to grow your business. Whatever the answer is, it will depend most on you, your skills, inclinations, and needs.

Top Ten Graphic Design Trends 2024

To be an impressive and effective graphic designer requires keeping up with the ever shifting trends. More than perhaps any other artistic medium, the cutting edge of graphic design is always changing, always pushing forward. Even if laypeople can’t necessarily pinpoint what makes a particular graphic feel aged, it still might come across as out of touch. That’s why it’s so important to know what is popular in the field of graphic design. Here are ten of the top graphic design trends in 2024.

AI enhancement

Currently, there is a firestorm of debate about the professional use of AI. Some people love it, others hate it, it’s been the center of numerous legal battles and surely countless more will follow. One way or another, though, AI is here to stay, and many graphic designers are learning to harness AI to help them.

Obviously, you can’t just type a prompt into an image generator and then use that as your graphic. But there are plenty of other ways that AI can enhance your work, from helping you brainstorm ideas to assisting with image touch-ups. More and more as we step into the future, AI is going to have an impact on every artistic field, including graphic design.

Pixel Art

Retro is always in, but our idea of what retro is will always be a moving target. A common theory behind this social phenomenon is generational, as the children of twenty and thirty years ago step into decision-making roles in the prime adult demographic, whatever they grew up with becomes popular again.

It’s why the 80s gave us so many 50s movies, just like we have Stranger Things reflecting the same thing now, and in the design field, it’s why pixels are making a huge comeback. In the 80s and 90s, large square pixels were the only options to create images using limited disk space; now, they evoke comfortable feelings of getting up on Saturday morning to play video games on a clunky console.


Even if retro themed designs are always popular, in one fashion or another, if you take a look at some actual graphics from generations past, you can easily see that they don’t represent the world as it is now, or even as it was then. The people pictured in older graphics are almost always white, almost always heteronormative, almost always ascribing to gender roles; basically portrayed in ways that were “acceptable”.

As we all know, such a way of looking at the world isn’t acceptable now, and shouldn’t have been then. Instead, graphic designers in 2024 strive to use their art to portray the world as it actually is, with every ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, and level of ability represented. It’s more compassionate, more perceptive, and above all, more accurate.


Minimalism is a graphic design mainstay that’s not likely to go anywhere anytime soon, but wherever there’s culture, there evolves a counter to that culture.

Almost as a deliberate response to simple graphics that some new designers perceive as boring, maximalism is one of the fastest growing graphical movements in 2024.

Defined by bright colors, big letters, and using as much space as possible, maximalist designs are splashy, eye-catching, and demand the audience’s attention.

Expressive Typography

Graphic design is, at its very core, using images to express more than words could do on their own. But that doesn’t mean that words are never used in graphics; of course they are!

Oftentimes, the words themselves are worked into the graphics in ways that supplement both. That’s the philosophy behind expressive typography: rather than having graphics and words working alongside each other, expressive typography turns the words themselves into a canvas.

In 2024, designers are pushing the envelope more and more into how artistically they can render words in a way that supports the central design.


Utilizing gradients, the slow shift from one color to another, in interesting ways, has been at the forefront of graphic design for several years now, and 2024 is no different in that regard.

Graphic designers have been exploring different methods for creating eye-popping visuals, whether it’s through unusual color combinations, combining three or more different colors for interesting effects, or one particularly interesting new gradient trend, heatmapping.

These complex swirls of color reminiscent of topographical maps or social science maps have an incredible capability for creating visually interesting designs full of depth and dimension.

Nature Aesthetic

With the looming threat of climate change and ecological sustainability at the forefront of everyone’s minds, it’s no surprise a return to nature aesthetics is a big trend in 2024.

This movement uses colors and visuals that evoke feelings of nature, the lush greens and deep browns of the forest, the sandy tan and bright blue of the beach, bright colors that are grounded in fruits and flowers. In some instances, if the option is there, some designers are even opting to use more natural materials in their products.

The technological and social push forward can feel exhausting, and the world around us can seem more and more technical and impersonal, so this drive towards natural aesthetics is one that resonates with a lot of people right now.


Just like that nature aesthetic, scrapbooking style graphics engender a sense of verisimilitude that can feel extremely powerful.

This style is deliberately haphazard, with polaroid style pictures and big balloon letters, perhaps some doodles in the margin, all in an effort to feel humanizing. It taps into a similar feeling as the prominent rise of pixel art, as scrapbooking itself brings a sense of nostalgia to many of us.

With so much of the world around us growing more technical and more impersonal, imparting a bit of your humanity into your graphics can go a long way in reaching your audience.

Vibrant Contrast

Bright, eye-catching colors are more popular than ever; possibly as our attention spans get shorter and shorter, the graphics that designers use to catch our attention get brighter and more vibrant. But there’s more to it than simply catching the eye, you want your message to be clear and impactful.

That’s where high contrast designs come in, using the very colors themselves to draw your audience’s eyes where they need to go. An extremely vibrant design with clear, high contrast portrays a sense of energy and of power.

Beyond that, the clear contrast makes graphics more accessible to those who might have visual impairments.


3D either looks great, or it looks terrible. There’s very little in between. Numerous times in the past, 3D has trended in various industries, including graphic design, but before, there’s been a clear delineation between the haves and the have-nots, as those with the right technology and know-how are able to make graphics that truly pop, while the vast majority make easily identifiable knockoffs, and the trend dies away.

This time, however, is different for one key reason: the technology required to make great looking 3D images is now widely available, and more and more designers are starting to realize that, done properly, 3D graphics look great.

Expect to see more and more 3D graphics in the coming years as the gates preventing most designers from creating them properly have come tumbling down.