75% of the US workers in the Design Field are Freelancers. The other 25% work as part of an in-house production department in corporations and companies throughout the United States.
Of that 75%, 2019 statistics show that only 24% of those freelancers hold a bachelor’s degree, while another 16% of that also have a Post-Graduate Degree. That means that when you engage the services of a freelance designer in the U.S., 3 out of 4 of them will not have a formal education has a designer. That’s a staggering statistic and one every potential client should beware of.
So, who are these 3 out of 4 and where are they coming from? Well, they are self-taught. They are what I call “Barnes & Noble Cowboys“. These are people who go out on a Friday afternoon, buy a book on Photoshop or Illustrator, spend the weekend reading that book and then declare themselves designers come Monday morning. Some of them have taken an online course or two here and there. Some of them have not bothered with any of that and just played around with the Adobe programs long enough to figure out how to use the tools. It is the equivalent of you declaring you are a master mechanic after you figured out how to change your brake pads on your car.
Now do not get me wrong, there are some good designers out there that are self-taught. However, they are extremely rare! They learned directly from people like me who were formally trained, and they have years of documented experience. In my own 18 years of experience, I can still count the number of good designers that were self-taught this way on one hand. You need to hire a designer who has been formally trained. Period.
Also as of 2019, only 28% of freelancers are working as a freelance designer as their main source of income. The other 72% have another full-time “day” job and only work on projects as a side gig (nights and weekends).
Why is this important? It is important because it means no what they promise you or say, your project(s) will never be their focus or concern. You are and always will be a side hustle. Think about it, their main focus or “day” job is and always will be, the source of income that pays their bills and puts food on the table. You will never be able to compete with that. Period.
Let that sink in for a moment. You…the client…WILL NEVER BE anything other than a side hustle. Is that really the designer you want working on your projects? Of course not.
What does all f this mean for you, the client, at the end of the day? Simple. It means you have to do your homework before you hire a designer and that means you need to be asking questions… a lot of questions before you hire a designer.