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Pickens Technical College’s Graphic Design pathway prepares students for a corporate career path as a graphic design artist. Instructor John Lawson instructs his students on how to construct a portfolio they can show to clients or employers. Everyone who graduates from Pickens’ Graphic Design program has the building blocks of a career working as a corporate graphic designer. 

Graphic design is all about developing those budding artistic qualities you’ve always thought you had. Many graphic designers moonlight as artists themselves, trying to get their creative projects in front of as many eyes as possible. Amid the COVID-19 quarantine, graphic artists are struggling to find new work in the corporate world and the creative world. 

Graphic designers are hard-hit during these strange times, but if you’re interested in pursuing this career, you shouldn’t be discouraged. There is support for graphic artists and hope for them once the COVID pandemic dies down.

Art Industry Shut Down

The local art scene ground to a halt in many ways as coronavirus containment measures spread throughout the Denver metro area and the state. What was once a flourishing arts scene for artists of all kinds, including visual artists like graphic designers, has stopped because of COVID-19. Galleries have been shuttered, art shows and concerts canceled. Any in-person event meant to showcase artists has been either canceled or moved online in some form. 

For graphic designers who have gone the artistic route as a career, the shutdown has had dire consequences. Many income streams were all but turned off. To support struggling artists, Denver Arts & Venues started the Artist Assistance Fund in March, allocating $130,000 from its Imagine 2020 cultural arts plan. By April 1st, the Fund became the Colorado Artist Relief Fund, with donors chipping in to raise the total amount to over $366,000, and the fund is growing every day.

Colorado artists can apply for as much as $1,000 depending on how much-lost income they need to pay their bills. Denver Arts & Venues cultural director Tariana Navas-Nieves said that artists need to prove their art is a part of their career, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a finished portfolio website. 

Struggles on the Corporate Side

By and large, graphic designers working for a company creating advertisements, branding, and more have more job security than freelancers or artists. Unfortunately, however, in tough economic times, it’s usually the graphic designers and other creatives who are let go first. Fortunately, though, whether you take Pickens’ Graphic Design course and go the freelancing or corporate route, you’ll be entering into industries that likely will be trying to pull out all the stops and recover from this current massive economic downturn. 

It appears we’re on the other side of the crisis’ peak, and businesses of all kinds are preparing for what comes next. They’ll need graphic artists to remind their clients and customers of their brands and create designs that help them sell products and services. We’ll realize we need artists again soon, too.