Graphic Design Services

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 15,600 graphic design services in the US plan, design, and manage the production of visual communications. Major client industries include advertising, publishing, retail, fashion/apparel, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, sports, and entertainment. Graphic design firms may specialize in particular area, such as packaging or website design.

Sensitivity To Performance Of Client Industries

Demand for graphic design services is dependent on the financial health of client industries, which can be cyclical and vulnerable to economic downturns.

Demand For Digital Grows

As clients shift marketing dollars from traditional advertising vehicles to digital programs, graphic design firms have adapted services accordingly.

Industry size & Structure

The average graphic design service provider operates out of a single location, employs fewer than five workers, and generates about $597,000 annually.

    • The graphic design services industry consists of about 15,600 firms that employ about 55,900 workers and generate $9.3 billion annually.
    • The graphic design services industry is extremely fragmented; the top 50 companies account for just under 17% of industry revenue.
    • Large firms include Schawk Incorporated and Southern Graphics. Large firms that also offer graphic printing include Quad Graphics and Matthews International.
    • The majority of graphic design firms are small, independent companies that operate within a limited geographical market.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Graphic Design Services Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  Mar 2, 2023 - Business Applications Increase
                                  • The rate of US business applications, a demand indicator for graphic design services, increased 0.9% in January 2023 compared to the prior month, according to the US Census Bureau. The Midwest posted the strongest growth in January business applications, with a rise of 2.8%, followed by the Northeast and the South, which saw rises of 1.7% and 1%, respectively. Business applications in the West fell 1.1%. Of the 20 major industry sectors tracked by the Census Bureau, all but seven posted growth in business applications in January, led by utilities (up 55.1%), arts and entertainment (+7.6), mining (+7.3%), accommodation and food services (+6.3%), and real estate (+5.8%). Industry categories that posted declines in business applications in January were retail trade (down 4%), wholesale trade (-3.7%), unclassified (-2.4%), agriculture (-3.5%), information (-1.3%), and manufacturing (-1.3%).
                                  • Salary growth among design, creative, and marketing talent rose by just 1.1% in 2022, falling well behind peak 2022 inflation of 9.1%, according to a recent report by Aquent, a creative and marketing staffing firm. Aquent, which based its study on more than 19,000 actual salaries, found that in addition to poor wage growth, there were persistent pay disparities for women and ethnically diverse talent. Men earned more than women in 12 out of 15 job types surveyed, including female user interface (UI) designers (-15.79%), female user experience (UX) researchers (-14.63%), and female presentation designers (-8.33%). The reports also showed that ethnically diverse employees earned 2.25% less than white talent across all position types. However, in creative, design, and copy positions – which includes graphic designers – there was no disparity between white and ethnically diverse workers.
                                  • More companies are redirecting marketing dollars away from their websites in favor of investments in their social media presence, according to marketing firm Beeby Clark + Meyer. Social media platforms offer advantages, including their algorithms which can gather user data and leverage it to serve personalized content. Through their ability to incorporate video, stories, and even e-commerce, social media can be used to sell products directly without a consumer needing to visit a brand’s website. Paid search to drive website traffic has also gotten more expensive, and paid search listings increasingly crowd out organic search results. Social media allows brands to meet consumers where they are rather than having to lure them to website content.
                                  • Net media owner advertising revenues are expected to grow 4.8% to $833 billion in 2023 compared to 2022, according to a December forecast by advertising firm MAGNA. However, MAGNA’s latest outlook represents a slight downgrade from the one in June when the firm projected that 2023 media owner advertising revenues would grow 6.3% over 2022. Aside from political ad spending, most types of ad spending growth slowed substantially in the second half of 2022 amid mounting global economic uncertainty. In terms of verticals, consumer packaged goods and financial services marketers are likely to see flat ad spending growth in 2023, while entertainment, travel, and betting will continue to rebound from the pandemic.
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