What are some of the highly skilled, niche areas in the graphic design industry?

I am a programmer (hobbyist), and without that specific purpose or need, I ended knowing things in areas which I call “obscure areas” (since I don’t know a better term). I mean, areas in which there aren’t that many jobs, but there are almost no people working on them, or many having relevant knowledge at all. (E.g. Cobol programmers, people knowing machine language, kernel hackers, etc…)

These areas in some specific conditions, (such as the companies really needing them) result in jobs being paid very well. Much better than the average programmer.

The problem is that I tried to explain this concept to a friend (which has no hope in having a decent job; she wants to go further with design), and while she got my point, she couldn’t have a single idea of such area in design.

I am not that wise talking about design, and ended pointing as a “maybe”, to hybrid jobs (half of each area), like those at 3D animation/programming. Jobs where there aren’t (as far as I know) many people working because of the limitation of most design people being bad at things such as programming, and most programming people being bad at things such as design.

I was hopping for you to give me an idea of hard areas inside design, where there are no big cost barriers to go in, even if there is a huge learning curve and requirements to have knowledge on it.


I think you’re asking about niche sub-fields with in the world of graphic design?

Off the top of my head:

  • Typeface designer (it’s an incredibly small industry, albeit one that doesn’t make many people rich)
  • Calligraphers (historically for documents, wedding invites; today they tend to be hired for custom hand lettering for a wide range of uses)
  • hand painted signage
  • Letterpress printers/Linotype operators
  • Graphic Design scholar/historian/author

The primary difference between these types of jobs and say COBOL programmers is that while niche skills, there’s more than enough people that do it to meet demand (since for a lot of people, making art is more appealing than learning antiquated programming languages). So these aren’t typically high paying positions.

So these definitely meet the ‘high level of specialization/difficulty/niche’ aspects–but not really the ‘high paying/guaranteed to find a job’ aspects.

Source : Link , Question Author : SOMN , Answer Author : DA01

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