NFTs: New Opportunity for Struggling Designers?

A few years ago, in 2019 B.C. (Before Covid), Jonathan “The Gice” Gicewicz, owner and Chief Designer of JEG DESIGN INC., and I discussed the life of a graphic designer. Our subject – how few and far between the opportunities are. But has the emergence of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) changed that?

Back when we had this conversation, NFTs weren’t part of society’s vernacular like they are today.  Every day it seems newer NFTs are being created, and with them, so aren’t record highs for purchases. And for others, catastrophe. 

Has the evolution of NFTS created more lucrative opportunities for downtrodden designers?  Or a gamble as crippling as a drunken night in Vegas?

To Gice, it’s both.  

Life as a Designer 

When you graduate from college with a degree and dream in design, specifically graphic design – you have one assurance: you’ll be entering a saturated job market with little growth on the horizon.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graphic design is forecast for a 3% increase by 2030. Significantly less than the national average for all other occupations. 

However, these prognosticated numbers predated the birth of the most confusing thing sweeping the nation since we first heard of Bitcoin – NFTs.

And NFTs, according to Gice, “allow designers, developers, and artists a way to coin their future.”

What’s an NFT

“I see NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, as the future of the creator economy. They use blockchain technology to help creators increase the value of their work and share it with fans in real-time.”  — Paris Hilton

Bet you didn’t think you would see a Paris Hilton quote, did you? 

NFTs are digital assets sold on the blockchain. But if you’re reading this, we suspect you already knew that.  If you don’t, we suggest you click this.

NFTs can range from Tweets to pixelated images to original drawings to beyond.   

(Authors note: I still don’t have a goddam clue, and I’ve written at least half a dozen blogs on the subject.) 

Here’s the thing, though- while many of us saw people profiting via a world of make-believe.  Designers like Gice saw an opportunity.  And that’s because he constantly seeks.  Let me tell you how.

After Gice graduated with a degree in graphic design from the now-defunct Green Mountain College in Vermont – he realized pretty darn quick that life as a graphic designer wasn’t nearly as enticing as he imagined. So, he learned something new, web design.  Twenty-one years later, JEG DESIGN INC. is a premier web and graphic design company in Rutland, Vermont. 

And once again, as he did back in 2001, Gice scanned the landscape and saw a new place to create his art – NFTs.

How designers Are Making Money From NFT’s

Raise of hands, how many of you have used someone else’s graphic without paying the original artist? Pretty sure I’ve done it twice today, and it’s not even 9 am.  

Thanks to NFT technology, artists can now license, sell, or display their work however they want.  

What would life have been like in 2001 for Gice if NFTs existed? “If I were faced with the same dilemma today, I would be all over it.  NFTs provides designers a quick, easy place to sell their art.”  

And understandably so. Gice told me a story about a musician who made more money selling his work as an NFT than being on Spotify for the past ten years. 

However, with all of this being said – it’s essential artists are aware of the world they are entering. 

Negatives artists must be aware of with NFTs

When I asked Gice how bad things can get in this subculture, he simply said, “It’s cutthroat.”  Whether it’s artists not getting credit or artists incapable of putting their ego to the side – this is a world filled with toxicity on par with a Kanye West text to Pete Davidson.  

Additionally, there’s no shortage of cautionary tales of people taking their life savings and going all-in with NFTs trying to strike it rich. Or worst, people purchase an NFT and then go to view the art the next day only to find a 404 page not found, and the artist has vanished

What’s Gice’s suggestion?  “Do your homework. Do the research. You will not regret it.”

Conclusion

NFTs are a crapshoot. It’s impossible to determine whether you’ll be successful or not in a world that is not only constantly evolving, it’s rapidly changing. 

But if you’re an artist, especially a struggling artist, NFTs are a world worth exploring.  If you do the work, create high-quality original art, and do your research – you may not be guaranteed success, but you’ll be in a much more lucrative position than you were before. 

Remember this if you remember anything – NFTs are a utility first and everything else second. 

If you have questions about NFTs or require graphic design consulting – contact Gice at JEG DESIGN INC. today for a free consultation.

Written by Keith Hannigan. Keith is the co-owner and Chief Writer at SBI Content Creation LLC. SBI Content Creation is a content writing company just outside of Atlanta, Georgia