The Role of Designers in the Future of Advertising

In 2019, The Washington Post reported market research by eMarketer forecasting that “this year, the money spent on digital advertising in the United States will surpass that spent on traditional ads for the first time.” Technology is impacting advertising, which in turn is challenging graphic design professionals to keep up with changes in demand across advertising mediums, channels, and formats.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Maryville University’s Online Bachelor’s in Digital Media program.

How web designers can play a key role in emerging tech-based ad strategies.

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Investigating in Advertising and UX/UI

Advertisers today have a plethora of ad mediums and channels to choose from. Across all industries, advertisers are investing heavily in digital ad types, shaping the future of advertising.

Advertising Forecasts

By the end of 2019, nearly $130 billion will be spent on digital ads. This translates to 54.2% of total ad spending. Conversely, nearly $110 billion, or 45.8% of total ad spending, will be spent on traditional advertising. TV ad spending for the year will also decrease by 2.2% and total $71 billion for the year, while $87 billion will be spent on mobile advertising.

It’s also indicated that Google and Facebook will hold 59% of the market, and Amazon will hold 9% of the market. Additionally, a survey of 350 marketers conducted by IAB revealed that in 2019, 72% of marketers will increase spending on digital video advertising in the next 12 months.

By 2023, nearly 66% of advertising budgets will be spent on digital ads. This reflects a 19% decrease in print ads such as the Yellow Pages or directories, as well as an 18% dip in print newspapers and magazines.

Investing in UX/UI

Advertisers, web developers, and graphic designers turn to user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designer to bridge the area of expertise covering the technical aspects of a design and the preference of users.

Investing in UX can help grow return on investment (ROI) in several key areas. These areas include increased customer satisfaction, decrease in support call volume, and improved development efficiency.

The Future of Advertising with Augmented Reality and UX/UI

Augmented reality (AR) technology overlays digital information onto a real-time landscape, creating an interactive, highly personalized experience, Global AR ad revenue is expected to reach $2.6 billion by 2022, according to eMarketer.

Why Advertisers are Choosing AR

Advertisers today are choosing AR for many reasons. A big reason is conversion rates, which can range from 20% to 80%. The strategy is also noninterruptive, interactive, user-controlled, and provides rich audience insights. AR also creates robust visualization experiences for customers, and it allows users to enjoy greater customization based on real-time data. Additionally, AR technologies can be integrated with mobile devices, which increases access to consumers.

An AR Advertising Pioneer: Snapchat Lenses

Snapchat Lenses is an interactive feature on Snapchat that can transform a user’s selfie. Brands pay between $300,000 and $750,000 per day for a sponsored lens. Snapchat has also been able to lure some heavyweights into participating in the concept: 20th Century Fox, Taco Bell, and Starbucks have all paid for Snapchat lenses. The feature’s appeal to advertisers, compared with other social media ad types, include a greater purchasing intent among audience, creation of a more positive brand impression, and makes the brands look more fun and engaging.

Changes in UX/UI

In addition to AR, developments and changes in browsing habits, technology, and design are impacting the UX/UI field. These impactful tech-driven trends include foldable devices, content and design localization, and incorporating emojis in design schemes.

Tools, Platforms, and Skills for Designers

The success of an advertising campaign largely hinges on how compelling and stunning the images are. As advertisers place greater demands on designers to create eye-catching graphics and visuals, designers will turn to apps and platforms to simplify and speed up the design process.

Apps and Platforms Simplifying and Advancing Digital Design

One of the innovative digital design tools on the market is Canva, a web-based design tool that allows users to straighten photos, crop images, utilize preset and customizable filters, and choose from a library of icons, charts, and illustrations. Another tool is Squarespace, a website publishing platform that enables web and graphic designers to access mobile-responsive customizable templates, utilize a style and image editor, and integrate Getty Images. Adobe Project Areo is launching soon, but it will allow Photoshop and Dimension uses to manipulate designs in physical spaces when it does. Other tools include the website publishing platform Designbold, the web-based design and prototyping tool Marvel, and the 3-D modeling tool Cheetah3D.

Skills and Expertise Designers Need to Stay Competitive

These new tools and programs make it important for designers to cultivate several advanced skills. These competencies include tech-driven skills like UX design, coding, and software competencies. It will also require advanced print design and digital typography skills, as well as soft competencies like problem-solving and expansive thinking skills.

Design Jobs in Demand

One key in-demand design job is the role of the multimedia artist and animator. Those in this role use software to create 2-D and 3-D models, images, and visual effects for film, video games, television, and other mediums. The 2018 median pay for the role is $72,520.

Another popular job is web developer. Those in this position design and build websites and applications, overseeing its visual and technical aspects. The 2018 median pay for the role is $69,430.

UX Designer is also an on-demand job for designers. As the job title suggests, those in this role design the UX with a product, app, or website. The 2018 median pay of the event is $93,500.


The future of advertising lies in part in the imagination of design professionals. As advertisers follow the media consumption preferences of consumers, designers will use the latest technologies and tools to bring advertising campaigns to life.

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