For start-up bands and struggling musicians, the idea of paying a graphic designer for promotional material may seem more like a pipe dream than a reality. A small percentage of musicians make just over $23 per hour themselves, which is slightly higher than graphic designer’s median wage of $21 hourly rates.

(Photo Courtesy of Aaron Olin)

(Photo Credit: Idea Marketing Group)

But graphic designers certainly come in handy for these five industries: manufacturing, specialized design services, newspapers and books, advertising and public relations, and wholesale trade.

Aaron Olin, a vocalist and bass player for the former band Yesterday’s Over With, recalled how his own graphic design skills came in handy.

“A lot of it was all DIY. We’re all young, starting off in a band, not making much money and actually putting our personal money in there. We weren’t getting gigs so it was very hard to hire a graphic designer and a web designer, which is why I took over the reign and tried to learn as much as I can to get something up.”

Although Yesterday’s Over With is literally over with, that didn’t stop Olin from pursuing his graphic design career. He is now a web developer at Idea Marketing Group and holds a bachelor’s degree in visual communications from Westwood College.

“Visual Communications is mostly just graphic design, video editing, 3-D modeling, and they mix in some web design and web development. You get a full round of stuff that you can use for the internet and for printing. It’s a pretty well-rounded field.”

Olin has used his technology background to work on a range of projects, including music videos, commercials and creating logos. While there are tech enthusiasts who are able to learn tasks like these from online tutorials and trial-and-error work, Olin supports the perks of traditional education.

“[College] forces you to learn these programs that I had no idea how to run or how to do. I like the instant feedback on your graphic designs from professors and your peers. Then you also get the competition amongst your peers and classmates. If I see someone doing something that’s probably better than mine, it definitely drives me. It’s also a great place to keep someone as contacts for later on. You never know how they might help you out in the future.”

Shamontiel L. Vaughn is a professional journalist who has work featured in AXS, Yahoo!, Chicago Defender and Chicago Tribune. She’s been an Examiner since 2009 and currently writes about 10 categories on