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The SKULL IMAGES drawn with a bizarre “ARTIFICIAL-LOOKING” (or UNNATURAL), sharp tone. Although to my eye the sharp effect int those images portray the ugliness of modernity; to some people indeed…


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The harsh reality of esports design

After COVID-19 hit in January 2020, there has been a new influx of new designers on Twitter and this resulted in many new talents among the esports design community.

What is esports design?

Esports design encapsulates different disciplines within design which are not limited to:

Here are some designs made by creatives in the esports industry.

Esports itself is quite an interesting industry and not as convoluted as you might think. There are so many more opportunities for people to get involved in esports than just as a gamer. There are roles including content creator, competitive player, and talent acquisition. However, many of the creative roles in esports that require you to work behind the scenes are underappreciated and are underpaid and some even work for free for their respective teams. Esports design is often overlooked by newcomers on Twitter at first glance as it’s quite hidden among the public eye due to the designers of the “esports design community” interacting solely on Twitter. The demographic of those esports designers are mainly very young and are males aged 12–18. There is an overwhelming amount of artistic and creative talent from these designers; many of these designers are highly skilled in Adobe software such as Photoshop however many lack professionalism, understanding of basic design principles, and often undersell themselves.

State of creatives in the esports industry

Many creatives in esports currently have a great artistic eye, genuine passion for design, and creative culture, however many are inexperienced with working in a professional environment. The issue that lies is that many of the designers do not follow basic design principles, brand guidelines, or grids due to the normalcy of not following rules in the esports design scene. The esports industry thrives off hustle culture and many esports designers improve their designing ability simply by grinding alone or by joining design competitions hosted by esports organizations like Misfits on platforms like Twitter. Esports design is fairly competitive with approximately 5% of the population actually working for tier 1 organizations such as Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses.

State of esports organizations

There is a tier and hierarchy for the esports organizations which is commonly agreed upon among the members of the community.

Tier 1: These organizations are world renown and are established in their own right. They often pay the median salary to all their employees and offer full-time positions paying an hourly wage. However, the roles in these organizations are extremely scarce and competitive and only 1% of the population in the esports design community manage to work for one of these organizations.

100 Thieves logo

Tier 2: These organizations are popular among the members of the esports community and semi-popular outside of the esports community. They often only have freelance and contract positions and often pay per graphic. Competition is very high among these organizations as the majority of designers in the community aim to join at least one of these organizations in their careers and make fan projects for these organizations.

Tier 3: These organizations are only known among the veterans of the esports community or are university-based esports teams. They are also the ones to underpay their creatives or request them to work for free. Competition is fairly low among the freelance positions in these organizations which is why many creatives end up working for them.

Tier 4: These organizations are often newly established and many classify themselves as teams more than actual organizations. These organizations often have a wide roster of roles and it’s very easy to join these teams. However, this is often a newcomer’s trap as many of these teams do not pay their creatives at all and most of these teams don’t even compete in tournaments or in the professional gaming scene and are made of mostly just small streamers and gamers.

The sad truth is that most esports organizations underpay their creatives and some ask them to work for free in exchange for using their title in their name. In addition, there have been several organizations that have been doing a scheme where they host a design challenge to get designers to create free graphics for them. Most esports organizations also do not retain branding for too long as the length of their audience’s attention span is very low so they are always seeking a refresh of their brand identities.

What are the benefits of being inside the esports industry?

As much as I admire and appreciate the various talented and hardworking people in the community there are far more negatives than positives I can think of.

Some positives I can think of:

What are the disadvantages of being inside the esports industry?

Common misconceptions about esports design

Is it worth getting into esports design in 2022?

Yes, if you are willing to dedicate thousands of hours, have a genuine interest in esports, and want to support your favorite team.

No, if you don’t have much time in your hands and wish for a sustainable and stable career.

Future of esports design

A major underlying and ongoing issue in the delay of growth for esports design is the lack of inclusivity for women in the industry. In fact, 99% of the people working in the industry are male and this resulting gender gap makes it very difficult to make esports mainstream.

Another underlying issue that is hindering the growth and success of esports design is designers underselling themselves and not being professional with their own brand. Many of these designers may clout tweet to receive likes and exposure and it overall looks bad on the community.

Another issue is that many of the designers asking for feedback chase only for appreciation and compliments and do not know how to take any constructive criticism and feedback and saying anything other than positive is often shunned upon. This results in designers with a massive ego and overconfident in their design ability and hinders their professional and technical growth.

Despite all the shortcomings, there will be an increase in lucrative opportunities in the industry with an increasing amount of universities and colleges also implementing a dedicated esports curriculum.

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