The Graphic Design Dilemma

The Graphic Design Dilemma

Graphic Artists GuildBeing a graphic or web designer in this climate nowadays is TOUGH. I mean very tough. Talent coming out of art school these days will be faced with the harsh reality of market dilution and over saturation of untrained folks who like to call themselves “graphic designers” or “web designers”.

As someone who has 15+ years of career experience, I am bearing witness to the decline of a skill that entails artistry, innovation, vision and a sensibility to turn a simple, clear, scented, gelatinous liquid into something that stands out on a shelf. Everything from the shape of the bottle to the label and color palette, relates to design. When a potential employer or client is faced with question of who they might hire to, lets say, design their website. These people usually look at the bottom line ‚Äì cost. I see it on Craigslist ALL THE TIME! I mean there’s a post on Craigslist right now that reads; “Web Developer $15 hr”. ? Seriously? 15 bucks? Is THAT IT? I’m almost positive I can get a no-brainer job for $15. Another thing I see are potential clients wanting designs on spec! By that I mean design for free so they can pick and choose free designs from a host of desperate so-called, “graphic designers”. And what’s stopping the companies from just flat-out ripping off their designs? I have to stop myself from responding to these people and explain to them the difference of someone who has just discovered photoshop and is looking for work and someone who is a skilled professional. It makes me sick.

This dilution is problematic and is destroying everything the Graphic Artists Guild has established in their seemingly long forgotten “Pricing and Ethical Guidelines” book. This book was established to assist artists in the industry to prevent the very thing that is happening now ‚Äì market dilution. Within the pages of this book is a fantastic wealth of information that not only could inspire would-be designers to perhaps go to school and learn the craft but even help bring the integrity of the whole graphic design industry up to a new level. I think our industry is one of the only industries where salaries have gone down instead of up. Pretty soon flipping burgers will pay as much as companies would pay a graphic designer. And in some cases those salaries and hourly rates have sadly intersected.

Where does this responsibility lie then? Is it in the choice of the company who is looking to cut corners or is it in the responsibility of those who call themselves graphic and web designers? I mean most of my business is having to fix the mess what self professed graphic and web designers have made to begin with. Unfortunately, for the prospective company they pay three times. One when they hire their reasonably priced graphic designer. Two when they find out the person they hired did a crappy job. And three, to hire me to redesign all that could have been designed correctly to begin with. That’s why its important to choose your talent wisely. Experienced designers can do twice the amount of work in half the time of someone of lesser experience. So um… what’s the problem with those monetary figures?

Ultimately, the group of designers I know have to fight against the disgrace made against the career path they have chosen to be trained in and suffer the consequences of this twisted metamorphasis. But it is my belief that our continued innovation and steadfast perseverance will tear down this nauseating facade and elevate our industry back to where industry standards should be.

Can I get an AMEN!!

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