I am probably right in saying that not many people would tell a mechanic how to fix your car, or lecture an electrician how to re-wire your house, so why does everyone think they can tell a graphic designer how to design? Friends and family all constantly give me creative advice and critique my work, which I don’t mind at all, but sometimes I do have to grind my teeth and say the classic “That’s a great idea, but perhaps not quite right for this project” line.
Don’t get me wrong I have no problem taking criticism, especially from my clients as I will never understand their markets as well as they do, so creative collaboration and co-operation is fine in that respect. I also fully appreciate that as humans we are all creative beings in our own right and each have an individual sense of style. However I can’t help but think that graphic design as an industry is one that everyone thinks they could dip their toe into if they wished, therefore devaluing the whole industry. So, why do a lot of people think they could be a graphic designer and have the right to hand over golden nuggets of creative advice? Possibly for the following reasons…
Mummy’s little designer…
Everyone is told by their parents as a child (and sometimes as an adult) that their glitter / poster paint /chalk drawings / models / creations are fantastic and that they are ‘ever so clever’. So if you are constantly told this by the people who mean the most to you, you are going to think you have a heightened sense of design which may be hard to shrug off.
Everyone is constantly bombarded by a range of advertising, promotion and branding which unless you head to the hills you cannot escape. We are all media trained from an early age and are subconsciously absorbing design left, right and centre.
It is very easy for everyone now a days to open up Microsoft office and play around with clip art, word art and various templates to create some sort of design. This in my eyes doesn’t necessarily make that person a ‘designer’, but giving people instant access to this kind of software makes people believe that could hold a graphic design title if they want. Mark Busse from Industrial Brand gives us a great insight in to his experience with this in his article ‘No, I’m Not A Graphic Designer’ in which he states he deserves a better title than ‘Graphic Designer’ to separate him from the wannabe’s.
So if it is true that everyone in the human race is creative what actually defines a graphic designer?
Whether it’s self taught or through University or college, a true graphic designer should be able to navigate through their tools (whatever they maybe) with ease and grace and not rely on cheap and overused filters and effects to create their work.
A graphic designer has trouble turning their creativity off! Marnie B has a great list of comical anecdotes about hard core designers, a lot of which ring true. As truly creative beings graphic designers eat sleep and drink design and relish wallowing in this creative lifestyle.
Anyone can create a logo or design but will that concept be right for the intended market? Graphic designers are able to choose the right concept and convey those messages in a clear and concise way.
There are probably 100 more points to define graphic designers that I’ve missed! But what are your thoughts on this, what makes a real graphic designer? Do you feel that the creative industry is devalued by the volume of wannabe’s? What do you say to people when they give you creative solutions or suggestions?
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Posted by Steve