Professional Graphic and Web Designers have many tools in their arsenal. They have the flexibility to manage an often heavy workload. A firm understanding of the elements and principles of design. The ability to communicate with (and often guide) the client. Then there’s the adaptability to change a design when the client unexpectedly updates the brief!
However, despite the many and varied skills to do their job properly, many designers are still very much taken for granted. Some are expected to heavily discount their rates or, even worse, supply their talents for free! This rarely happens as frequently in other professions.
Many designers are open to reducing their prices for projects they love or for philanthropic organisations that need their help. But when the expectation is that a designer will work ‘for exposure’ or that a client will hunt down the absolute cheapest rate and skimp on quality; there are going to be problems down the track.
Here are a few reasons why clients should pay for good design.
Idea generation and application isn’t easy.
Despite everyone in this day and age having access to ‘design programs’ such as Microsoft Powerpoint, Publisher, Word and Paint (immediate body-length shudder) the skills to firstly generate the ideas, then accurately execute the design solutions should not be undervalued. Everybody is creative on some level (believe this or not) but, like any profession, it takes time and a great deal of committed practise to be able to master this skill set. You wouldn’t start re-wiring a house just because you have a pair of pliers.
Design that is cheap, or free, is not properly valued.
The price you pay for goods and services has an effect on how you value them; this is definitely true for design. Good design isn’t just a mark on paper, paired with a pretty font. It comes laced with strategy, guidance, education and quality application to complete an overall brand. Often clients who ‘save money’ on design have to split their budget with marketers or managers, who unfortunately aren’t graphic designers, but often get a greater say in how visuals for design projects should pan out. Danger! Marketing and Graphic Design are two different things, be sure not the mix them up.
It’s never as quick, or as easy, as you think.
“It’s just a few text additions, plus rearranging a few images… this shouldn’t take long should it?”
Well… you’d be surprised.
Alterations that appear to be trivial can often add a mound of work to the creative process. Just because the emailed changes only take up a short paragraph doesn’t mean they won’t have a drastic effect on the overall design. A true design craftsman or craftswoman needs time to make sure every element is in its rightful place and appears balanced on the page. When a client wants something ‘quickly whipped up’ you can be sure to queue that ‘Microsoft Paint-esque body-length shudder’. Just like a half-built house, it’s eventually going to fall over.
Designers are inherently generous, allow them to be.
Designers that are well paid and truly valued will always go the extra mile. They will have the time and resources to provide additional ideas and further extend their research because they know they have a client that allows them to be passionate about the brand. If you stifle this freedom, you are likely to find your designer unable to become fully consumed in the project.