“Can you take this flyer and make it look nice?” I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this line or something similar. Graphic designers are often approached as if we are hobbyists or as if we have a button labeled “magic” on our MacBook Pro that somehow just transfers all the the creative ideas from our heads into the computer. “Make it look nice” is one of the most vague and pointless things you can say to a professional graphic designer. Besides, we have no idea what that statement even really means! In this blog post I am going to break through some barriers of common misconceptions and I may hurt a few feelings but if you follow this blog consistently, you know its purpose is to aim to educate therefore, remaining truthful is the only way to be. So, let’s get started with why “making it look nice” just doesn’t cut it and why you should actually expect more.
What is Graphic Design?
Graphic design is indeed a form of art but it is art with a purpose. Graphic design is art that solves a problem and helps to obtain specific goals. Graphic designers are visual communicators that combine art and technology to visually convey a set of beliefs, experiences or ideas to a target market or audience.
What do Graphic Designers Actually do?
I often say that graphic designers are the middle men/women or the converters. We are the creative people who can take a vague idea or dream and covert it into visual manifestation. We produce art that speaks volumes without having to say too many words. We understand that we only have seconds to get someone’s attention therefore we discover, implement and create ways to grab attention quickly and make your target audience want to continue to read. Graphic Designers are the people that work diligently, often behind the scenes to convey a very important message. We ensure readability. We ensure that your logo will be able to be used on multiple mediums. We provide the clients with the correct file formats for specific needs. We are the awesome guys who make sure the job gets done on tight (sometimes unrealistic) deadlines while staying within brand and company guidelines. We are the creative professionals that make you look professional. We love to ensure that you can step out into the world with confidence as you hand out marketing material. We know the differences in RGB, CMYK and when you should use them (Please visit my previous blog post, Design Files, to learn more about file types). We are the interpreters of the dream! OK! I am done with my short speech but have you ever asked a designer can they see your vision or dream?
Why “Make it look nice” is not the language a designer uses
Making a statement such as “Make it look nice” to a graphic designer is like saying a mouth full of nothingness . What looks nice to you may not look nice to the designer or vice versa. Besides, I am sorry to inform you but this is not really about you! It is not about you or the designer definition of what looks nice. It is however more about making it appeal to your very specific target audience. What if you don’t know our target audience? Well you are headed for trouble and have skipped a few steps my friend (Read this blog post to learn more about Target Market/Audience).If you’ve never worked with a designer before and you are contacting them about a design project, at some point they are going to want to know more about your company/organization, what you do and your target audience. Why? Because as stated before, graphic designers are visual communicators. We are visual problem solvers. A big part of our job is to to ensure that we design something that will speak to the people you actually intend for it to speak to. It is utterly a waste of your time and money to simply just have a graphic designer throw something together and you aren’t even reaching you potential customers. Can we say pointless!? Why try and sell baby products to couples that have no children? It doesn’t make sense right along with saying “make it look pretty, cool or nice.” Instead of asking a designer to “make it nice,” I recommend you ask them to help you with a creative design that will reach more potential customers. Yes, that sounds more pleasing and it actually makes sense to us! If you partner with a qualified designer who actually takes the time to understand your vision and dream, you’ll end up with a nice design but there are proper steps that it takes to get there. Our craft is so much more than decoration!
Thank you for reading and if you’ve found yourself saying this overly used phrase, no worries, just fix it on #FixItFriday! As always please feel free to email me using the contact form in the upper right corner of the screen or I would love to read your comments below!