18 August 2011

Why the Professional Graphic Designer is not dead

Once upon a time… graphic design was a profession dominated by the dark room, vacuum frames and type setting machines. To be a designer you had to be an artist in your own right. Today, however, the dark room remains, well pretty dark, the vacuum frames lie broken and the type setting machines are lost. All have been replaced by the advent of the computer, Quark Xpress and Adobe Creative Suite.

In today’s world anyone can be a designer, provided they have a computer and the right software. And therein lies a problem. Graphic Design is about creativity, design awareness (what colours work together, how many fonts to use, which fonts not to use, what makes a good page layout, etc, etc, etc), having an eye for detail, spotting things other people don’t, and, increasingly, great computer skills. With more and more people purporting to be designers, simply because they have the right facilities, the value of the professional graphic designer has become diluted.  Too often the phrase ‘I got my brother/sister/mother/secretary/cat to put my flyer together as they’re good with computers’ is uttered. 

So where does this leave us, the professional graphic designers? Well, in short, just because everyone can do it, doesn’t mean that everyone can do it well… while others are busy using too many fonts or applying multitudes of colours we can use the same technology to highlight our skills and ability. You may find that a client chooses not to pay for your services in favour of designing their own logo, but in truth it is the clients who are willing to pay for your services that you want to attract. After all they are the ones who can clearly understand the different between good design and simple layout and they will appreciate the effort and value you put in far more.

Above all, graphic design is art; and has always been so.

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