Skip to main content

The State of Graphic Design as a Profession

This simple thread from Christopher turned into something I'm sure even he didn't expect. A place to vent and share to sympathetic ears.

Terms in graphic design that drive you crazy!!!!!

"CLEAN - Tired of hearing it. I'm a designer not janitor. I know what you're getting at when you say it but it's been said too much over the years and it just irritates me. What's a graphic design term do you hate?"

To date there are over 7,600 comments and responses to this thread. Everyday new responses pop up in my feed. Some are funny and just poke fun at what clients ask for because they don't know any better. Others are shared from designers who are completely frustrated by the lack of respect graphic design receives as a profession.

I have to admit that I joined in the conversation and posted a couple of items. Like the time a Product Manager didn't like the color we chose for her package because she would never wear that color. 

Many people hated it when a client says "make it pop". Personally, I would rather have the client say this than tell me HOW to make it pop.

Many posts are centered around budget. And I can totally relate to this. When I ask for a budget 9 times out of 10 the client's response is "I don't have a set amount". My response to that is "you must have a threshold of pain". And they usually say "I really don't have any idea". So when I finally present them with an estimate and they say "that's too much" my response always is "so you did have a budget". 

Several other designers chimed in on the fact that there is a committee of people judging their work including the client's wife and kids. Still others rightfully complained that the client would send over a concept in PowerPoint or Word and proudly tell the designer "it is almost done just spruce it up and it should only take an hour."

So this thread became more than about what term people were tired of hearing. The frustration was almost universal. Some came back with encouraging stories about good clients but clearly most felt they were a wrist for someone who had little respect for their education and profession. 

I'm not sure how to change this perception. I try to guide our clients to start with the the communication objective they want solved and judge the work based on this---not their personal opinion. Also, please don't tell us how to fix what you don't think is working, but rather tell us why it isn't working. And by the way, I'm not even a designer but on the Account Management side. I'm sure designers have even more complaints about us.

Patty Jensen


Sharonda Head said…
I feel you, Patty. I had the same dilemma with a client before. They wanted me to do everything they say even though it might jeopardize the whole project. So, I did what I think was right. I sat down with them and told them that we can improve the artwork if we work hand in hand. After a few weeks of hard work, the project turned out to be a success.

Sharonda Head

Popular posts from this blog

How Lo Can You Go?

Squarespace and Fiverr Offers Logos at Rock-Bottom Prices; Should People Bite?

The company Squarespace, most famous for providing easy-to-use editable templates to make well-designed websites attainable for the masses, upped the ante recently by launching an app for do-it-yourself logos. This, predictably, had the design community up in arms. Making a technical enterprise like building a website simple was one thing, but encroaching upon logo design, which calls for a special alchemy of creativity and communication expertise to capture a company’s essence in one eloquent mark? Blasphemy! To be sure, as this Wired article points out, the demographic for this app would never have even considered hiring a professional graphic designer in the first place, so it’s doubtful it would take any jobs away from established designers or firms, but it could potentially increase the proliferation of badly designed logos, and possibly make it harder for designers who are just starting out to find jo…

Packaging: 10 Steps to a Better Process

1. Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize. When three people are talking to you, you can’t hear them all. The same is true for design. Visual priority must be established from the very beginning of the design process. If every item is given primary importance, nothing becomes important. The visual priorities are what drive how all creative will be judged. The design firm should include as part of their creative brief, a hierarchy of 5 communication points for the front of the package. This includes 1) brand 2) product name 3) why-to-buy statement 4) feature points 5) product image.

2. Come together. Everyone has an opinion, so clear project objectives are vital to any job. Consensus regarding the creative brief must be obtained from the people expected to judge the package design from within your corporation. Without this consensus, the design process will fall apart. Without clearly stated, agreed-upon objectives, you are not able to provide constructive feedback. As soon as you start to …

Cal State Long Beach - Graphic Design Senior Show 2015

Cal State Long Beach recently held their Graphic Design Senior Show for this year's graduating class. In traditional fashion, this is an opportunity for graduating students to show off their creative work accomplished during their 2 years in CSULB's always strong Visual Communications program. 

This year's class titled their show "For the Love of it," and clearly showcased all the love and hard work that went into making it a success. A notable aspect of the show was how the class divided up the work between 4 different galleries.

The main gallery was where all the students' individual work was displayed. If you want to stand out to potential employers, this is where you do it.

The second gallery was where they displayed team projects and other collaborative efforts. From what I've heard about the design program over the years, they've really bumped up their efforts in showcasing how well CSULB designers work well together whether it's in small tea…