Whether you have or have yet to work with a graphic designer, you may have a few assumptions or preconceived notions about the type of people graphic designers are and what it’s like working with a graphic designer. Whether it’s a graphic designer or any other professional, it’s not wise to assume anything about a coworker or freelancer. This can lead to poor collaborations, miscommunications and false expectations about pricing, deadlines and quality. It’s best to come in to any new partnership with a clean slate because individuals are unique and each project is unique.
You may also be considering a career as a graphic designer. Rather than make assumptions, consider what professional graphic designers have to say about their profession.
#1 Anyone can be a graphic designer
While there are a lot of resources out there to teach the skills and practices of graphic design in addition to tools and platforms that make DIY graphic design more attainable, the notion that a digital agency doesn’t need to hire a true, professional graphic designer or an experienced graphic designer to create logos, edit images, create infographics and more, simply isn’t the case. Not everyone has the creativity, ingenuity, patience and intellect to navigate graphic design software and manipulate graphics and tools to successfully actualize a client’s vision. Placing the strain on a social media manager, copywriter or “some intern” to perform graphic design work, is only going to lower the quality of the work and extend the deadline.
#2 Designers can make anything look beautiful
While it may seem like graphic designers can work magic when they’ve finished an amazing full-page ad or banner, it takes the right ingredients to put together a truly delectable masterpiece. The ingredients a graphic designer needs to create beautiful content is a quality version of the original graphic/image and the right tools (adobe suite, corelDRAW, Photoshop, etc.).
There is only so much a graphic designer can do to beautify a blurry image or perfect a piece of content without the right initial tools.
Take ownership over what falls under your responsibility and understand what can and can’t be done in the world of graphic design.
#3 A designer can do anything they want with a graphic
This is where the “customer is always right” monicor may not always apply to the world of graphic design. Your vision for a particular project may not be realistic. Even if you hire a world-class designer, there are certain limitations to what can be manipulated within a graphic, website or image. This is especially the case if there has already been an agreed upon price for the entire project. If you aren’t paying your graphic designer by the hour, they can only spend so much time making tweaks to your project before their earnings drop below their standard rate.
Takeaway: There is sooo much that graphic designers can do, but there are things that simply cannot be manipulated about a graphic or image.
#4 Graphic design work is fast
If you have not been a graphic designer, you simply can’t understand the breadth of work that goes into seemingly simple tasks and especially larger projects. If you’ve worked with graphic designers before and feel like that gave you a proper benchmark to judge other graphic designers by, are you truly factoring in all of the elements that went in to that particular project and how they differ from this project?
Possibly the most important factor to consider when setting a ideal deadline for a project is the workflow agreement that you have with your graphic designer. If you want a quick turnaround from a graphic designer, they have to either be your full-time employee, or properly compensated in order for them to prioritize you over their other clients. You can’t pay a fraction of a freelancer’s bills but expect them to be on-call 24/7.
#5 All graphic designers are the same
While it would be ideal for employers/clients to know what they’re going to get when they work with a graphic designer, this is simply an unrealistic expectation. Each graphic designer has a different background, different experiences, different preferences, different design softwares, different rates based on where they live and their body of work, different communication style, different level of confidence and many other differences that make them unique to every other graphic designer in the world.
One graphic designer may be extremely efficient and creative, but introverted. Another graphic designer might be a little more diligent and literal in their designs, but completely comfortable leading a brainstorming call or a client facing meeting. Find the right graphic designer for your particular needs.
#6 Graphic designers are doers and not thinkers
Just like graphic designers are all unique, business owners and managers have different preferences. Some are more involved, while others are more hands-off. If you tend to lean towards the more hands-on type of leader, you prefer to take on the decision making role. You’ll likely provide a detailed scope of work to freelancers, leaving little room for their own creativity and ingenuity to be put on display. However, just because a graphic designer has been placed in a more execution based role, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a deeper understanding of the big picture that surrounds a project. Give graphic designers a chance to provide input in the projects they will be involved to add another perspective and improve the designer’s investment in the project’s success.
#7 Graphic designers are rich
Many digital jobs, especially technical roles like graphic design are modern and cutting-edge. The increased focus on and production of digital content is very of-the-moment. This leads people to believe that all graphic designers make a great income and that there’s plenty of work to go around.
The reality is that it varies (drastically). In a digital profession, you quickly find that there is an entire world of competition (literally). Within minutes, employers can connect with seriously talented and accomplished designers in every country in the world. This may require young and budding graphic designers to pay their dues for quite some time in order to build a portfolio that can sway bigger clients.
#8 Designers only have one style of design
If it isn’t in their portfolio, then they probably can’t do it. This mindset is a quick way to lose out on top talent. Rather than looking for designers with specific experience, look at the quality of work that a designer has put together. Odds are, if a designer consistently puts forth amazing designs that truly capture what their clients were looking for, they are going to be the type of professional to work diligently to fulfill the needs of a project, regardless of how familiar they are with a given concept or style of design.
Don’t allow yourself to give in to the human tendency to place people into boxes to achieve understanding. Dig deeper and get to know the individual and their particular (and unique) set of skills that they can bring to a design project or team.