Thursday, February 18, 2010

A typical conversation:

Them: So, you are a that like, you work with computers and stuff?
Me: Well I do, but it’s just a small fraction of it, a computer is just a tool..
Them: Year, right, so, what is it that you do? A Designer of what?
Me: Well, what you see around you, posters billboards, books, signage, packages..websites (on rare occasions)
Them: Ah ! So you are a webdesigner!
Me: Well not so much, I dabble on occasion but..
Them: Hey, you know what, my daughter needs a logo for her band, I still have a few minutes before I have to head back, can you make one for her before I leave?
Me: Well, see now, designing a logo takes a lot of effort, and it’s not just a mark, what we do is create identity systems..
Them: Don’t be ridiculous, I see logos every day, they are tiny things, you can make a dozen in five minutes. I’d do it myself, but I can’t draw, tell you what, just draw me a picture and I’ll put in the text and everything, My cousin showed me how to do shadows and other cool things in Photoshop!
Me: Identity design is probably the most difficult discipline within the field of graphic design, it requires one to sift through countless concepts to arrive at a finished, concise form that embodies a whole score of ideas, is unique, and pleasing to the eye. You have to appeal to the target, and after all, a logo is just a tip of the iceberg. A logo by itself is just a mark, what makes it magic, is an expansive and detailed identity system, that establishes a particular style to all areas of visual communication, from architecture to the color of your toilet paper.
Them: Well, that’s just a load of corporate nonsense isn’t it? It’s just a way for you guys to raise your price. All I need is a simple little logo. I don’t even mind if it only has two colors, and I can add the shadow myself. I was going to order it from one of those online logo places, but they are charging $50! Isn’t that ridiculous? 50 bucks for a tiny picture. Who’d ever pay that? If you want payment, I can give you this gift certificate for $35 at Quick-E-Mart. How about that?

And then you accept their commission, because they are distant friends of your relatives and you can’t say no, or for that matter, ask for a fair price:

Me: Here are three directions that we can take to develop your identity.
Them: Oou! It looks pretty good, but I don’t like the green.
Me: The green is there to blah-blah-blah... but it doesn’t matter. What we have to decide, is which of the three do we pick and work on further.
Them: Oh, I think the left one is the best of the bunch, but I thought about it some more this past week, and I think we should have strawberries. I’ve asked my friends and my partner, they all agree, that strawberries are a good positive image.
Me: Eh?
Them: And here is a font that I fond on the web, it’s modern and forward-looking.
Me: But..
Them: So, if you could just take that design on the left, put a strawberry on top, and write the text in ZZ_Type_Kool, we’ll be golden.
Me: Hang on a minute... /Writes up a 2-page essay explaining the value of quality design, the difference between kitsch and avantgard, the meaning of professionalism and the role of a designer as conceptual communicator./
Them: /After skipping through to the least sentence in the essay/ Stop being difficult! I am paying you money, and should be entitled to get what I ask. I even found you the font (ZZ_Type_Kool) so you don’t even have to search for one. My insurance company needs a pink strawberry on top of a shining golden spear, and I expect to get it. If $100 I paid is not enough, I can add 20 more for your troubles.
Me: So why do you even need a designer?
Them: I can’t draw strawberries. Look, I’ve worked with other designers before, and it was always very easy, I tell them what I want, they do it and get paid. See what they did for me? /shows a juggernaut of piss and glitter/
Me: But that’s horrible!
Them: All designers say that about the work of all other designers! And it only cost me $50.