There is a perception or as I prefer to think of it, a misconception that graphic designers have only an innate artistic talent and that our job has little to do with intellect. However, this is not the case; a truly brilliant graphic designer will be an intelligent thinker armed with a suite of other skills.
So why should we, as designers, find this misconception offensive and strive to correct how the public perceives us? Here are my top 3 reasons:
- It undersells what we do and validates the notion that we design only for fun. It makes design seem less like a service that should be valued, which people ought to pay good money for and more like a hobby we’re indulging in. Design delivers real results to businesses, so the professionals who do the good work should be taken seriously as experts in their trade.
- “My friend has a daughter in year 8 who has Photoshop.” Almost all designers are qualified professionals; bright people who have chosen a profession that constantly provides new opportunities to learn and engage. Being exposed to such an array of work from a wide range of sources gives designers a unique perspective, not only on their own industry, but on the industries of the clients they service.
- It’s just plain insulting. Clients’ expectations are high and most of us working in small (or even large) studios are jacks-of-all-trades. For some of us that means taking on writing, coding, administration or sometimes the mundane task of stuffing envelopes. On a daily basis we stretch the boundaries of our job titles in the name of ensuring the job gets done and done well. Don’t we deserve a little bit of credit for that?
So don’t take it on the nose next time someone belittles you and your chosen profession (accidentally or otherwise). Stand up and proudly spell out what it is that makes us special and why design is the domain of smart people with sharp minds.