I’m a bit past my 10-year mark as a professional graphic designer. According to Malcolm Gladwell, that means that I should have just about met the 10,000-hour rule and I should be a “Master” at my profession. But I don’t feel like a master quite yet. Evolving trends and new technology are big parts of the equation, as well as the evolution of the idea that a designer is supposed to be a resource for so much more than just awesome, visually appealing, and most importantly effective design.
In the age we’re in, graphic designers possess and are expected to possess a multitude of skills. Some of these include creating illustrations, copywriting, understanding social media, SEO, and managing DNS—among numerous other abilities. In addition, designers are also experts at visual communication. Often, smaller businesses often don’t consider those portions of a project until a designer enters the equation. For this reason, the designer must be a guide to ensure that the flow of the project continues, in addition to guiding the other previously mentioned aspects.
A Professional Graphic Designer Should Be a Communicator of Accurate Design
The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) defines graphic design as “the planning and projecting of ideas and experiences with visual and textual content.” Basically, we’re tools of communication. Our clients come to us with a message and we communicate that message to the world on their behalf. A professional designer is going to base every choice that they make around whether that choice accurately communicates the correct message or not. Anything beyond that just gets in the way and muddies the waters. That doesn’t mean that design shouldn’t be “fun” or “interesting” or “clever” or “cool. But they should only be those things if your message is those things as well.
Over embellishing or adding un-needed “stuff” to a page can confuse a viewer. Mixing too many trends or techniques desaturates the value of those elements. It’s my job as a designer to choose the correct directions for each specific job and “stay on that path” for the execution of the complete project. Truly great visual designers are masters of restraint as much as they are of any other fundamental requirement of visual design.
An Experienced Graphic Designer is Conscientious and Goal Oriented
Now that I’ve hit my 10-year mark as a designer, I’ve come to realize that a conscious and goal-oriented approach to design really resonates with me. I make it a point that myself and my team strive to make very conscious choices and decisions with every piece of a project. When creating something new, I want to be completely clear on what we’re trying to achieve before I draw my first line. I graduated from art school. But I’m not an artist. Because I’m not leaving anything open for interpretation. I don’t want anyone to interpret what I’ve placed onto a page. I want every viewing to clearly understand exactly what that page is trying to say. Art is subjective, but good design is clear and concise.
Working with a Pro Graphic Designer is a Necessary Choice
They teach Photoshop in high school now. You can get a teenager to retouch images for next to nothing. You can create business cards at an online vendor and order them directly from a site without ever opening design and layout software. A plethora of solutions for building your own website exist online and allow you to build something without having to create custom graphics or write a single line of code. And you can have a $5.00 logo created at a crowdsourcing site in just a few days. But none of those solutions are going to communicate your message. And none of those platforms are going to serve as a resource for merging all of the extra pieces that you need to have a truly successful project.
Your message is yours and your alone. So, your designs should be custom tailored for you and your message. Effective design is more than images on a page. It requires planning, forethought, and experience. An experienced designer is going to be a resource for more than just images on a page; they will help weave together all of the pieces of your business.
If your designer hasn’t asked you to define your goals, then they can’t solve your problem.
If they don’t understand your needs, then your voice might not be the voice you want, in fact, it may not be heard at all. Truly professional graphic designers are jacks of many trades. Their skill sets and guidance are crucial to consciously and accurately convey your business’s voice. These reasons alone are why the importance of professional graphic designers can’t be refuted.
If you are in need of professional design services, we are ready to help you tackle your next project.
I have over 10 years in design and identity development for businesses. I joined Hot Dog Marketing in 2013 as branding specialist focusing on new small business and start ups. I love my beer, my dog Brew, Batman and anything Lego.