Busting graphic designer myths

Thick-framed glasses, flannel shirt and a cup of pour-over coffee: That’s the stereotypical look of the mythical graphic designer. But like all mythical creatures, the aura surrounding graphic designers is rooted in both fantasy and reality. Understanding them will help you work more seamlessly with a designer or agency.

Graphic Designer Myth 1: Designers are the “jacks of all trades” of the art world

It’s funny how often people ask, “Oh you’re a graphic designer, can you paint me a [insert elaborate masterpiece].” The truth of the matter is every designer is good at many things, but each specializes in a few things. While one may be a wizard of illustration, another might be a master of photography or typography. That doesn’t mean an illustrator can pick up a camera and produce the same quality photograph another designer can.

Simply put, any good designer should be able to provide you with an excellent layout or logo, but being aware of their particular expertise will help you meet and exceed your expectations. So, it’s important to hire people who specialize in the kind of work that you need.

Graphic Designer Myth 2: “Just make it pop” is the priority

Yes, graphic designers make things pretty. But that doesn’t cover our entire job description. One of the most important things a graphic designer can do is make their design appeal to the audience, get a message across and make a product easy to use.

If a designer creates a stunning app, but the user can’t easily navigate the interface, then the design has failed. A good design that is inoperable is bad design.

When working with a designer or agency, it’s helpful to remember that you’re getting more than just attractive work. You’re receiving expertise on human behavior from someone who is making decisions based on the needs of your customers.

Graphic Designer Myth 3: You can get great design for cheap

With such a wide assortment of online design resources, it’s easy to see why there is an assumption that good design can be created for little money. A logo for five dollars seems too good to be true  — and it is.

When someone purchases a logo for $5, they miss out on some of the most integral parts of the design process and personalization that will help push their brand to the next level. The $5 “designer” on the other end of the computer screen isn’t taking the time to know your audience or your business needs, they are simply cranking out a design that’s sufficient to get the job done quickly.

When you pay more, you get more — more expertise, more technique, and more attention. If you’re using an agency, then you get a whole team working together with multiple backgrounds and skills to help you reach your goals. In the end, good design is good business. And good design isn’t cheap.

Graphic Designer Myth 4: It’s not stealing if you have a designer copy another’s work

This happens all the time — someone finds a cool design on Google Images or Pinterest, takes it to a designer or agency, and asks for an exact recreation. Even though the request comes from a  good place, it’s still stealing.

This doesn’t mean clients can’t provide designers with ideas and designs they like. Using inspiration as a guide for what the client is looking for is a valuable part of the creative process. This ensures the client can get an original piece of art that is tailored to their interests.

Graphic Designer Myth 5: Design is easy

There is a common misconception that if someone owns design software, like Adobe Creative Suite, that automatically makes them a designer. In reality, being a designer is a lifelong dedication to learning and observing. Simply knowing how to use software is really a small part of the job.

As a client, it’s helpful to understand that a list of design changes is not as simple as a few clicks of the mouse. Design changes take time. Knowing this upfront will help set expectations before the design process ever begins. Designers will have meaningful feedback to help guide you on whether or not the requested changes should be made. This feedback comes from experience and knowledge of your audience and market.

Designers are great tools to have in your arsenal. To set yourself up for a successful relationship with them, get to know their specialties, and remember that a designer is pouring their experience, expertise and skill into doing great work for your brand.