February 7, 2021
Before I begin, I am not a believer in the omnipotent power of the educated designer. I have experience. A University degree. And a good eye (I think). However, the latter, subjective perception is by far the most valuable. Take the likes of Chris Do for example; with no formal design education, he is running one of the top branding and strategy education platforms in the world.
The rise of the internet's global network has not only made educational information readily available but also cheap digital labour abundant through sites such as Fiverr - where “a logo” costs you £50. Sites like this are the B’n’M bargains of the design world (possibly why they are so popular) - but in a race to the bottom, nobody comes out on top.
What is lacking is an appreciation and understanding of the value of design (perhaps this is the typical trait of a passionate obsessive trying to convince the world that what they do matters – who knows?). However, in my experience, there are 3 forms in which value is placed on something – Monetary, time investment & sentimentality.
Monetary value is the simplest form - “I have paid this much money for this, that is how much it is worth to me” - Sometimes we get deals, sometimes we get ripped off, but universally, investment value is standard.
Time investment is similar, however, as time is finite, the personal value placed upon it is greater.
Finally, sentimentality is the most complex and rewarding form of value. A personal attachment is developed through a relationship that transcends time and money - priceless.
A simple scenario exploring these value concepts in terms of “Just a logo” might look like:
In this extremely rare scenario that there are no changes from the client (never happens) and they trust that this is the right design because you said so (also, never happens), that's a wrap! Designer has spent no time, made a quick buck and, I mean, the logo looks like a logo. finished, right? So where is the value?
The Designer: Doesn’t value the design because they couldn’t rightfully invest more time into it, it’s pretty basic, didn’t explore many concepts, grab the money and run.
The Client: Spent £50. A pretty cheap Friday night, kerching! If they don’t like it next month, they can pay some other sap to change it.
Neither party has any attachment to the work, neither comes out particularly “scathed” by the experience but there is no feeling of satisfaction. And really, if you’re not looking to get satisfaction out of your interactions, what are you paying for?
Sadly, there is a common preconception that design is a sprinkling of artistic flair that can spaff out a logo in a couple of hours. And, while in some cases (such as the one above) this is undoubtedly true; “the right logo” is a journey, and design is a process. Value is placed on a shared appreciation of time and money to create the sentimentality for both parties.
“Just a logo” is equivocal to telling a sportsman “It’s just a game” – if you’re passionate about it, if you want to win, it is so much more. Build a team with values and play with people who respect the game. The victory will feel so much sweeter.