As a designer, I’ve encountered a lot of people who don’t fully understand what graphic design is, or who have assumptions of what it is or how the design process works. Design isn’t quite as simple as throwing some shapes together and slapping on some colour – there is a lot of thought and research that goes into the process. I’ve compiled some of the myths that I hear constantly which need to be debunked, so let’s get down to it!
1. Anyone can be a graphic designer.
You might have access to the Adobe Creative Suite and were able to teach yourself how to use some of their programs, but it doesn’t mean you have suddenly become a designer. These programs are simply tools, similar to how owning a drill or hammer doesn’t necessarily make you a handyman. A designer’s knowledge and training when it comes to print production, typography (there’s a whole course JUST for typography), conceptual thinking and their professional experience makes a huge difference in the outcome of a design.
2. The client knows all.
As a client, you know your job and your company better than anyone else, but you may not know what the best means for communicating your message to your market is. A design project should be a collaboration between the designer and the client, with the designer listening to your needs and then providing the best solution. It may be difficult to give up some of that control over the design, but that’s why it’s important to find a designer or agency that you can trust and listen to their justification for their design.
3. Graphic design is just making something pretty.
Many people tend to think that a designer’s job is to just add some colour and cool graphics to make something look appealing. But behind all that there is a thought process that is based off research and strategic reasoning. It begins with understanding everything about your client and their goals, looking at their competitors, analyzing what the target demographic is drawn to, and then moving onto the visual phase which consists of mood boards and preliminary designs.
4. You don’t need to spend much money on graphic design.
This idea that graphic design is not something you should be investing too much money on because it doesn’t matter doesn’t make sense. Graphic design is a visual means of communication to your target market and it reflects on how people perceive your brand. If you think purchasing a $5 logo is a good idea, you should go back and read this blog post that I wrote. Your messaging and brand is what will differentiate you from another company with a similar product, so it’s important to work with a designer or agency that knows what they’re doing and that you trust to do good work.
5. Graphic design is easy.
A simple and clear visual message is the most successful form of graphic design. Due to this, there are many assumptions that because the end product is simple, there was no thought put into it or that this result was quick and easy to do. Paula Scher, a well-known American graphic designer, summarizes it perfectly: “It took me a few seconds to draw it, but it took me 34 years to learn how to draw it in a few seconds.”