We have said in the past that in some ways everyone has a design eye. And we stand by this. That’s not a brand designer though. It’s true that most people get up in the morning and put their outfit together, juxtaposing colours, materials and textures to give the aesthetic they want to achieve. They decorate their house, apartment, desk, creating an image they want the people they meet to see. It could be about showing strength or about looking contemporary or even traditional. Everything an individual does in terms of ‘design’ is done to create an impression.
A designer is much more aware of how and why elements fit and work together
However, there is a difference between a design eye and being a designer. Although most people will consciously strive to give a certain impression, it’s more through trial and error than through design. I’d say that a design eye in broad terms is not really a conscious state, it’s how the everyday eye perceives the world. Decisions are made in a split second, more or less on a mixture of how you feel at that moment and what your experiences and aspirations are. The decisions are informed by the world around you and by gut instinct.
A trained designer is a much more aware of how and why elements fit together. There is a more ‘thinking’ behind the decisions. There is experience involved in the specific area of design they are involved in, whether it is how materials will react to an environment or how colours will reproduce on a surface. Designers are more conscious of the restrictions and of the outcomes.
Brand designers and designers in general are a bit different…
All the best design studios are full of people that rarely seem to be at their desks (especially in daylight hours). You see those studios with soft seating areas full of designers chatting or thinking. Getting ideas at odd times in the early morning (sometimes because we are still working).
Designers answer questions about typography animatedly, they spend time looking at the odd packaging in the ‘foreign food’ isle or talk about the latest add from the next big thing. We get inspiration from books, patterns, our kids, the news – basically anywhere. It’s a way of life, but it’s not a way of life that is predictable. It isn’t like a tap, it can’t just be turned on or off. There are times when the first idea is the best and other times the best idea comes two hours before the presentation 2 weeks into the project.
So with all this in mind, it’s not surprising that design can be seen as a lot of fun, something that everyone would want to take a bash at. Especially as the work that can look effortless is sometimes greeted with the thoughts of… ‘that looks like it was entirely without effort’ or ‘I think I could have done that’. How can something that look so right, but at the same time only consist of a few lines take so long?
So how do you put a value on a design work?
Putting a value on design is much the same as any other industry; you look at a brand designers experience (a designer with greater experience will be able to see pitfalls before they happen, they’ll understand print, they’ll self-police their ideas, know how or where to find that illusive inspiration etc), you take the businesses overheads, the costs that are always there, look at the competition, ensure there is profit, take the fact that they may not always be busy, holidays etc and turn all that into an hourly rate.
Then every job is estimated on that basis. Again, this is done with experience, knowing how long a project will take.
But taking all this into consideration can take an hourly rate for a designer to £50.00 or more and a project could take days. However, that is the average hourly rate of a plumber in the UK (sometimes even without the call out charge!). It’s below the average rate at a garage for labour costs (at around £71.00 per hour, but as much as £230.00) and way below a solicitor (that charges for every single piece of correspondence) at no less that £150.00 per hour.
So when you see an online offer to design your logo for £50, how would this be both profitable for the designer and of value for the client? It would be surprising if any more than a couple of hours was spent on its creation. And though it could be a tenth of the cost from an agency would it fill you with confidence in the solution?
Would it make you feel that the ‘right’ amount of time was being spent on your branding, branding that could be the difference between enticing a prospective customer to you or make them walk on by? Would it create a memorable brand for your prospective clients to remember?
So although everyone has some sort of design eye, (in most cases) only a reputable designer will bring you the goods time after time. They should deliver great design, which will help your business grow (as long as you have a good product the figures back this up). Great design comes from experience, it comes from knowledge and it does come at a price. People appreciate quality and will pay for it.
With over 30 years of commercial experience Puur can help with all of your graphic design, branding or advertising needs. We specialise in unique and ownable identity development, borne from experience and driven by knowledge. We ensure that all the work we do objectively answers your business needs. Give us a call today for a chat about how we can help.