Soaps and sitcoms have the vast majority of the globe believing that creative professionals live a life of caffeine-fuelled luxury. The general misconception seems to be that every designer’s life is filled to the brim with promising opportunities from companies who offer their artistic lackeys hundreds of well-priced jobs, interspersed with gleeful meetings at 5-star gastropubs and foosball games with a gaggle of buxom secretaries.
This, needless to say, is not the case.
Our office looks nothing like this...
Any job in the creative industry is time consuming. For most of us this isn’t a hobby-turned-cash-cow, it’s our livelihood. Whether it’s a logo design, product review, website design, or academic article, the amount of research and planning involved is steeper than most people realize. There is a certain amount of psychology behind each new project.
A creative's job is to find meaning in each facet of the project before them. Color symbolism, image psychology, connotative and denotative language, product history, keyword research, linguistic analysis…these are topics that most creatives encounter on a daily basis. It isn’t simply a case of doodling on Photoshop and hoping for the best, or speed-typing each new thought as it flits through their brains – their work is a delicate amalgam of imagination and research.
The psychology of design really does exist
The Myth of the “Quick Fix” or “Tweak”
When clients ask their designers for a “simple” change on a website or proof, they seem to labor under the misapprehension that there is absolutely no fuss involved. One sentence they hear all too often is, “It’s just a small change, it shouldn’t take you too long.” Wrong.
Creatives see themselves as artistic artisans. It is physically impossible for them to “quickly whip up” anything. They can’t half-do a job. They either do it properly or not at all. Each seemingly small change requested sets off a domino effect of other changes. It’s a simple fact. There are measurements involved - true graphic designers don’t just drag and drop.
The source of the "quick fix"
The same applies to writers. If a change is requested, the client should be prepared for that one single change to set off a ripple effect of proof reading and editing. Changing one simple word has an effect on the meaning of a sentence in its entirety. It’s all about consistency.
Try Arguing with a Doctor
As members of the artistic community, an artist’s intelligence is often misjudged. Here’s the thing: they have spent years studying their respective crafts. Furthermore, they have probably spent years dealing with clients who assume that they are floundering in the shallow end of the intellect pool. This needs to change.
Graphic designers deal with a flood of changes and suggestions from disgruntled clients because, and this is the kicker, everyone seems to think they’re a designer too. Writers are flooded with editing requests and even when they diplomatically explain the nuances of grammar and spelling, clients blow a fuse. No matter how much convincing they try to do, there is always a handful of clients that thinks their Bachelor’s Distinction in Linguistics or your 30 years of design experience aren’t worth diddly squat.
University - We've been here too!
Does anyone argue with their doctor’s expert diagnosis? Has anyone ever told their mechanic that they can’t afford this month’s vehicle maintenance and still expected him to do the work? If the answer to these questions is a resounding “no”, it may be necessary to ask oneself why creative professionals deserve so little consideration.
They Need to Make a Living
Designers and writers have rent to pay, groceries to buy, and families to take care of. Working as freelancers is a huge risk. What makes it worse, is knowing that huge design agencies charge infinitely more whilst caring infinitely less. Professional freelancers and small design studios take care of their clients, giving them the attention they deserve, and somehow are still pariahs in the business world.