10 Graphic Design Urban Myths

Graphic Design is not as shrouded in mystery as one might think. Over the years at Product Agency we’ve heard all sorts of weird and wonderful things about graphic design. It seems after some discussion in the office and a quick browse on the Internet that we’re not the only bunch of graphic designers out there who have been oddly typecast.graphic design

We wanted to bust some of the major myths so we decided to list our top 10 graphic design urban myths and shed light on what the graphic design world is really like.

And for the record: We don’t
all wear trainers and black rimmed glasses but we do like coffee, Macs and Helvetica.


10 Graphic Design Urban Myths


1. ANYONE CAN DO GRAPHIC DESIGN
This is our absolute favourite. Just because you own a copy of Photoshop doesn’t make you a graphic designer. It’s a lifestyle. We live and breathe art and design. We’re up-to-date with the latest design trends and technology. We study and research before presenting any design proposals to clients. The main ingredient we’ve found in a real graphic designer is the ability to inspire other people through their designs.

2. ALL YOU NEED IS A MAC
“Everything is done on the Mac these days”. Ummmm…. sort of. A lot good graphic design ideas start in our heads and often by sketching those new ideas on paper first. Product’s logo design process, for example starts by researching our own design books in our in house library, then sketching on paper and finally onto the Mac.

3. REAL GRAPHIC DESIGNERS ARE NATURAL BORN CREATIVES
There is no such thing as a natural born creative. Humans develop their creative potential normally during their formative years and then study graphic design or at least art. You learn from each situation and you learn how to express it visually. Creative people have a desire to be creative and they dedicate most of their life learning how to express themselves.

4. FIXING A DESIGN IS AS FAST AS A FLICK OF THE WRIST
This really comes down to educating our clients appropriately. We do this by asking questions, setting ground rules, and sometimes letting clients know what the result will be when a design is rushed. Good design never comes from rushed work. Asking a graphic designer to do a design or fix a design in just a matter of hours is a fallacy. Good graphic design is carefully planned and researched before any project starts. Like any industry, we simultaneously think about the process and the method while answering the phone, emails, and other day-to-day tasks. We live for the end result and nothing good comes from rushing any graphic design project.

5. TOTAL REIGN OVER THE DESIGN
No client gives us total reign. Why would we want it? Good clients have 2 things money and expectations. It’s pretty simple; clients pay money to have us fulfil their expectations in a specified timeframe. Having total reign for us is not attractive, because it usually ends with an unhappy client. Good design in combination with rules and guidelines create challenges, or as we call them, opportunities.

6. EDUCATION STOPS AFTER GRADUATION
The most important lessons we’ve learned have been after formal education and while our doors have been opened for business. Industry tools such as Adobe’s Creative Suite change almost every 2 years and new standards are always being researched such as CSS3 and HTML 5. Quite frankly, most of the formal education we’ve received is quite useless in the real world. Trends change yearly. I can’t see how any designer could survive without proactive, independent training outside the classroom.

7. THE CLIENT IS ALWAYS RIGHT
To a point. Regardless of industry, people think that clients are always in total control of the output just because graphic designers are paid to do their demands. Many make use of styles and techniques to create a design and apply what we have learned in school, books, seminars, and hours of research in order to make a good and effective design in each project. Clients are paying for the professionalism and expertise expecting a superior product. What we’ve found out is that our clients aren’t really trying to get us to do their bidding; they want an end result that increases revenue. As long as we set ground rules and expectations beforehand, the process is quite enjoyable.

8. GRAPHIC DESIGNERS KNOW EVERYTHING (OR SHOULD)
Having the ability to read minds sounds great, but unfortunately such skill does not exist (sorry client). As graphic designers, we love to hear what people wanted for their design, but there are those who give out completely vague and sometimes indecipherable instructions on scraps of paper or half thought through emails. The design process would be easier and less painful for everyone if clear objectives were given. And to be fair, graphic designers need to learn how to ask better questions!

9. I CAN SAVE MONEY IF I DO IT MYSELF
Actually, you don’t. It might seem that way, but when you add up all the hours you spent tirelessly trying to make that flyer or brochure, you’re way over budget. Chances are you’re not a Photoshop pro, so you’re designing in Microsoft Word or worse, Microsoft Publisher. Yikes! By the time it takes you to find out how to apply that drop shadow or colour correcting an image, you’re 3-5 hours deep in your “do-it-yourself” extravaganza. Graphic designers eliminate the risk of bad prints and reduce the turn-around time for marketing pieces… all while you are doing what you’re actually good at…running your business. Something to think about: If you don’t have money to pay a professional graphic designer to design your marketing piece, I think you have a bigger problem.

10. GRAPHIC DESIGN IS EASY
The biggest misconception about being a graphic designer is that it is easy to be one. Just because we sit in front of the computer most of the time, people have thought that designing is easy and less stressful. But in reality, graphic design is just the same as other jobs that require experience, knowledge, and dedication. For example, we do many hours of research, trend watching, and forum contributing that allows us to stay sharp in industry standards. If you’re wondering why your business cards don’t look as good as ABC Company’s, it’s probably because they hired someone to professionally design them.


Milton Glaser

“There are three responses to a piece of design; yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.”

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More from Milton?

I love New YorkWe hope you enjoyed reading this post? If your coffee is still hot but you’re gasping for more info on graphic design, then have a look at Milton Glaser’s website. Milton Glaser (b.1929) is among the most celebrated graphic designers in the United States and revered as being one of history’s biggest influences on graphic design.


10 Graphic Design Urban Myths

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