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Does Photoshop Make You a Designer?

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by Tony Hardy, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Guest

    Hi everyone,

    Our very own Simon Potter of Unframed Design has guest posted on the Canny Creative blog, and it's a cracker.
    Does Photoshop Make You a Designer?
    People that make a "career" from bad design because they "learned Photoshop" at 16. Have a read. Let me know what you think.

    Also had a reshuffle and reskin of my old website theme.

    What does anyone think?

    Kindest regards,
    Tony
     
    Edward likes this.
  2. balders

    balders Member

    Does Garage Band make you a sound engineer?Does a paint brush make you an artist?Does a camera make you a photographer?everyone has to start from somewhere though. I find it a warming thought that kids out there are learning how to use the tools for a possible trade rather than sniffing glue and getting arrested for abh.Its all about balance, good and bad, you can't have one with out the other. That's life.
     
  3. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Guest

    This is very true. You do have to learn somewhere, but should the learners be selling their services and undercutting professionals?
     
  4. si_p

    si_p Junior Member

    Balders that does make sense, but when I wrote the article I was coming across a lot of teens actively selling services to companies. I just dont see how that can be a good thing?
     
  5. balders

    balders Member

    I guess it happens in most trades and industries. You will get people who offer the same service at a fraction of the true cost. When they realises later on that there kitchen / website / car / brand / carpet / logo has been badly built / repaired and they have to take it to a professional paying the true price, getting what they wanted in the first place.
    You get what you pay for.
    It would be interesting to see how many service selling teens get repeat business.
     
  6. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    you can go to uni and still not be any good at using the software, trust me there were people like that on my course.
    I think the saying a good tradesman never blames their tools applies here more than anything, photoshop is just a tool to be used by a 'designer'. So the question isn't whether photoshop makes you a designer, it's if you can use the tool to create good design.
    Think that makes sense lol
     
  7. balders

    balders Member

    I think I confused my self when I started talking about kitchens and carpet.
    If a university course saddled me with 40k's worth of student loan debt I wouldn't go. So if kids have have to look for alternative methods of teaching then I think thats fair enough. I can see the issues you have with them charging sill money for some crap though.
    Just for information, currently 439 people are downloading one copy of photoshop from TPB and 6374 are seeding.
    Its going to get a lot worse
     
  8. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    I don't think the discussion is about young people doing or not doing something with themselves, or even about university. I think it's simply about people claiming to be something they aren't. I have seen reputable local companies offer website design, usually printers, and their work is horrendous; the designs are crap and the code is out-dated. This is coming from a professional business with a physical shop-front, staff, everything that a 16 year old who just got Photoshop doesn't have - and yet I've seen better work from 16 year olds.
    It's about people who are willing to take short cuts, who are willing to jeopardise their clients businesses or organisations and give the industry a bad reputation by providing shoddy services. There's no problem starting at 14, 16, 20 or even 30. It's about how much time after that, which you put in to learning about your chosen subject, whether that's design or anything else, regardless of if it's at university or on your own.
    It's going to get a lot worse because as time progresses technical jobs get easier with the advancement of technology and society. These days you can have a website running in about 5 minutes with these low quality, free web builders. You couldn't do that when I was 16. How much content is there available now from websites; free patterns, designs, templates, this and that. Again, none of that was available to me when I started.
    More importantly the problem not only lies with inexperienced and unqualified (regardless of age) self proclaimed professionals, but with companies that don't apply due diligence to their purchasing decisions. If you're happy to pay £20 for a logo from someone who you have found after a quick Google search, haven't vetted their credibility or made any effort to determine whether or not they are capable of what they claim, then expect to get burned sooner or later. People, generally speaking, choose the least difficult and least complicated path when faced with a decision. You've got to expect that people are going to do the same when it comes to making money.
    A lot of people see this is a bad thing though, that there are so many people out there offering bogus services without any real knowledge on the subject. I see this as an opportunity for those who know how to promote their services and run their business properly to differentiate, with proof, their own services from people less qualified. Let's not forget that as many people as there are providing low quality services, there are just as many, if not more people/companies out there looking to provide low quality jobs.
    Let them take the crap jobs which we don't want to do. I am very happy to let them baby sit the clients who don't understand the difference between vector and raster, don't want to know the difference but do want to demand to know why you made the 200x200 image, they supplied, low quality when they stretched it to 500x654. Let them charge £5 an hour for what is essentially a job worth £20 an hour and another £20 an hour for educating and putting up with unreasonable clients.
    I'd much rather spend my time working with professional companies who understand that time is a requirement of good design and that it is not something to rushed and understand that the designer knows more about design than they do :)
     
  9. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Guest

    I guess that's what it comes down too. It's fairly irritating on Twitter when logo "designers" are smashing them out for a £10er a bit. Really, what are you getting for that sort of money?

    But then again, like you say, they're not the clients you want anyway!
     
  10. haha the whole idea of "using Instagram makes you a photographer" came to my mind the haha!
    The point of design has always for me been to inspire, capture and create an interest.....you do that through color, imagery and talent!
    did manage to slam a revolving door today though.......that makes me chuck norris!
     
    Edward likes this.
  11. Edward

    Edward New Member

    This is a tough question, the same bullsh** is happening in the Film and Music industries too, everyone who has managed to berk off some free software thinks they're ready to go into business.
    I was discussing the chicken and egg situation of being a fresh faced young-gun with some pals and we came to the conclusion that in the case of novice designers who need an opportunity to practice and get feedback on their work, a crowdsourcing website actually has something to offer the designer (We might have had too much of the old jacky D at this point). A young designer could potentially get a bit of cash if they win (Slim as their chances may be) and the "clients" on some of those sites give feedback on the design submissions they get.
    So instead of working to a pretend brief at collage they get a real brief and some feedback... Have I lost my mind on this one?
    I'm hoping once the crowdsourcing fad calms down these sites will act as a filter - all the cheap clients who need their hands held will feed their briefs to the crowdsite.co.uk and 99designs.com of the world and the serious clients will look for the professionals.
     
  12. Steven Anthony

    Steven Anthony New Member

    Owning Photoshop does not make you a designer! But what can you do, we all had to start from nothing...
     
  13. dasikins

    dasikins Member

    Very interesting!

    I think from a business standpoint, lots of small or new companies have minimal capital. They start by hiring a design student, for a fraction of the cost. The new venture probably is not at a point to hire otherwise.

    They might not get the 'best of the best' per say, but as as a starting point it makes business sense. Lots of accomplished companies started by hiring students to program or design and later became a medium sized corporation. Businesses will always go where the money is. As they grow they will see the return on a good brand and marketing.

    For the record, I don't think learning photoshop makes a designer in any sense of the word. It makes them someone who can use a tool. A designer needs to understand balance, rhythm, unity, ect. How they learn it, in my opinion, is secondary.
    Just curious on what you guys think:
    Does going to design school make that individual a designer? Can a person become a designer learning outside of school? What even makes a good designer?
    As an outsider to the industry, it seems as though it's a rather subjective stance. I have seen the work of what the media will call 'great designers' but they didn't get a degree in GD. Likewise I have seen some very poor design by individuals attending an accredited school. Its confounding for me.
    Love this topic and thanks to anyone who can provide some insight!
     
  14. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    As long as you learn, I don't think it matters whether that's on your own or through some kind of formal education. I just think that the majority of people aren't interested or passionate enough about their chosen career path, or have the determination to study something independently. There are plenty of other factors involved, I'm sure. But there is so much freely available information out there on the internet and so many people in communities willing to help out that I really think it's a highly viable option to learn on your own, or outside of formal education. Especially considering how fast technology, trends, techniques and software evolves, compared to that of your typical educational institute.
    I think a good designer is someone who can take a brief and create an excellent piece of work around it, without deviating. The only issue lies within the semantics of the phrase designer. Is this someone sitting in an office working for a company or someone who has to source their own work, extract information from clients to build their own briefs and deal with every other part of the business? I think we're moving away from organisational structures whereby everyone has a single set of skills and instead, towards a more diverse workforce where people are responsible for more than one area of the business. What's the difference between a large company consisting of 20 employees, each with their own specialisation, and a studio consisting of 5 multi-skilled employees? One can provide the same service at a fraction of the cost. Perhaps I'm going off at a tangent here, but I do believe there is a change in what's expected of someone who might, for instance, be considered and labelled as a graphic designer.
    Regarding quality of work, I think you get this in any industry. There's obviously a magic formula to getting people to perform at their best, which is much more difficult to achieve than having a group of people people who don't understand their job properly, lack the skills or knowledge or simply don't want to perform highly. When it comes to design, however, there is definitely a case to be made against employers in this situation. Often a project can start with the most inspirational of foundations, only to have it turn into something that is more comparable to a strange concoction of tempered outrage, frustration and eventually accepted apathy. Put simply, you can have a great project, and then the client will go and ruin it by telling you how to do your damn job, because they think they know better. Working in corporate environments (I imagine those uni graduates are more likely going to be working in such a scene, as opposed to others who might start out with more humble beginnings) I imagine that probably happens quite a lot and might explain why you see so much crap! Well, either that or they are someone who's sees their work as a way to pay the bills and not to entice their passions and interests.
    I do hope you were being sincere about loving this topic, because I seem to have rambled on for quite some time!
     
  15. dasikins

    dasikins Member

    Yes I really do find graphic design a prodigious talent and interested in a response. So no fear Squid, I appreciate your response.

    It was very eye opening to hear
    I guess even in design fields we are all working for the man ;) That has been my experience too working in corporate. Corporate ssshmorporat.

    Thanks for the detailed respond as it's greatly appreciated!
     
  16. Steven Anthony

    Steven Anthony New Member

    I would also like to point out that I agree with those previous statements made about working for the man because I have for sure had those same experiences with clients!
    And sometimes it is your job to tell them they are wrong because we see the world differently as Graphic Designers!
     
    dasikins likes this.
  17. JamesRobinson

    JamesRobinson New Member

    I really liked reading this topic. I do enjoy a bit of controversy!

    This reminds me of when I was at college 2 years ago doing my Diploma in graphic design. Anyway there was this kid there who thought he was a bit of a big shot, said his dad was a designer who owned his own company etc. (Baring in mind I also joined my course a bit later since I had a change of heart from sports science) So I was 19, a lot of them were 15-16. This kid had a business card with, I quote “creative director” on it.
    Anyway to cut a long story short, his dad just owned a small printing business, and after looking at the apparent ‘design work’ they produced it was pretty awful.
    Now how do I feel about ‘should the learners be selling their services and undercutting professionals?’
    Well I am a learner still. Heading into my 2[sup]nd[/sup] year on a BA which I’m getting extremely rip off with by the way, but would I design for a small company or business, or charge for a logo? No I wouldn’t. It does annoy me that people maybe 16 years old or so are designing for companies using cracked software and producing complete twaddle, but isn’t that was separates the professionals from the amateurs?
    On a slightly linked topic, it also annoys me when I see students or the ‘learners’ branding themselves as designers with what I call ‘writing my name in Helvetica light’.
    Every cloud however has its silver lining, and although it does annoy me a little that there are what I call ‘false designers’ out there, a lot of the new ideas and fresh styles do come from the newly educated. Whenever I research for a uni brief I always look at other students work first. There’s only so much you can learn from looking at famous and the big shot designers.
     
    The Simulator likes this.
  18. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    You could also argue that because students are lumped with such massive debts, they are almost encouraged to go and seek as much money as they can get in the shortest time possible.
     
  19. The Simulator

    The Simulator Active Member

    I don't have anything against students selling their services.
    There is always going to be a market out there who don't want to pay professional rates and students can provide for them.
    I've always sold my services since I started designing things, it was just a lot cheaper.
    People just need educating in the value of good design, and the impact it can have on a business, there will always be people who are willing to pay for a professional (otherwise none of us would have a job). It's just becoming slightly harder to find the latter.
     
  20. dasikins

    dasikins Member

    Yes especially if you work for yourself! My goodness, I would never hire a landscaper to do my yard and then tell them what looks best. When I hire someone for my logo eventually, as a business owner, it would not make financial sense to override the professional's advice.
     

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