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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 Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone,

    Had my first guest post 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 (it's a stop-gap until I have time to code one up myself).

    What does anyone think?

    Kindest regards,
    Tony
     
    whatisee likes this.
  2. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Oooo this sounds very interesting I must remember to give it a proper read tomorrow. From my quick skim read, it is not just the annoyance of students claiming to be graphic designers but generally anyone of any age with a bloody computer too! I shit you not, I have seen someone claim to be able to "do graphic design" after she 'created' an 'advert' for herself in MS Word!!! I was speechless.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Yes great read mate, I wasn't actually aware kids were actually getting paid claiming to be graphic designers, surely they must just be getting paid pocket money, as oppose to a proper wage? If they are then good luck to them. I think the problem is with the people going to them to do a job in the first place and not recognising the men from the boys (excuse the pun), in terms of the quality of design they are paying for. I think crowd sourcing is a much bigger issue, as it becomes more popular, the problem grows. It's a sad to think that times are so desperate that some real designers actually go for these 'competitions,' knowing full well they are more than likely working for free. Even if they produced the best and most professional work, there's no guarantee they are going to win, as the people running it are usual uneducated when is comes to good design and don't really know what they're looking for, or what will have a bigger and more positive impact on their company.

    As if times aren't hard enough as they are, now we have to put up with an increasing number of crowd sourcing sites.
     
  4. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    You're clearly not a Twitter user are you? ;) It's rife on there. Also, some internet troll just commented on this post saying "huhhhuhuhuh - but your work isn't all that great"...fun times.
     
  5. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Haha No i'm not, I quit Facebook last year and I never joined Twitter.
     
  6. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I'm going to be a little controversial here Tony and say that I actually found the post to just be snide and full of snobbery. I get the point Simon's making, but it feels like a soapbox rant, for example "How can someone at this age claim to call themselves a designer?"

    Whilst I obviously agree that crowdsourcing sites and ease of access to industry standard software are impacting our industry in a negative way, I welcome young creative talent showing an entrepreneurial streak, especially if it inspires them to get off their arse and make something of their lives, rather than just leeching off the system because they're in that massive majority that can't find employment after education.

    Let's not forget that thanks to our wonderful government, many young people feel they can no longer afford higher education, and sadly are unable to attend a course that will teach them the "correct" way to design, despite having a passion or talent for visual arts. There's people on my course now who I suspect will never make it into the design industry, simply because they lack the drive and ambition to go after it, which these "young gun designers" do.

    The clients they attract are not the sought of clients that a professional designer or agency would want anyway, so it's really no big loss for the industry.
     
  7. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    ^ Pretty much covers it; people with sufficient acumen to turn a basic knowledge of Photoshop into pin money from pizza menus are no trouble to me so fair play to them - and if they're getting paid for creating designs then they're self-evidently designers. It's stating the obvious to suggest that technical know-how and ownership of the right kit is no substitute for creativity/originality but then not all design requires the latter in big quantities; if it pisses you off that the kind of job you think is (in all probability) beneath you isn't executed to your own standards you need to have a serious think about your place in the world rather than berating others for sending someone away happy enough with the job they've done to take the artwork to print.

    Knowing how to put a film together doesn't make you Truffaut or Hitchcock but you can still earn a buck from the same basic job even if your entire career goes straight to video. There's room for everyone.
     
  8. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    I think controversy and discussion is half the fun in blog posts, otherwise there'd be no point in them! :) If we all just posted up stuff for everyone to nod and approve at, the internet would be dull at times! So, no problems there.

    I agree that young talented people should absolutely be encouraged too and expand their skills. However, what I don't agree with, is young kids that basically only know Photoshop and nothing else about design (is Photoshop about design, or is it just a tool?) to turn a profit.

    I believe in entrepreneurship, but surely some of the "designers" on Facebook and Twitter border on hustling. They're telling people they can design, but really, they can't. If that's the case, my Mam can design, because she knows how to use Microsoft Publisher to make a newsletter.
     
  9. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Why ever not? Someone somewhere is getting what they want (clients with low expectations are generally happy with a lower standard of work) or getting their fingers burned (providing an experience which probably teaches them more about design and the true cost of a decent job than any argument I could put forward). Every profession has its good and bad practitioners and its savvy and non-savvy clients - caveat emptor, innit.

    Here's the thing again: that old subjectivity chestnut... If someone designs something for me and I'm happy enough with the result to write a cheque, who's losing out? Wolf Ollins presumably have some bangin' software and a high level of technical expertise but I'd have been plain angry if they'd sat down to talk me through the 2012 logo with a straight face (and they could have probably knocked it out in Photoshop too).
     
  10. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    I guess that's it. I mean if someone is happy enough with the results being produced by a Photoshop happy hobbyist, then I guess nobody is losing out. But then, you could take the same stance on crowdsourcing. Both are still devaluing the industry. But, I guess you get what you pay for.

    And, that's a funny point about clients learning about the true cost of a design job. Never thought about it like that!
     
  11. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    That 2012 logo *shivers*. It took me a while to finally understand that logo and when I did get the concept I despised it even more than I did before. That probably was a photoshop job haha.

    But yeah kids can do much worst things to earn money so as I said before, good luck to them. I wish I was confident enough as a youngster to do what they're doing. Smart if you ask me. There are some youngsters on the Internet on YouTube all day who basically get paid to play computer games so they haven't even bothered going to college, their education stopped at school. Getting paid to play computer games is a lot worst if you ask me and pretty sad to think about it.
     
  12. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Don't agree: crowdsourcing is something to get cross about because it unfairly favours the design client at the expense of the designer - the client wants, gets and pays a knock-down price for one piece of work whereas multiple designers are putting in the hours on a punt, often out of economic necessity, other times because they're suckers, pocket money enthusiasts or people who lack the ability to source their own clients (another point to the Photoshoppers); basically, an inequitable relationship is set up by the people who organise crowdsourcing sites (the real villains, in my view) where the client holds all of the kings and aces and everyone else is obliged to place their cards face up.
     
  13. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    But then, by young Photoshoppers selling off their "logo designs" on Twitter for £10, they're devaluing the industry in the same way that people entering "design contests" and crowdsourcing sites are? Practically giving away their work for nothing. Again, all works out in the clients favour.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  14. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    They may be selling themselves cheap (which is entirely appropriate if accounts of the standard of work are accurate) but 'devaluing the industry' is a bit histrionic. I wouldn't dream of producing a logo for such a small amount but even a tenner is about an hour and a half's worth of minimum wage so it's probably not too wide of the mark for what they do/how well they do it. At the very least they're setting their own prices and attracting their own business: that's not devaluing the industry -it's just operating at the bottom end. If anything devalues what we do, it's clients (i.e. people outside of the industry) deciding the (usually derisory and non-negotiable) monetary value of a good logo and feeding the work out to the crowd in certain knowledge that there are plenty of people who - for whatever reason - feel they have to play that particular game.
     
  15. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    On what level is somebody saying "don't pay £200-£500 for a logo design, I'll do it for a £10er" not devaluing the industry?

    I understand what you're saying. I think this debate could go on and on forever with different levels of designers, working for different clients all having different views on the situation.

    But surely, getting Photoshop, is a bit like me getting a trowel, and suddenly selling my services as a builder? No?
     
  16. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Welcome to wild ride that is the consumer-led free market economy (wasn't my idea but looks like we're stuck with it) - Destination: Poundland.

    Ask yourself a few questions: would those people who are currently buying fifth-rate logos at £10 still be in the market for a logo if they had to increase their budget by a factor of 50 (or 20 for that matter)? Does the fact that the world is brimming with bad design make design a bad thing (this is the digital age remember, where everyone owns a bells-and-whistles laden PC)? Does everyone now think that £10 is the going rate for a logo and that they'll get a great result if they enter into a deal at that level? Should pro designers be concerned that people with a £10 budget aren't phoning them up for an exploratory discussion about their logo? Are the £10-a-time brigade stealing all the good clients?

    There's good and bad in everything (do unattractive people on a low income devalue the human race by getting dates that could go to the rest of us [wink!]?) and low-rent design doesn't impact in me in any way other than as a point of reference which helps make me look good. People with enough savvy know that professional standard services cost money and I'm not evangelical or hungry enough to worry about the rest.

    By the way: the world has plenty of self-proclaimed builders and other tradesmen who have a van full of tools but aren't up to much (as I know to my previously skin-flinty cost) but they appear to be making a living at it and did at least teach me that a decent job commands a fair price.
     
  17. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    I guess you're right. I mean, if nothing else, at least clients are learning that £10 logos aren't worth squat and that good design costs money!
     
  18. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    I've left a little reply. :)
     
    Tony Hardy likes this.
  19. TopiToo

    TopiToo New Member

    If you don't mind me saying this thread has gone full circle to the moaning of designers not being paid their worth.
    Title of the thread was "Does Photoshop make you a Designer" Paul Murray made some valid points. personally I see
    the blog being nothing more than a criticism towards Photoshop users per say, experienced or novices alike clearly
    the answer to the question is NO but this is reflective both ways would you not agree? As to what you claim to be
    with access to the software only you can decide, the ultimate challenge is making a wage, if you believe your years
    at college studying gives you a certain right wake up, what will make you stand out from the next guy is confidence
    in yourself and your ability to produce marketable material. Both Designers and Photoshop users are skilled professionals,
    barring a few the most I have met do it well because they enjoy what they do for a living,
    to some extent is that not so with most true artist.
     
  20. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    I think this statement is where opinions will differ. Someone who has taught themselves photoshop and is offering photoshop based graphic design service may well be skilled but only in the same way as someone who's taught themselves to fly light aircraft and claims to be a fighter pilot. Yes they've learned a skill but that skill alone isn't enough to work to industry standards in their chosen field.
     

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