Yesterday, I was asked by my friend to give my opinion on an article about the creative process or “The 7 Stages of Creativity”. To summarize: (1)ask questions, (2)research, (3)process and relate research to questions, (4)detach yourself from the problem, look at it in a different way, (5)when you have that ‘eureka moment’, write it down or draw it, (6)once the idea is there, ‘bring it to being’, and (7)test and criticize for feedback.
While reading, I could not help but remember my college days, working on my thesis and the fact that the design process is often underestimated by many. So what did I write as my opinion to the article? Here it is:
In the world of branding and marketing, these steps are carefully followed by graphic artists/designers who focus on this field (branding, logo designing, etc). When a company asks a graphic designer to create a logo and brand strategy, they think that the designer only needs to know what the company is all about. Truth is, the designer needs more information than just an “About us” info from the website. If you want a good logo and brand that speaks to your customer, this “7 Stages of Creativity” can get you there. This article basically teaches you how to think out of the box-which is great if you want to stand out. People these days admire unique ideas. To achieve such customer admiration, one must ask questions and solve it thru research. Many think that the creativity comes from the depths of the mind of an artist when in fact, it comes from research, ideas, inspiration, and possibly some data gathering as well if needed.
To be honest, I had more to say about this. Hence, the birth of this topic. So why are graphic designers often underestimated? And why do we graphic designers protest on “free designing”? We Filipinos have a joke: “free lang, sir“, which sounds like “freelancer” and in english means, “can it be for free, sir?” It’s sarcastic but funny.
Point #1. We studied this. Again, not many people know this. They think artistry is a God-given talent and that it comes naturally from the depths of our brain. Yes, but no. Creativity is indeed a God-given talent but we nurtured it through studying and broadening our skills. There would be no such thing as “the creative process” if it simply comes out naturally.
Point #2. We need to think about it. Just as our programmers need to think about codes and fixing technical problems, we designers think about the design as well and it is not that simple. People are hard to please. We are criticizers by nature whether we understand an artwork or not. To gain your attention and approval is to impress you.
Point #3. We need every bit of detail. When is comes to logo designing and branding, it is not enough that we know what a company is selling. What else do we need to know? The company’s target market–to whom are you selling to? What are their demographics? What message do you want to give to your audience? How do you want your audience to see your brand? Think of it this way, when you go out to an interview or a date, you dress to impress. It’s the same with a logo and brand. First impression is everything.
Point #4. Our learning is never ending. A lot of people don’t know this, but there are also trends in design. The timeless Helvetica, for example, was everywhere since the late 1950’s. It is still used until now but new fonts came to town such as my favorite, the Montserrat. App logos for example went from pixels to 3D to flat. Web layouts back then were blog-like, now you see moving UI designs on almost every modern company website.
Point #5. The programs that we use are always upgrading. Oh, and they’re not for free. They are expensive AF. Do you know how many versions of Adobe Photoshop there are now? I think they beat Star Wars, I’m not quite sure, but I bet they did.
There you have it. A short list of my understanding on why graphic designers are often underestimated. I guess you could say that graphic designing is the most underestimated, underrated, most misunderstood job there is. But we love what we do. Designing is our passion and we do whatever it takes to please and impress.
God bless us designers :,)