You Get What You Pay For. Good Design Takes Time and Costs Money.

I apologize in advance. I’m on a bit of a rant this morning.

In the last  month I have been doing quite a bit more freelance. At the suggestion of a friend I signed up for an online service that  sends you job leads and allows you to bid on the perspective jobs in order to build your business. On average I receive about 15 requests a day. You’re probably thinking “Not bad, I could make a living if I only got 1 or 2 jobs from the list”. The problem is 85 to 90 percent of the leads are complete crap. And I mean crap in the sense that the people requesting work are clueless about what it takes to do the work and get anything worth their time.

A large portion of the people requesting work want to pay less than $500.00 per assignment,  and act as though they are doing you a favor because you’ll have a more stuff to add to your portfolio when you are done. I sort of get that, but what I don’t get is what most of these people expect for a couple of hundred dollars and a whole lot of time.

If you are a non-graphic design professional, animator, web designer, illustrator, writer, etc. you need to read this and get a clue about what it takes to get quality work. It takes more than 500 bucks. Your designer needs more than 24 hours. You need to know how to spell and articulate a complete sentence when selling your request. And you need to understand that high quality design takes time and money. You wouldn’t nickel and dime the guy working on your car, your electrician, the guy that does your taxes, your doctor, dentist, lawyer, or other professional services, so why the creative that is going to help you look great.

Design, Graphic Design, Animation, Illustration, Photography,Web Design, Copywriting, Video Production, and all creative endeavors take time, and money. The quality skills  that your design professional has honed, didn’t just happen over night. They are highly tailored and polished skills that deserve the same amount of respect as any other professional service. We don’t just draw pictures. There is a whole lot of thinking behind what we do, and a whole lot of skill required to do it right.

In addition to what I just said, if you want me to bid on your job learn to use spell check. Gain control of the English language. Learn to write a coherent sentence, and think about what you are asking for before submitting your request to one of these online services. Like the unrealistic time and money constraints most of these requests have, most of the requesters submit items that read as though they were written by individuals that have no clue. If you want any real design professional to take you seriously, you need to learn how to write a proposal without spelling and grammar errors.

A realistic proposal that doesn’t low ball the talent and make your design professional walk away from your job. To show you what I mean, I have a series of requests that were in my email inbox this morning. All of these jobs are for less than 500 bucks. All of the requesters are pretty much clueless. None of these are edited. Just copied and pasted into this post as is.

“I need someone to do a Flyer like representation of a Webpage. Using the photo files and someone who can design this in photo shop. I also need some royalty free images that I can use for icons submitted to me as a part of this job.” Right because for 500 bucks or less I can do some “photo shop” work and buy you royalty free stock images.

“I would like to start a production company music, film and photography 25% of all profit goes to Ifaw animal rescues, and breast cancer foundations , I’ll need a crew of professional photographers a video crew and music producers along with account manager s and business reps to help run and handle finances and payment to employees.” Hey will you do everything for me. I have this idea and I want to make money, but I need everyone else to do the work.

“Looking for someone to design 5 animation pieces that I can use on an html/css scripted webpage. I can write the script to add the pieces where I want. I’d like the pieces to be separate files that I can upload somewhere to link to my webpage. I’m guessing gifs? Each piece around 200px by 200px not strict size because each one would of course need to have different dimensions to accommodate the animation. 1) Squirrel with a gold crown, red/white cape, holding a gold scepter. With some sort of fitting slight movement such as raising the scepter. 2) A squirrel with an over the shoulder pouch full of acorns. Animation of crouching down and gathering more acorns with a greedy looking facial expression. Movement from right to left. 3) A squirrel with a silver helm and silver armor pointing a sword with one hand out and leading a bunch of smaller squirrels marching with spears. 4) A bearded squirrel in a robe doing alchemy at a table at first facing away. Animation turning around and flashing a wicked smile before turning back around to work. 5) Last one of a noble looking squirrel with a white and black cape standing in a superman pose. Squirrel from 2, 3, and 4 kneeling in front of him.” Seriously?

“we need a web site built that will be ahead of its time…. you must know word press were building a sales and auction site plus much more” So informative. I can jump right in on this based on the information you just gave me.

“Need a creative mixtape cover for a Mixtape BY Nam The name of the mixtape Jugger’s & Finesser’s The artist name and the title of the mixtape need to be in the pictures” People still make mix-tapes?

“Create prints for kids clothing. Should be up to date. unique. We will provide the inspiration you do the work. We need to be efficient. HAve to fit into the brand image” They provide the inspiration, you do the work…

“The Rappers name is NAM So ideas on the logo is something to do with monkey’s Skulls T-rex But most the logo has to be the name of the rapper in a unique creative way” Say what?

“I have written a musical play, and I need an artist, who can create pin and ink drawings to illustrate the scenes in the play. I require approximately 40 pin & ink drawings to be done.” Wow, “Pin” and ink is my specialty.

“Need a designer to create digital flyers for our upcoming Nightclub events. Job description is as follows: Uses knowledge of current graphic design software to produce graphic art and visual materials for promotions, advertisements, films, packaging, and informative and instructional material through a variety of media outlets such as websites and CD-ROMs. Generates and manipulates graphic images, animations, sound, text and video into consolidated and seamless multimedia programs.” Yes for 500 bucks or less you want design, animation, video editing, typography all in an ongoing seamless  multimedia package.

“I need to redo the images, pics and icons in the app to a more professional look. This app has multiple themings that it supports but the graphic files are usually in white background. There is a limited number of image/icon files in the app that are used.” What the hell is a ‘theming”?

“Have video footage that needs to be turned into 3 different trailers. Slick production quality is a must.” Not a problem. I’ll just use the “Slick” Plugin for After Effects.

Not every request I get via email are like the ones above. I have actually gotten some work from sites like Outsource. These aren’t even the worst examples. I’ve thrown out so many emails in the last couple of weeks that make these look good by comparison. It is a fairly solid representation though of how people perceive the visual design business. It’s always been this way, most folks just don’t get what goes into producing quality design work. For whatever reason I thought things had changed over the last decade with the huge rise in design awareness and all the press design had been getting. Apparently not. I’ll leave you with this, it’s one of my faves.

“I have written a children’s book. I need 250 illustrations plus the cover. I want a watercolor look to them in a realistic style similar to Norman Rockwell. Along with each of the lustrations I will need about 75 to 100 of them animated since this will be released as an eBook for the iPad. You will need to produce muzic and sound effects for each of the anima tions as well. I on a quuick turn around. I need all these done by July 10 or 11. If you are successful candidate I wil ned you to design and build a website to promote my book. I have 100 dollers for the website work.” All this for less than 500 bucks. Yeah right.

 

Photographic Bang Bang.

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With the Fourth of July just 2 days away, what could be more fitting than something about fireworks. The video below shows artist Ross Sonnenberg creating some insanely great abstract photographs using one of his favorite secret ingredients. Fireworks. Sonnenburg uses a host of other tools to create the images, including  gel, sand and light, but the fireworks give it a special twist. The results are beautiful, intensely colored one of a kind photograms. Each image is a random chance experiment full of texture, color, line, and shapes all created without a camera.

“For my latest body of work entitled “The Big Bang”, I had become fascinated with the photogram. In my research artists such as Mariah Robertson, Susan Derges and especially Marco Breuer are doing work that I admire. I became intrigued by the possibilities of this photographic process. I thought to myself “What can I bring that maybe could be interesting to me?”

     My light source of choice would be fireworks of varying persuasions, combined with other materials. Interestingly, the images (Which were few and far between) were looking like fictional galaxies, with all their beautiful imperfections resembled our images of our real solar system, ironically created by the first Big Bang millions of years ago.”

From Sonnenberg’s website

Sonnenberg varies the scale of the images. He has two previous series that smaller scale works Color Bang. And Long Bang which is a series of larger scale works created with larger more powerful fireworks.

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Alphabets of Wood.

alphabetswood_fullI’ll admit it, I’m a type junkie. I have been for a long time, and there is no 12 step program to cure me of this affliction. It’s part of being a graphic designer, and someone who has spent the better part of his adult life playing with, using and building with typography to create something new and unique.

This morning when I was out on the Hamilton Wood Type Museum website (yes there is a museum dedicated to wood typography) I came across a book for sale that will be going into my reference stack asap.

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“Alphabets of Wood. Luigi Melchiori and the history of Italian wood type” is the most recent addition to the latest wave of books dedicated to the history of wood type used in printing presses before digital, and before metal type became the standards of the day. It is also the first book to seriously look at the historical and cultural significance of Italian wood type manufacturers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“This book sprung from an encounter with the life and work of Luigi Melchiori, a skilled craftman who lived and worked during the late ninteenth and early twentieth centuries in Crespano del Grappa – a small community at the foothills of the Alps in the Veneto Region. It is a tribute to a maker of alphabets of wood. The authors, James Clough and Chiara Scattolin, develop a private and professional artist’s profile, the history of the wood type and its progressive use in typography. The archive “Luigi Melchiori” is part of Tipoteca Italiana’s collections.”

 

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Mangal

Since it’s summer and I have a backyard again, I have been on the lookout for a stylish modern barbecue. I’m a huge fan of charcoal and wood burning grills and this morning I came across “Mangal” from Cisimdesign.

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Cisimdesign is an Istanbul based firm that has been in operation since 2009. This year at the 2015 Milan Design Week, Cisimdesign introduced Mangal at Ventura Lambrate. Mangal literally means  barbecue in Turkish. The design is indicative of Cisimdesign’s philosophy of taking every day objects and transforming them into an object with a different function.

“Although ” Mangal ” suggests an object of heating and cooking, it offers a comfortable resting place with storage place in the interior.”

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The simple vessel shape is reminiscent of a vase or planter. The simple 3 leg stand gives it the appearance of perhaps a stool. The interchangeable grills are reflective of fabric patterns, another daily object transformed for another use. There isn’t any pricing info given on the website, but there is a contact email. It’ll be interesting to see if this makes it into large scale production. It’s a beautiful object, that I’d love to cook on.

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Pull&Bear Bring VW Vans to the Citadium.

To mark the opening of Pull&Bear at the Citadium in Paris, the store contacted 4 international artist and asked them to unleash their creative juices on classic VW vans. The Vans were painted white and used as the canvas for each artist to work there magic.

Italian artist Michela Picchi, produces works for magazines, and multiple brands. She draws inspiration from collage works and psychedelia with a modern and sophisticated twist. Picchi is now based in Berlin Germany.

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Shoboshobo is a Paris native with a strong link to Japan and Japanese culture. He has worked in a range of disciplines within the field of graphic design as well as the music industry. His work is exhibited in multiple countries and can be seen in galleries through out Europe. His primary style features are a lack of color and a personal universe of half disturbing, half tender figures which he depicts with a pop touch.

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Martina Paukova is a Slovakian illustrator living and working out of London. Her career has provided illustrations for a wide range of clients ranging from international magazines, museums, ad agencies, schools and other institutions. Her colorful work is inspired by vintage images and texts.

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Kyle Platt is a prolific graphic artist and illustrator based in the UK. His career has taken many turns from entertainer to social critic, but he is primarily known for work he has done for such clients as the New York Times, and Vice. His work reminds me of artist Jim Nutt, and like Nutt’s works you will either love it or hate it, but you definitely won’t be left without an opinion on it.

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Dustin Cohen’s “Conrad and the Steamplant”.

This morning a friend of mine sent me the link to the video below. “Conrad and the Steamplant” is the product of photographer Dustin Cohen. This is the latest in a series of short films he has produced over the last year or so, and like his previous short films this one profiles an individual in New York with a unique job. It is a striking portrait of Pratt Institute’s Chief Engineer  which  follows the story of 79-year-old Conrad Milster.  Milster started working at the steamplant in 1965 and is one of only four to hold his position at Pratt in its 127-year history. Like all of Choen’s works this is a beautifully shot and edited documentary short that is well worth the watch and a great way to start your work week.