How Do I Distinguish A Genuine Graphic Designer From A Quack?

ThinkingWith the high rate of unemployment across the globe many people with computers have turned themselves to designers in quest for a living. The availability of graphic design applications, both genuine and pirated and mushrooming of colleges purporting to offer graphic design courses have not made things any better. Consequently there has been an influx of “graphic designers” in the market making it difficult for some clients to pick out professional designers for their projects.

At this point it is important to ask, does having the skills to use graphic design software equal to being a graphic designer? Does the ability to crop and retouch a photo in Photoshop make one a designer? If the answer to these questions is no, then some so-called designers in the market are not designers but software manipulators / quacks. Similarly, one is not considered a fashion designer because he/she can mend a torn garment. There is more to fashion design than mending torn garments and so it is in graphic design.

How then can one distinguish a genuine graphic designer from a software manipulator?  There are many ways but I will highlight three of them:

  1. Software manipulators are good in copying what others have done. There is hardly any original work in their portfolio. Their portfolio is full of work executed using clip art and vector images. I am not saying that clip art and vector images are bad, but they are not supposed to replace the creativity and originality of a designer. If the so-called “designer” has to use them in every project, then there is a problem. Part of graphic design involves coming up with creative concepts that distinguishes the work of a client from others.
  2. Software manipulators usually under charge since they have nothing new to offer. If it is a logo, they will just use templates bought from the internet or use logo design applications that have preset icons and images. Therefore they can create a logo in 5 minutes and charge $10. Unfortunately the client who pays for such a logo will come across a similar one sooner or later. Professional graphic design costs money and any client who is serious about the image of the company he represents will make sure that they hire a professional to do the work.
  3. Software manipulators cannot explain or defend their designs. If you ask them to explain the rationale behind a particular concept they will not be able or will give unconvincing reasons since the work was not well thought through.

So the next time you are seeking the services of a designer make sure you are dealing with a professional graphic designer and not a software manipulator.

What other ways can you tell you are dealing with a software manipulator? Let me know what you think.

Hope this helped,