Thursday, March 07, 2013

Speaking of design

This issue has come up a couple of times and I'd like to address it.

When you hire a seamstress to make a dress, you are paying for the dress... not the rights to the pattern. Her services are paid for, she provides you with a final product. Easy peasy.

When people hire me as a designer, the same thing applies right? They request something, I design it, hand over the finished piece, and we're all good. But wait! What if the client wants the working file? What if they want the bones of your work? The graphic design 'pattern' you created.

I do NOT provide working files to my clients and there's a good reason for that. Let me put it to you like this...

Lets say you go to a fancy restaurant and order a magnificent meal. You think to yourself "Hey! I'm pretty handy in the kitchen! I have a stove and some pots. I'll just ask for the ingredients and recreate this at home!" The chef smiles and tells you exactly what goes into his dish. He even winks and whispers the secret ingredient in your ear.

Bonus! You're cooking for a date the following week and this will be perfect.

It's date night. After you gather your ingredients and begin to attempt to recreate the dish, you realize there's a problem. You don't know if you purchased the right cut of beef, how he prepared the peppers, the amount of cumin that was added, the temperature it was cooked at or for how long and you don't even remember there being carrots in it at all! The result is edible, but it's nothing like the gourmet meal prepared the week before.

Your date asks where you got the recipe and you give her the chefs name. She smiles and nods but makes a mental note not to eat at his restaurant.

It takes more than fancy software to design something well. Good design requires care, skill, knowledge, sensitivity, and experience to mix space, colour, shape, line, images, type and text into something effective and visually appealing.

I care a great deal about the work I do. (As both a designer and an artist.) Time and time again I have seen design work ruined because someone with limited experience altered original working files. Honestly,  I'm not being a meanie by keeping the files. By NOT distributing original working documents I am ensuring the integrity of my work and my reputation as a designer.

Now go and hug a designer! We need some lovin' ;)


  1. You have stated this very clearly, although it never occurred to me that anyone would expect the files, too. Hopefully the right peole read this and have an aha! moment. In the meantime, consider yourself hugged:)

  2. Hugs to you and all who toil to make it look so effortless when in fact it is just plain hard and time draining. Cheers and I hope lots of folks will have an aha moment about art and artists and the hard work put in on projects. Oma Linda

  3. I am sending a hug to you! I also completely understand. As a soaper, people are always trying to find out how much of this or that I am putting in my soaps. I list the ingredients on the packaging, but I guess they want the whole recipe as well.....
    xoxoxoxoxooxxoxooxxooxox for all designers, artits, etc.

  4. oh my I don't even what to ask but (I'm slapping my hand to my head) really someone ask that of you... oh my I don't know what to say but sent you a hug

    and nod, wink (secret is all with the faeries and they never tell their secrets).. hugs wendy