To the outside world there seems to be some confusion about the exact role of a graphic designer. I’m not talking about what people think about the graphic design process. I’m talking about what we, as graphic designers, do and don’t do. The confusion is usually showcased in the form of a question from our sometimes clueless clients or coworkers. I know we could list hundreds of these but the 5 I picked are the most irritating ones that I get asked.
We don’t fix PCs
While we do work behind a computer and are probably more tech-savvy than most, we are not part of the Geek Squad and most of us work on Apple computers. I don’t know, or care to find out, why your WiFi stopped working, where your toolbar went or why you can’t print out a document. We use a computer with specialized tools for graphic design, not IT work. If asked, I stick to my favorite answer, “try turning it off and back on again”. It’s a tried and true answer that gives me a way out while their machine reboots.
We are not MS Word/Paint/PowerPoint experts
Believe it or not most designers hate Microsoft software. These programs are built for the general public to do general tasks. Graphic design takes much more sophistication than these programs offer. What happens when you insert a picture into a 10-page Word doc? That’s right, it goes crazy! Your nice paragraphs disappear and your document expands by 10 pages. And that nice picture? It gets stretched, shrunk, becomes a black box or a red X. We work with specialized programs designed for our trade. Just like your mechanic shouldn’t use duct tape and super glue, your designer shouldn’t use Word or Paint.
We can’t make your PDF/JPG into a Word document
There are programs for it. Find one, buy it, use it. Sure, I could half-ass it for you using Acrobat but we all know that it will eventually lead to me retyping your entire document after the countless edits that you request because some words or characters didn’t format correctly. It’s not worth my time or the headache.
We don’t fix cell phones
Reference point #1 if you need to. Yes, we graphic designers are tech-savvy but we are not in the phone repair business. Take your messed up phone back to the store and let those poor folks try and figure out where your contacts and calendars went. How you always manage to lose your contact lists, photos and emails is a mystery for the ages and has actually spawned its own business sector out of your incompetence. We have enough trouble with our own devices.
We don’t work for free
Your sister needs wedding invitations? Your brother needs a photographer? You need a garage sale flyer? Great! Now that you’ve asked me to do it let’s think about that. You need a service. I provide a service. That’s called a job. Does your plumber fix your toilet for free? NO! Well I don’t design for free. I don’t care how well we know each other, that we work together or played poker once. I will not spend my free time working for free. Period.