Do You Want Cheap, Fast, & Great Graphic Design?
Colin Harman is an artist in California who created a graphic design infographic a few years ago that is so simple it begs you to insert your own interpretations, graphic design stories, and client experiences in each one of its carefully placed Venn diagram intersections. No matter your bent in the graphic design world, from freelancers to corporate employees, we’ve all dealt with clients who have been astute, clueless, or somewhere in the middle. What the graphic designer understands is you can’t have it cheap, fast, and great. The burden falls to us, the designers, to provide the client with reasonable expectations on a job by job basis. The great graphic design infographic below can be used as a simple tool to help communicate expectations to a client.
How Do You Like Your Eggs?
The infographic speaks for itself, but as I stared at it, I kept thinking about eggs. The color used for the cheap area of the diagram might have reminded me of yoke which led me to think of scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs are the fast and cheap of the egg world and will serve as the analogy for the same in the graphic design process. Outside of sucking the yoke straight out of the shell, it’s the fastest way to make eggs. Scrambled eggs are also the cheapest way to have eggs because there is no skill involved and you can have them served this way just about anywhere so it must be cost effective. I know what makes scrambled eggs is the same thing that makes deviled eggs, but skill has value in the cooking world, just as it does in the graphic design world. As the Venn diagram shows, fast and cheap graphic design gets you ugly, quickly and sloppily: read scrambled eggs.
Hard boiled eggs take the longest to make, can be the basis for thousands of recipes and other uses, and let’s face it, the outer shell can either reveal the goodness underneath or you can dye it to create beauty on the outside. Such is the same with great graphic and web design. Design of any kind takes time so we can eliminate the fast section of our Venn diagram below. You cannot put a clock to inspiration or quality. Graphic design should not be cheap as there is no set price for creativity and imagination. And there is always a cost for greatness, therefore it cannot be free. Great graphic design is like the hard boiled egg: it takes time, it’s value is endless, and when done right, it will always yield greater results than might initially appear.
Eggs sunny-side up are my favorite. I couldn’t leave them out. While I won’t use the method to describe graphic design, I felt like I should use it to describe how graphic designers should approach and communicate with clients during the design process. Positive. My “favorite” client line, as mentioned in another of my blogs, is, “I’m not a designer but…” Usually what follows this Captain Obvious statement is something that makes designers literally or figuratively roll their eyes. Take a deep breath and soak in this truth for a moment. The clients are not designers, that’s why they hired you. Use the opportunity to create a positive relationship with the client and use some of the language in this graphic design infographic. Fast, cheap, easy, and great are all words you can use to communicate to the client what the expectation level should be for what they are demanding of you. Are you going to have to do something under-the-gun for little money? Magic Eight Ball says, “Signs point to yes.” As long as you’ve communicated to the client what to expect in a positive, “sunny” way, then all should be well.
Graphic design is art. Art is subjective. Even the title of the infographic is a perfect representation of subjectivity. How would you like your graphic design? It even suggests one can pick two. Design your heart out given the parameters of each job and communicate the expectations of your work within those parameters positively to your client. And have some eggs while you’re at it, however you may take them.