I have come to conclude that one of the most underrated and underutilized professionals in America are graphic designers. And, that’s unfortunate. As a society, we are discounting a treasure trove of tremendous talent. Graphic designers are essential for making both our print and digital worlds much more readable, navigable, interpretable, interesting, and exciting.
For over 20 years, I have worked closely with graphic designers, both locally and nationally, as contractors, colleagues, and business partners. In this article, I’ll share my thoughts on why graphic designers continue to be undervalued and what action they can take to change that tide.
1. Educate the Public.
One of the toughest obstacles to changing the tide is overcoming the perception that a graphic designer is anyone that uses graphic design software—no talent, no fine arts training, and certainly no creativity is necessary. As a united front, graphic designers must wage a massive public awareness campaign. A campaign that spreads a better understanding of the distinct value between graphic designers, desktop publishers, and software experts.
2. Sell Impact.
It’s crucial that graphic designers do a better job of defining and selling their value. Graphic designers are not “Strategic Business Partners”. They are “Strategic Impact Partners”. Graphic designers must hitch both their walk and their talk to “impact”. After all, their contribution maximizes the effect and influence that images, words, and brands have on a targeted audience. A “true” graphic designer is a valuable asset when you’re playing to win the hearts and minds of customers.
3. Know Pain Points.
Graphic designers must understand the pain points of both their clients and their clients’ industry. First show clients that you understand what keeps them awake at night and what gives them heartburn in the morning. Engage them in visual language that they understand and which promotes the solution you offer—pain relief. Only after making that case, should design and creative skills be sold.
Here’s A Call to Action
I propose, in 2022, to let these three points be graphic designers and their industry’s call to action. It’s time to wake up the world to recognizing graphic designers and their value. Graphic designers deliver more than important messages in a professional package. And certainly, the ability to use graphic design software and templates does not produce a strategic impact partner.
Written by: Doyline Williams email@example.com • 614-349-8282
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