Even though it’s probably not a good idea to let a girlfriend cut your hair or hire your mother as your criminal defense attorney, it is still nice to have some affection for the people you contract for various important services. More importantly, the person you use should have a great deal of affection for the job itself. This might be a hard quality to find in a septic pumping service, but designers must love design and all of its many facets if they are to be trusted at all.
Why is it so very important for a designer to love design? If the answer to that isn’t obvious, then we’ll be more than happy to tell you.
A good graphic designer should be able to appreciate a wide variety of different designs and artistic media. Moreover, a good designer will always want to discover and learn new things about whatever medium in which he or she works. For example, package designers must keep abreast of packaging innovations and trends in order to differentiate your particular product and brand from the competition, which will be sitting on a shelf, uncomfortably close to yours.
If you don’t have a graphic designer that has an affection for numerous different styles, then you run the risk of developing a concept that lies squarely within that designer’s comfort zone and style, and that’s what you really don’t want. You want a package, logo or website that is uniquely yours and no one else’s.
There are a lot of minor and tedious details involved with package design; details that might not be readily addressed by a graphic designer who isn’t exactly bursting with love for the process.
The parts of design that could be described as “fun” are relatively few if you aren’t impassioned about design. Sitting in front of a computer or drafting table outlining an exciting blueprint takes up far less time than determining stress ratios, manufacturing processes, shape optimization for pallet transport, spacing for supplementary labeling information and dozens of other factors that would make your standard starving art student weep uncontrollably.
Have you ever looked at major automobile manufacturers’ websites and seen the illustrations for their concept cars? Most of them are so aggressively futuristic they make DeLoreans look like wheel barrows. The concept drawings are always the fun and exciting part, but eventually an executive looks at the specs and says, “wow, that’s a great plutonium-powered hovercraft you got there – how ’bout we design an actual car?” The point is, a good designer loves his/her job loves it for what it actually is – specification adjustments, focus groups, compromises, minutiae and hours of conferences – and not what he or she dreams it should be.
An Understanding of Customer Desire and Need
A designer must recognize what customers like. This is something that rankles an artist, who wants to open up people’s perceptions and make them think about heady stuff. Customers don’t want to think; they want Doritos.
There is nothing more artistic than the uncompromising production of tons of art that no one understands or appreciates. Unfortunately, this ain’t gonna fly for a designer, whose very livelihood depends upon the development of packages, brands, logos and websites with which the public must become instantly smitten.
Love of design is far more than the love of sketching, painting, developing of GIFs and all of the attendant creative stuff; it involves the determination to create something that is not only unique, interesting and enticing — but something that can be mass produced in an economical fashion that will ultimately increase the client’s revenue stream. Artists are happy (well maybe not happy, but reconciled) to allow their work to steep into the public consciousness for years and even generations before it is appreciated and subsequently valued. Graphic, package, and Web designers only have a few months to make their clients relatively wealthy and happy. A designer has to embrace his or her inner tycoon, and embrace that tycoon hard.
So, what have we learned today? We learned that a good graphic designer has to love being a graphic designer, and not mistake being a designer with being Toulouse Lautrec. We learned that a good designer must be a lifelong student of design. Finally, we learned that concept cars are, and will always be, more interesting than the final product, even if the majority of concept cars look as though they were designed by poorly coordinated toddlers.