“That should be easy, right?” As graphic designers, we hear this a lot. And while we’re flattered that we make things look effortless, “easy” is generally dependent upon one’s own definition.
Physically speaking, no, it’s not “hard” to create a design. Sitting at a computer is not difficult, other than maybe a crick in the neck or some eye strain, if spending too much time there without a break. But what a lot of people don’t understand is the amount of mental effort that goes into even the simplest of designs. Or, the amount of time it may take to achieve the goal, even if the steps are already laid out. Or the amount of expertise required.
Sometimes we may say something like, “All I have to do is…” But often that’s just us verbalizing how we’re going to tackle a task. It may be “all” we have to do, but it may still take us many hours. It may be “easy” to create a swoosh at just the right angle under your logo, but it may take a long time perfecting it so it obtains the ultimate visual effect.
Much of our expertise comes from knowing how to use the tools we have. We’ve worked many, many years learning how to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Just like a person may look at a plumber’s set of tools and not have a clue what they do or how to use them, so too do many people not understand the hours of learning it has taken us to gain the skills we have. In order to design efficiently, one doesn’t just have to know how to make something pretty - they have to understand how that piece is going to be used to decide whether or not it should be a vector graphic, whether it should be created in CMYK or RGB, and whether it’s going to a print house and what their specs are, such as trim size and bleed. The designer needs to understand proportions, usage and quantities. They need to have a natural eye for what looks attractive to the masses and be aware of trending styles. They have to be able to think three-dimensionally and envision the final product. Interactive PDFs have a lot more elements than a JPEG. Websites are designed very differently than newsletters. Portraying a client’s own style throughout any piece is critical.
We have to know how to do it all. And we do.
So, maybe creating that little graphic for the corner of an email newsletter only requires a half an hour of time. But “easy”? It may have taken us five years to now have enough know-how to produce that little graphic in just a half hour. Maybe that brochure seems cut and dry. But “easy”? It may require many more hours than expected, just to make sure all the elements are laid out correctly and with the right specs in order to have it printed and turn out looking professional.
Being a graphic designer is far from easy. But it’s what we love to do, and we’re thrilled to be able to use our skills in order to assist you, your church, or your ministry accomplish your design goals.