Here it is. My first blog post. The one that seems most likely to never be read. I never understood why people started blogs. For me, I just thought it would be nice to have a place to dump all of those random thoughts that I have throughout the day as I work on one project or another. A catharsis. Most often they will probably take the form of rants, but I will try to be eloquent about it. I won’t fool myself into thinking that anyone actually cares about what I’m saying, but if any of you are reading and get a chuckle, or even have a mild interest, please know that I am flattered and I appreciate your time.
Ok so let’s get into it.
Today I had a polite interaction over Facebook with a random stranger, as I am want to do, regarding the use of online design gig sites, such as 99Designs and Fiverr, vs. hiring a local freelancer or agency. I am of course in favor of the latter for obvious reasons…I want their business for myself. #sorrynotsorry
However it goes deeper than that.
In the same way that Wolfgang Puck might look down on McDonald’s, I feel that these design farms are watering down the industry. They are, in fact, the fast food of Graphic Design. Let’s think about it. They are quick, cheap, convenient, and satisfy your immediate needs (or wants). They are also not a very healthy solution in the long term, also like McDonald’s. I know some of you are probably hating on me for hating on McDonald’s, but think of it from whatever perspective you might have. You’ve worked very hard, and fought tooth and nail to get where you are, and someone comes along claiming to do what you do 10 times faster and 90% cheaper, when in reality they are producing exactly that, a fast, cheap, thoughtless product. Pretty aggravating right?
These “designers” most often are rigidly formulaic and are producing clip art logos and template-based design. They have to work extra fast to make any money because they are selling logos for $5 to $10 a pop. Not only that but they often have had no hand whatsoever in creating the designs that they advertise on their profiles!
I read a case study once wherein someone submitted a job to Fiverr as an experiment and got several results back. The first wasn’t terrible, but nothing Earth shattering. The others were just terrible, like 90’s style clip art. However, upon doing some research with uncle Google, he discovered that even the decent logo had been completely ripped off. Same logo, different name. Process isn’t even in their vocabulary. Who has time for thoughtful, original design work when you’re letting logos go for 5 bucks?
The rub here is that a lot of clients will go to these sites and think that what they are getting is out of this world creative and original. They don’t know any better I suppose, but that is why these gig sites are so harmful to the field and to the clients.
So to wrap up let me say this: If you are a designer, and you’re not into day jobs, or if you just want some extra cash on the side, go the freelance route. Respect yourself and your profession. Don’t pollute the field we all love so much with more fast food. In a world of McDonald’s, be a Wolfgang Puck, or at least a Chik-Fil-A!
To you clients thinking about hiring out for some design work, I strongly encourage you to hire a well-vetted, local freelancer. You wouldn’t hire a cut-rate realtor to choose your next home, so why should your business, your livelihood, be any different? Local freelancers and agencies will give you, and your project, more time and attention than those cheap gig sites. You get what you pay for. Don’t sell yourself or your business short. Get the right person for the job.
– Hunter Crawford