How to...

Spot an Amatuer Designer

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Define Quality?

How do you define quality in an industry that leaves itself so open-ended? To the same extent art and most other forms of creativity do? The concept got the gears working and made me think… Sure, there is a standard rate for creative work… But what is the standard for creativity? How do you differentiate between a quality designer, and an uncapable creative? In a seperate post, we discussed industry specific rates and freelance cost. At first, it seemed the problem lied with creatives under-cutting the market without a guideline of what is acceptable.

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I soon came to realize there is a much more destructive issue we face… Under-qualified creatives overcharging clients.

SA Industry Rates & Cost

The basic fundamentals of

Crisp Creative

The reason I’m writing this is to educate creatives to better themselves and assure you “the client” get exactly what you pay for. In my search for reference, I came across this very comprehensive video. The most basic fundamentals of design and art.
The reason many creatives study, is not to learn creativity, but to get this foundational knowledge.

Accompanied most times by harsh lecturers that seem to never like your work. As a matter of fact, it is their job to not like your work. For your benefit, for you to push yourself, take creative criticism and aside from any outside influence do the best work you know you are capable of.
“GCFLearnfree” have released a great starer course to hone your sills.
Beginning Graphic Design Tutorials

Quality is not an act,
it is a habit

— Aristotle

What to

Look out for?

This post is meant as an educational reference. These Design principles stretch across all areas of the creative industry, not limited to only graphic art & design. These principles SHOULD be applied in web, print and all other creative execution the job lends itself to.
Below are common mistakes inexperienced creatives make. Have a look at your creative’s portfolio and see if they adhere to the above. Assure the work they produce is free from the following mistakes.

Excessive color use

An integral part of design lies in carefully selecting our color palette based on the feeling and message we wish to convey. The core of any piece of communication is the underlying message.
Excessive color use is a clear indication that there either is no message, or that the designer clearly doesn’t undertand the end-goal.

More than 3 fonts

What sets well known creatives aside from fresh talent, is careful consideration of all elements. The task being "simplicity" while still retaining "visual intrigue".
Excessive font use is an indication that the artwork lacks vision. In short, each individual asset forms one greater part of the whole final piece of communication.

Busy Design

Each component has it's function. Either it serves the purpose of adding to other elements, or it purposefully goes in direct contrast to create intrigue.
A common misconception is that good design needs to be viuslly busy. A mish-mash collage of out-of-place elements. An illusion that generates bad designers.

Un-balanced elements

Perfection lies in attention. With careful consideration of how your elements work together in unified harmony, You convey a clear and enticing message. A way of communicating where visuals make up the dialect.
Where each element sits greatly effects the emotion your artwork is trying to convey.

Texture Pirates

An over-use of texture can make your work look tacky. Often times in-experienced designers go overboard with overly-textureddesign.
Sure, it has a place, a purpose, bringing something “more” to your work, however, over-use can tend to make artwork, intended to be simple and easily communicative; overbearing and un-readable.

Effect addiction

Due to advancement in design software, many creatives rely on excessive effects rather than using them as aditions that compliment the visuals. This makes for overly stimulating artwork surving the purpose of visual disarray. When designs solely rely on software, all longevety gets discarded.
Filed away in a directory as "Our past clutter".


What have we learnt?

Easy access to editing software have massively become the big culprit. Because someone learned how to use a program to design, doesn’t mean they can design. This isn’t a GO! at young creatives. However, if you are starting out as a designer, you can’t charge industry standard rates for below industry quality work. Many Artists invest a lot of time, and effort into their craft. And they keep perfecting daily.
To all you creative Mavericks, don’t charge others for you to learn a skill. Learn the skill first and apply it when you have the capabilities.

As for clients, never… And I repeat… NEVER! hire a creative without a portfolio of work that shows competence in their field. Doing so will likely cause you a lot of sleepless nights and unnecessary stress.