That sounds a bit pushy. Let me rephrase that.


Is a designer what you need?

The problem today (well one of them at least) is that the word designer has become synonymous with production artist. Never heard of that? Not many do unless they’re in the depths of the design industry.

Now before we get ahead of ourselves, let me define what a production artist is and what it is they do.

A production artist is an individual that has knowledge and a background in graphic and image editing software. They know how to quickly navigate through programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Production artists do as they are told (usually by a designer) and work swiftly in order to deliver what was asked of them.

Now if you’re thinking, “Yeah! That’s what a designer does,” then let’s define what a designer (in our case a graphic designer) is.

A designer is someone who has a background in the same programs. However, a designer also has to consider who will be seeing their designs, how they will be seeing them, and coming up with a plan to make it all work. The main difference between a production artist and a designer is that the production artist makes things happen and the designer develops the things that need to be made.

One is not better than another – in fact, both are needed to create great things. What happens today is that production artists and designers are considered one in the same. This does two things: it simplifies terminology but it also causes both to be paid substantially less than what they should. But that topic is for another day.

Back to the first query, do you need a designer?

I do realize that there isn’t always an easy answer to this question. Maybe you yourself have great ideas but lack the knowledge and the software to produce them. Then what you are looking for my friend, is a production artist. For you, this will mean that you and the production artist will be in very close contact while you tell them what to do. Leave the how to them.

But what if you don’t have the time or the ideas? You know that your business needs a new look and feel but you don’t know where to begin. Well, a designer would be more up your alley. Think of the designer more as a dedicated problem solver for your business. The designer and you should be in contact but less so than a production artist. In this case, you leave the what and how to them but you have the final say. That’s not to say you shouldn’t trust your designer, they know what they’re doing and have systems that they themselves follow.

So, is what you seek a problem solver (the designer) or someone who can complete the task you give them (the production artist)? Both are crucial but indeed not the same.

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