This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

August 7, 2019

The embarrassment of do-it-yourself graphic design

I've known a lot of pros, in a lot of fields, and even if they aren't in my industry, they understand the embarrassment of seeing people doing "do-it-yourself" stuff and making a mess out of it. As a professional Graphic Designer, I've seen a lot of it, and even more so now with the popularity of the internet.

Now don't get me wrong, I like do-it-yourself projects as much as the next person. Every time I visit Home Depot, I'm surrounded by people who assure me that I can do simple projects like rewiring my entire house, or building my own swimming pool. And then I stand there puzzling over which light bulb to buy, and assure myself that I can install it myself, if I can find my stepladder? I tend to use the logic of "what's the worst that can happen?", and if I buy the wrong light bulb, I'll go back and buy another one. For example.

Of course, "what's the worst that can happen" can be a serious disaster, if I try to do my own plumbing, or fix the brakes on my car. And when it comes to graphic design, the worst that can happen to your company is that you'll make it difficult for your customers to give you money.

No, I'm not trying to sell you a logo here, I'm just hoping that when you show it to me you'll allow me to smile and look away. And it's the same with everything that businesses use to communicate to their customers, from signage to posts on social media. The do-it-yourself stuff makes me cringe.

No, I'm not going to criticize your business cards, which are an awful mess, or the sign above the door of your business. Nor am I doing to suggest that your website looks as if it were intentionally created to be confusing. I know by looking at it that it was a do-it-yourself project, and you spent many hours on it, and are very proud of it. No doubt your friends and family say that it's wonderful, too. Your customers, and potential customers, won't say a thing, they'll just move on. That's the nice thing about a free economy, people really don't have to struggle to understand your graphics in order to buy something, they can just go elsewhere.

There's a particular look to graphics created by a pro. And it isn't about the tools - anyone can buy Photoshop. If you can't see the difference, I understand, but there is a difference, and because of that, part of the cost of doing business is hiring a pro.

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