What is a Graphic/Web Designer?
Good question, let's find out.....
Suppose for a moment that you've decided to build a house. Now you aren't going to do the actual work yourself because you''re going to hire a contractor. Your contractor will design, construct, and decorate your house for you (it's my fantasy, go with it). When completed, (s)he will give you the keys to your new house.
Now, how would this house building evolve? Would you simply say to the contractor "build me a 2000 sq ft house" and leave the contractor to provide all the design elements, the colors, textures and furnishings? No, you wouldn't. While the contractor could provide you with a 2000 sq ft house, it's very unlikely that it would meet your wants, needs, or desires. So you provide the contractor with a guide to how your house should be constructed, what it should contain, and how it interacts with your neighborhood. Your contractor does all this after signing a contract with you. The contract spells out a role for each person involved in the construction. If you can provide some of the labour, your costs will be lower. If you provide the right input, you are assured that your house will truly be what it is you wanted.
Nobody knows how you want your house to look, feel, and communicate better than you do. Your contractor can make some educated guesses about you and place those assumptions into your house, but will you be really happy with the results? And wouldn't you expect the contractor to charge you more for providing these things instead of you providing them yourself? Time is money, and contractors don't give away their time.
So, what do you do? You provide the contractor with input about how your house should look, feel, react, communicate with others and then your house gets built the way you want it. It says what you want it to say. It's comfortable, and it looks good. You're happy.
Now a little substitution game:
Replace "contractor" with "Web Designer", replace "house" with "web site", replace "design elements", "colors", "textures and furnishings", "info" and "input" with "content". Replace "neighborhood" with "customers". Now go read the story again.
That''s what a web designer is. (S)he can build you a web site. The more input you provide, the better able your designer is able to meet your wishes for your site. You provide the building blocks the designer uses. If you want the designer to provide the building blocks, don't complain about the additional cost. Time is money, remember?
This is how I try to get people to understand or relate in "non-geek" terms to what I do for them ...
In a sense I'm a building contractor (the person who is physically building their store). I need the client to provide me with some kind of plan as to how they want the structure (the physical building) of the store to look. I also like for them to suggest to me "feeling" words, which they want their customers to "feel" when they walk into the store. That helps me come up with a style suitable to their vision; (After all, they know their product/service better than I do; I doubt they'd want a frilly theme going into an auto repair site, right?)
After I construct the building (the site) they need to advertise it just like they would a physical real-world store. Sure, I can do some of this for them (although I don''t know any building contractors that do this) but the overall success of their site is their responsibility just like any physical store.
Now, before any of this is done, they need to contact a real estate agent to lease (domain host) some property to have the store built on. (I can provide this too, and I rather doubt a building contractor would.) Then after the building is up looking real vacant, they need to provide me their "stuff" to fill it with (brochure contents) ... of course, most building contractors I know don''t do this either, so I'm wearing several hats now which makes me "VALUABLE", right?
Any great deal of "text" must be supplied to me either through email or diskette. I'm a designer - not a secretary, therefore my typing fee is much higher than my design fee. Because I don't want to type, and if the client is serious about going online, then they'll find a secretary that will put it on a floppy or pay me extra to do it.
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This article was inspired by a analogy provided by Suzanna of http://www.suzanna.net/. This article may be copied and redistributed provided this copyright notice remain attached.