The short answer is YES. But the answer is more complex than it looks at first sight.
In recent years, certain online platforms for freelancers gave way to cheap (not necessarily bad) designers, mostly from Asia and India etc. As a consequence, these days, you can get a logo designed for as cheap as 10USD or a photograph edited for less than 20USD. You can even get a 3D model for about 100USD. That is all just fine, but in terms of quality, uniqueness and research, you get what you pay for. Mostly useless, cheap and copied design.
Here’s the catch: A professional and experienced designer, before he starts creating or developing a certain project, conducts a detailed research for a specific project, and most importantly brainstorms ideas for its clients, to offer the best final outcome. That takes time. Especially, if we talk about more complex projects, such as Web-design or 3D development of jewelry or watches.
Of course, you can have luck and get a great design for just a few dollars. There are great examples of it: Twitter logo was made for about 6USD (but not on freelancer platforms) and the famous Google logo was made with free graphic design software. There is also a rumor, that Apple’s iconic logo was made completaly free of charge. On the other hand, Norwegian postal service Posten Norge for example, paid an unbelievable $55 million dollars for logo development alone. Crazy, right?
On certain freelance platforms, the designer makes you a logo in 24 hours, but you have to supply details of what you want, what you need and what result you want. Alright, but what if you don’t have any imagination of what you want or need? Designer will answer “That is not my problem” ….eg. If you know how to create graphics you would create it yourself, you wouldn’t hire a designer. There are tons of free graphic design software, which you can use to create basic graphics yourself.
And that is my point: The designer’s job/task is to find solutions and give new ideas to clients, not the other-way-around. Designer sells knowledge, ideas and most importantly, imagination, not just graphics and final products.
As a designer, I had to defend myself in the past, when pitching for a project, clients asked me, “why my prices are so high”, if the designers on certain online platforms offer a much cheaper solution, even 70%+ cheaper. The normal question comes to mind: “How can I compete with this price?” Well, it’s simple, by offering professional attitude and a superior product.
Let me give you an example: Back in the 90s legendary graphic designer named Paul Rand(who is also the man behind logos like IBM, UPS and ABC) made a logo for NeXT Computers owned by Steve Jobs, for alleged $100.000 for single design. You didn’t see Steve Jobs wanting a logo for 5 or 10USD, because he understood, that a logo, is far more than just a graphic on its own. It’s a symbol, a representation of a company / product / or person. It’s the first thing the clients sees. A logo has to make sense, it has to carry a story inside, it has to make a point, it has to be memorable, and it has to be accepted by general public. This procedure is called; branding. In order to achieve that, a designer has to have enough time to research and brainstorm ideas. It’s as simple as that.
It rarely happens that a successful logo is done in 24 hours or less. These days, it’s more important than ever, that a company, should have high-quality corporate and web design, it’s a fact.
I’m not saying that you should pay 100.000USD+ for a graphics, but what I do say is; consider the comparison between quality graphics which cost 100–150USD or more, done by experienced designers or companies and cheap graphics done by freelancer for 5–10USD. If you think there is no difference in the comparison, you couldn’t be more wrong. You just have to look at the facts.
I must point out, I don’t agree with the freelance platforms, where they permit and promote bad services to people, only for their own profit. We must not forget; the freelance platforms take its share when it comes to selling products on their platform.
But there is a plus side on this story as well. Most of the real clients, who expect quality and uniqueness, don’t look twice at this platforms, and that gives an opportunity to professional designers, who promise quality, responsiveness and lots of imagination to their clients.
Every project done by a designer should have a signature line implemented, which makes a product special and unique in its own right. And that is the added value, which you don’t get with “cheap” design.
Expensive corporate design does not necessarily promise success, but it does narrow the margin between success and failure.
In part 2: The signature line
Writer: Jan Vreca, graphic/concept/web design , www.jvd.si