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Why you shouldn't hire a graphic designer on the cheap

Designers respond to 'terrible article' about 99designs

Graphic designers took to Twitter, article comments and email to fight back against an article we published on PC Advisor that claimed to show 'how to hire a graphic-design pro on the cheap'. Here's a snapshot of what they had to say.

PC Advisor's twitter account, @PCAdvisor, took a minor battering this week from angry graphic designers reacting to a story we published that originated with our sister title PC World.

The article in question is 'How to hire a graphic-design pro on the cheap' and as you can probably imagine, the tutorial managed to cause a bit or a stir in graphic-design circles.

See also Response to 'How to hire a graphic-design pro on the cheap'.

In short, the original article, from Rick Broida, suggested that you could use the company 99designs to source logo designs. Here's how he describes how the company works:

"You write up the details of what you need--a business card, logo, T-shirt, or whatever. Then you choose one of three preset price packages, or set your own price. The more you pony up, the more designs you'll get. Many projects start at around $195, which is a fraction of what you'd probably pay a design firm."

"Your project gets listed as a contest, one that interested designers can "enter" by submitting concepts. You can provide feedback along the way to get the work tweaked so it's closer to what you want. In the end, you choose your favorite design; the money goes to the winning designer, and the artwork (complete with copyrights) goes to you."

There are two sides to every coin, and plenty of designers are not accepting this new way of business, which they feel has the potential to cripple their industry.

Why you shouldn't hire a graphic designer on the cheap: Graphic-designers fight back

Spearheading the fight back is one half of the East London design duo Mat Dolphin, Tom Actman. He contacted PC Advisor to say this about 99designs and the perils of crowd-sourcing design work based on the lowest price:

"Anyone with any creative talent isn't in competition with 99designs and the like, because let's be frank, if they are then they may want to reconsider whether they're doing what they're best at. The same too can probably said for clients and we shouldn't be fearful of their eyes getting sidetracked by low cost offerings. Clients who value and realise the benefits of great design and communication won't be calling this type of service. They already know design is an investment for them and their customers."

He continued: "The only thing us designers are really selling is our time and creativity. Time to think of great ideas and the know-how to execute them beautifully. The ability to use this time effectively requires some resources – an appropriate place to do the thinking/executing and the tools to assist the process"

"...At the end of the day (and when it comes to design and all manner of things in life) you get out what you put in."

To see what Tom Actman said in full go to: Response to 'How to hire a graphic-design pro on the cheap'.

Why you shouldn't hire a graphic designer on the cheap: The Twitter fallout

Mat Dolphin's Tom Actman was by no means on his own in disagreeing with the idea of hiring graphic-designers "on the cheap". As mentioned above, PC Advisor experienced an impressive amount of abuse via the social network Twitter, condemning the initial article.

Alex Ashman, a designer based in Edinburgh tweeted this about the article (@little_pip) "WOW "How to hire a graphic-design pro, on the cheap » mtdlph.in/Syrfxo" Great way to insult & exploit designers @PCAdvisor…#ridiculous".

The feeling was echoed by Chris, a designer from Chorleywood (@TyrantLizardRex) "Sterling work @PCAdvisor Designers are like dogs, beat us with a stick & throw us a ball from time to time. Hacks."

While Nottingham based Graphic Designer Alexandra Lofthouse (@Loftio) has this to say "@PCAdvisor 99designs is a sure fire way to get a cheap and nasty logo. No respectable designer contributes to that website [tweet 1/2]...Furthermore it undervalues my work so much which I find pretty offensive [tweet 2/2]."

Why you shouldn't hire a graphic designer on the cheap: Article comments

Multiple people commented on the article itself, sharing similar views.

Kevin Walsh said: "I would not ask you and 5 other journalists to write a article for me and then only pay the one I wanted? That's why people have portfolios."

It seemed he is amongst friends. Guest said: "I completely disagree. Making a whole team of people work for free to compete for a small fee? "potentially land some clients??" Are you aware those people are working for free just so you can choose your design?"

And even more strongly, P Thoomas said: "100% agree with Kevin. All this does is take away work from the professional designers - who rely on that work to make a living - and will eventually force them to start charging less for their work because of sites like this. The reason designers and design studios charge the price they do is because that is what their work is worth, this completely devalues the time and skill required to design. Then there's the hundreds (thousands?!) of designers who spend hours designing for sites like this, naively thinking it will help them get more work, only to not get paid a penny and be no nearer getting work.

Finishing with the devastating: "Terrible article."

Why you shouldn't hire a graphic designer on the cheap: what do you think?

Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments field below this story, or on Twitter.

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