I recently wrote a blog post titled, Should I Use Canva for my Church? And to be honest it was hard for me to write that post as a professional graphics designer. Here is why: because graphic design is becoming a commodity that anyone can do at any price, and the industry has become a race to the bottom. But it was also difficult because of my personal insecurities as a designer. I have a lot to unwrap here so let’s get right to it.
No Degree, No Formal Education.
I do not have a degree in graphic communications. That’s right I am self-taught. This has nagged at me for years and only recently have I been able to push through it. In the industry of design years ago, you absolutely had to have a degree to be considered a professional. In my early days as a designer, I often felt separated from that group of qualified designers. This affected my confidence in my ability and even affected what I charged for my work. I learned graphic design out of a necessity working for a Christian ministry. But I was like a sponge and learned everything I could.
Till this day I have not stopped learning. I have met so many designers with degrees that quit learning after college and their work gets stuck in time. Over time I began to move beyond those insecurities as a gained experience in not only design, but marketing, branding, and so much more. Never stop learning.
The Tools of Design are No Longer Exclusive.
In the beginning, I thought the only thing that separated me from my clients and my ability to charge them for design work was that I had a copy of Photoshop and knew how to use it. But over time with the introduction of Creative Cloud, Canva, and other cheaper or free tools any 10-year-old could own a copy of photoshop. It became clear to me that what separates me from my clients is not the tools or how to use the tools. It’s the value I can bring to the table by having a deeper understanding of marketing, branding, how design affects the psychology of people. As I began to have a better understanding of the value I could bring to the table I slowly but surely became more confident in charging based on that value for my professional services.
But am I giving away the farm?
Am I giving away the farm by telling people they can do it themselves? Three years ago, maybe even a year ago I might have thought this, but I have come to realize that this is not the case. Helping people accomplish a simple task on their own such as designing social media graphics or even giving away social media graphics only increases my relationship with them as a client. The more I give away my knowledge and help people the more I build my reputation as an expert in my industry which in the end is more profitable than trying to hold onto all the cards so to speak. This was not an easy conclusion to come to but it is the correct conclusion.
Sure, on a certain level quality graphic design is going to become cheaper and easier for just about anyone. Graphic design is for everyone right? However, there will always be a need for someone who understands the deeper value of graphic communication, branding, and marketing that connects people to your message. This connection can only go so far with the easy templated designs offered by Canva. Before long even the level of design offered by Canva will become so overused that it will be hard to differentiate yourself from the rest of the crowd. This is where someone like myself can come in to help you create those deeper connections between your brand message and your audience.