Tip to graphic designers: consultants wanted

by Rob Toth 26 replies
Anyone with more than a week in the IM world under their belt knows that "graphic artists" are not hard to come by.

Sure, the quality and price and maybe even specialization will vary... and yes, of course, their services are valueable. (Thank you to all professional graphic artists, by the way!).

But there's one critical service that I don't see offered by any of them. And, yet, it's a valueable one.

And that's to provide basic consulting (or being an actual graphic DESIGNER), specifically if you are familiar with the niche.

What I mean by that is, I'm often left with the task of having to dig up and explain every single intricate detail of how I want my page to look. BUT, I'm not visually creative. So this means a lot of time invested into looking through my swap files and then more time devoted to a detailed email to explain it (I actually film a Camtasia video for my projects which has been appreciated by designers).

Still... I could just pay for someone to bring my design to life (that's an artist, not a designer) ... but I'd rather pay a premium to be able to bring someone in and say "here are 5 pages that I think work great, here's the message feel I'd like to convey visually, here's my target audience" and have that individual suggest everything from color schemes to imagery to fonts, layout etc.

THAT is worth premium pricing. It's similar to when you pull an interior decorator in the house. I could just buy the stuff and pay MOVERS to place them appropriately into the house... but what i need is someone who has seen a LOT of home designs and when I say "I want a modern-asian inspiration, with lots of open space, mostly dark metalic colors" etc they do the rest... they suggest paint colors, furniture, counter tops, little knick knacks etc.

But these days, it seeems all so-called graphic designers (again, all I'm finding is graphic ARTISTS) need every piece laid out before they move on a project. Not to mention, it's VERY RARE that I have an artist come back to me with an alternative suggestion.

YOU are the professional in this department (hopefully). So have a premium pricing added to your portfolio and invest some time looking at the most successful sites within your client's niche... (it helps if you also understand basics of what works from a marketing standpoint). But be willing to bring a detailed vision to your client vs. just putting together what he asks for.

And if YOU ever decide to offer this, make sure you contact me. Because if you do a good job as a graphic DESIGNER, I'll bring all the business from the current 7 graphic ARTISTS I have on my roster and bring them to YOU.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #consultants #designers #graphic #graphic design #tip #wanted
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  • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
    It just so happens.....
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    eCoverNinja - Sales Page Graphics & Layout Specialist
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Toth
    One bit of clarification...

    I've had the priviledge of working with some talented graphic artists and I've met plenty more who I simply can't bring work to as I already have too many artists in my rolodex.

    And I appreciate and absolutely VALUE the service they have provided for me. Their work has been great and often, well beyond their prices.

    Furthermore, I can appreciate that with the often dirt-cheap rates, most graphic artists simply can't invest the time to properly research the leading sites, keep learning what makes a site's design effective, build an extensive swap file and be able to fully consult for a client. For the low rates, it does NOT make sense.

    So I get it.

    All I'm suggesting is that while grahic artists are GREAT, I'm ready to partner with a graphic DESIGNER. In fact, even if THEIR only role is to suggest and create the design (and then pass the work to an artist), that job in itself is an important one.

    There are video game designers making a lot of money without touching a line of code. They think up the concept. Pitch it to their company. And then proceed to design (or work with a team to design) the elements of the game. The programmers and the artists then bring it to life.

    So either / or works for me... I'm just finding it hard to find someone who can do more than just draw out what I give to them. I need someone who can just on the phone, have Swap files and ideas ready and CONSULT me on what my page themes should look like, what my buttons should look like, what other "scruffys" and non-cookie cutter elements I can bring in... etc.

    But, to clarify, I do NOT want to discredit the importance of artists... I just know that some businesses are ready for more than just an artist. And YOU should think about filling that gap.
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    • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
      I should elaborate on my post... being cryptic isn't going to help at this time.

      While I don't promote the service, I've been lucky enough to work in the "design for print" market and also helping small businesses brand themselves. I feel that you're right, in a lot of regards - but clients like you are hard to come by.

      A lot of marketers want a quick, cheap job so that they can slap up a sales page and start making sales.

      I actually prefer it if the client says "right, there's the text I want - I prefer blue, get on with it..." I've got an iron jaw when it comes to feedback, so if what I come up with isn't to the client's taste - then we can thrash it out until we have a winner.

      A client that feels they *are* the designer generally ends up being trouble... too much info in the spec and I don't get the freedom I need to come up with something that:

      a) will sell or
      b) I'd be proud of

      There have been times where I've had to say "in my professional opinion, I really would advise against...."

      I guess I'm a frustrated "designer" at heart... should be, I've been designing on and off for years.

      So, those are the skills I will be taking to my "design" business, (coming soon)... however, I will still be doing the whole "minisite" thing.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexandre Valois
        Rob,

        I can totally see where you're coming from, and that's actually something that has been bugging me for a while too. Now that I'm planning a dual launch of my copywriting and re-launch of my design business I'm thinking of upgrading my design service to consulting and identity building as well.

        How many times as designers do we see the same product ideas without a clear USP, poor product titles, etc...

        You may have just confirmed my thoughts about the need for such a more "upscale" service in this market.
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      • Profile picture of the author Quilst
        I would probably never accepted that sort of job.

        The pay is too low...
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      • Profile picture of the author Rob Toth
        >> I have a feeling you are aiming this at me a little...
        Not at all. I actually sent the same "in case you want to chime in" email to a few other colleagues and past graphic artists I've worked with.

        But we can call our dealings as the "last straw" that made sit up and realize that I'm no longer at the point of wanting to direct it all... I want a professional who has the creative eye and can take the helm. AND THAT is worth premium pricing.


        >> You emailed me with a 10 minute video specifically stating what you wanted. With clients like that its almost pointless to try to suggest anything as they have it deep set into their minds what they want.
        I disagree but can understand the misinterpretation.

        What I detest is wasting time emailing back and forth to explain something that I can just film.

        Past artists have commented that this has worked wonders for illustrating "my vision".

        But my vision is never set in stone. It's just "here's some stuff that I think will work... you're in charge... let me know how to proceed"

        And the video is a time investment on my part. I do it to make sure I don't waste the artists time in having to send a dozen questions back my way for clarification.

        I ALSO do it because when I leave most artists to it, I end up with pretty much cookie cutter results. It's as if artists (and some are very talented, much like yourself) aren't willing to break the norm.

        I like your work because a lot of it DOES stand out. Hence I got in touch. but, again, this is just a general tip for all graphic artists and is not aimed at you by any means.


        >> Nowhere during our dealings were I ever given an opportunity to express my ideas for your project.
        You're the professional! And I don't cry when a professional puts me in my place. So whether it's you or any other artist/designer reading this... I beg to differ... I'm not paying for a yes man. Just like if you hire someone for another aspect of YOUR business, you don't want someone who will just tell you that everything is rosy.

        If you have another vision, jump in. With our case specificaly it would be "Rob, thanks for the overly detailed video. Stopped watching it half way through. Here's why... I think your idea is good but not great. Consider this instead... blah blah"

        You ALWAYS have the floor as the professional. I simply get veto power (as the client).


        >> If you havent found any designers who dont offer this service you have been VERY unlucky and you perhaps have to look at how you give the specs to the designers.
        The "luck" comment aside (as I don't believe in the notion), again please dont' take this as directed at you. I'm replying publicly as your repsonse will likely help other service providers.

        And as a rebutal to what you just said... I asked for a 10 minute opinion/feedback session from you which was ignored. True or true? I can appreciate a busy schedule... but here you referenced a 3 hour brainstorming session. THAT is what I want and THAT wasn't in a "here's what i can do for you ____" package.

        So if ANY artist reading this DOES offer that, make it known. Sometimes all a client wants is a silly ebook cover. Great. Other times, they want expert advice from someone willing to lead.


        >> I understand you are a professional and know what you want, but if you would have perseveered a little longer with me you would have had EXACTLY the service you are looking for.
        Great. Sounds like I have a reason to harass you (and Karl!!) for future jobs. But, one more time, the detailed specs are a time cost to me. I can skip them. But I have no idea how tossing you a 2 paragraph email will produce a non cookie cutter high quality, ideally matched design that I need. Again though... my "vision" (and likely that of other clients) is entirely flexible. I'm doing the best I can with the tools I have (pages I've seen, swap files I keep, marketing experience I have). But I think it would be rare that you find a client who wouldn't be more than eager to hear an alternative direction.



        And Karl,

        >> It just so happens.....
        No... I caught your cryptic message. And you're on my radar. Hope to speak to either/both of you for your services in the future. Charge me more if needed, but please step in for the design role where possible.


        (hope this thread is of use to others as well)
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      • Profile picture of the author Rachel Goodchild
        Originally Posted by KarlWarren View Post

        I should elaborate on my post... being cryptic isn't going to help at this time.

        While I don't promote the service, I've been lucky enough to work in the "design for print" market and also helping small businesses brand themselves. I feel that you're right, in a lot of regards - but clients like you are hard to come by.

        A lot of marketers want a quick, cheap job so that they can slap up a sales page and start making sales.

        I actually prefer it if the client says "right, there's the text I want - I prefer blue, get on with it..." I've got an iron jaw when it comes to feedback, so if what I come up with isn't to the client's taste - then we can thrash it out until we have a winner.

        A client that feels they *are* the designer generally ends up being trouble... too much info in the spec and I don't get the freedom I need to come up with something that:

        a) will sell or
        b) I'd be proud of

        There have been times where I've had to say "in my professional opinion, I really would advise against...."

        I guess I'm a frustrated "designer" at heart... should be, I've been designing on and off for years.

        So, those are the skills I will be taking to my "design" business, (coming soon)... however, I will still be doing the whole "minisite" thing.
        Maybe that's why I always LOVE getting you to design for me Karl (not that I have recently-shame on me! Really need to get the ball rolling on some projects...)
        I like to outsource to someone I can trust. And you are one of those people
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  • Profile picture of the author graphicsgenie
    Rob,

    I have a feeling you are aiming this at me a little...

    If I can use our dealings to illustrate what happened. You emailed me with a 10 minute video specifically stating what you wanted. With clients like that its almost pointless to try to suggest anything as they have it deep set into their minds what they want.

    Nowhere during our dealings were I ever given an opportunity to express my ideas for your project. I have many clients who I brainstorm their projects with them, I could name names, big launches that did really well. A current client (product not yet released) changed his entire theme after one of our 3 hour uncharged brainstorming sessions.

    If you havent found any designers who dont offer this service you have been VERY unlucky and you perhaps have to look at how you give the specs to the designers.

    Out of say 300 minisites we have created I would say no more than 10 designs have been laid out for us by the client.

    I understand you are a professional and know what you want, but if you would have perseveered a little longer with me you would have had EXACTLY the service you are looking for.

    Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author ecoverartist
    Rob,

    You know what...being given creative freedom is the kind of project I *dream* of. I love clients who can give me some short specs, a kind of idea they want and then let me have at it. The more unique and interesting the niche, the better.

    Not that I'm tired of doing internet marketing sites, but everyone wants the same "fancy car + flying money + nice houses". I don't mind it, but it's been done. Now, your Buy Now Wizard site on the other hand, is an excellent example. That was a fun mascot to do and I think it really got people's attention.

    The reason I havent offered the service before is because I don't want clients to think that their suggestions are worthless. Some people have to have absolute control over every little detail. The end result is that you get a green background with pink text and wonder why your sales are suffering.

    Please...let me help you (= all of you). This is seriously the kind of thing I live for. Creative projects with total artistic freedom are what fires me up and reminds me of why I started my business!
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    • Profile picture of the author LivingCovers
      Originally Posted by ecoverartist View Post

      Rob,

      Please...let me help you (= all of you). This is seriously the kind of thing I live for. Creative projects with total artistic freedom are what fires me up and reminds me of why I started my business!
      It's the same for me also. My creativity is hampered when a client continually says he wants it this way and that way without giving me free reign over his project...I remember recently a client i worked for whom i had to make up to 7 revisions for yet wasn't satisfied. Eventually, i had to send his package to him and he edited the letters he wanted seen on his ecover, yet it wasn't as professional as it sh'ld be. I think some just intentionally prove to be stubborn.

      Geez...and i thot i was the only one going thru such stress. This is an interesting thread, Rob.

      Kindest regards,

      Olatunde.
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      • Profile picture of the author Keith Boisvert
        Good thread. I really enjoyed Toms reply.

        The main reason I stopped doing Graphics is for the lack of creativity and price cutting.

        In this industry you almost have to be an artist not a designer. There are very many super talented artists on this forum alone, never mind the graphic forums. So an overwhelming supply, with not as much of a demand draws the prices down.

        When prices go down, artists must pump out work to keep food on the table. umping out work doesn't leave much time for your creative juices to flow. As it is most porbably make about $20 an hour if they are lucky. And site owners are happy to pay that knowing that they are in the drivers seat.

        So where does that leave the artists? I don't know too many artists that wouldn't love to have the creative license to go crazy and design something they wanted. But would they get paid for it? Probably not.

        I had 90% of my clients explain every detail of what they wanted. This made my job easier. Even then...half the time, if I followed their insstructions to a "T", they would turn around and change everything because they were wrong and didn't like it.

        I did have 10% of my clients that always seem to be launching some weird ass project that required ME to be completely creative. I remember one job where I had to draw out a cartoon figure on paper, scan it in to my computer, and use Illustrator to outline and color in. I had to hunt down tons of images and splice them all together for a collage background. That was probably the funnest job I ever did. The price?...$475. And that was just for that artwork. That didn't include the site work. How many people would pay that on this forum for IM stuff?

        Low price expectations and "cookie cutter" IM sites along with low barrier of entry force artists to pump out work.

        All in all, you get what you pay for. There are many super talented artists here that more than likely, given the opportunity can be DESIGNERS. Just give them the chance...and expect to pay for it.

        JMO

        keith
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        • Profile picture of the author junker86
          I agree with the other posters. There are very few clients who will let you use your own expertise to design them something.

          Whenever I have had that, they're simply waiting till the first draft before they suddenly know the exact colors they want and what elements they want to have included.
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  • Profile picture of the author Didier Faucher
    Rob, I don't know you, and have never worked with you, so there's nothing personal here.

    My own experience shows that 75% of SOHO's and small businesses customers don't know exactly what they want but... they give detailed instructions. "Blue text here, large font here, dark background, etc." Or they comment the work done saying "this is not good, I want this instead". Why? They feel it like that. No special reason.

    They don't know design, but they give their opinion like they were pros...

    And they want the work done yesterday, and most importantly VERY CHEAP.
    Not all of them, again, but most of them.

    Before working, I always give my point of view, do a lot of research, do market research, ask questions, etc., but most of the time customers don't listen to me. They say "yes, why not, but try my idea first". Yes, a blue text against a red background is a VERY GOOD idea!

    And when I do the design according to their specifications, which most invariably is ugly and doesn't serve its purpose, they say "hmmm... this is a 'strange' design" (they mean to say "you're not a good designer" - should I say "man, you're a bad customer"? )

    Larger companies are easier to deal with, and they're not affraid to invest money. The bosses listen to their emloyees and freelancers they hire, and trust them, because they know these people know their stuff, otherwise they would fire them or would not hire them. They also know a good design that serves its purpose takes a lot of time to produce.

    Design consulting won't work with small companies, because most of them want very cheap designs done in no time, and are not ready to listen the advices designers give; there's no or little freedom.

    Also, they change their mind all the time. One day they want a blue background, 3 days later they want green, 2 weeks later they want yellow, oh no grey is better.

    All that is annoying, frustrating, and time consumming.

    That's ok when you have 1 or 2 customers like that from time to time. But when it comes to a level where it happens most of the time for years, that's very depressing.

    Again, that's my own experience as a freelancer, in the country I live, France - the french might be "special" for that, I'm not sure.

    Best,

    Didier
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    • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
      Originally Posted by Didier Faucher View Post

      Again, that's my own experience as a freelancer, in the country I live, France - the french might be "special" for that, I'm not sure.
      No, I can assure you it's the same here too...

      But Didier... green text on red looks great!!!
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      • Profile picture of the author Didier Faucher
        Originally Posted by KarlWarren View Post

        No, I can assure you it's the same here too...
        Maybe the brits are as special as the french are. :p

        But Didier... green text on red looks great!!!
        So Karl you don't know red text on green (the opposite) is known to be more attractive?

        You surprise me.

        I suggest you read the Designum Facile Princeps codex again!

        Didier___ _
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    • Profile picture of the author Quilst
      Originally Posted by Didier Faucher View Post

      Rob, I don't know you, and have never worked with you, so there's nothing personal here.

      My own experience shows that 75% of SOHO's and small businesses customers don't know exactly what they want but... they give detailed instructions. "Blue text here, large font here, dark background, etc." Or they comment the work done saying "this is not good, I want this instead". Why? They feel it like that. No special reason.

      They don't know design, but they give their opinion like they were pros...

      And they want the work done yesterday, and most importantly VERY CHEAP.
      Not all of them, again, but most of them.

      Before working, I always give my point of view, do a lot of research, do market research, ask questions, etc., but most of the time customers don't listen to me. They say "yes, why not, but try my idea first". Yes, a blue text against a red background is a VERY GOOD idea!

      And when I do the design according to their specifications, which most invariably is ugly and doesn't serve its purpose, they say "hmmm... this is a 'strange' design" (they meant to say "you're not a good designer" - should I say "man, you're a bad customer"? )

      Larger companies are easier to deal with, and they're not affraid to invest money. The bosses listen to their emloyees and freelancers they hire, and trust them, because they know these people know their stuff, otherwise they would fire them or would not hire them.

      Design consulting won't work with small companies, because most of them want very cheap designs done in no time, and are not ready to listen the advices designers give.

      Also, they change their mind all the time. One day they want a blue background, 3 days later they want green, 2 weeks later they want yellow, oh no grey is better.

      All that is annoying, frustrating, and time consumming.

      That's ok when you have 1 or 2 customers like that from time to time. But when it comes to a level where it happens most of the time for years, that's very depressing.

      Again, that's my own experience as a freelancer, in the country I live, France - the french might be "special" for that, I'm not sure.

      Best,

      Didier
      That is the exact reason I stopped freelancing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Didier Faucher
    Just a side note. On the other hand, when I work with someone who knows design, that's 700% ok to produce exactly what he or she wants.

    Didier
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    • Profile picture of the author graphicsgenie
      Originally Posted by Didier Faucher View Post

      And when I do the design according to their specifications, which most invariably is ugly and doesn't serve its purpose, they say "hmmm... this is a 'strange' design" (they mean to say "you're not a good designer" - should I say "man, you're a bad customer"? )

      Larger companies are easier to deal with, and they're not affraid to invest money. The bosses listen to their emloyees and freelancers they hire, and trust them, because they know these people know their stuff, otherwise they would fire them or would not hire them. They also know a good design that serves its purpose takes a lot of time to produce.

      Best,

      Didier
      Good stuff Didier,

      reminder to clients, you choose certain designers becuase of their flair, you pay premium prices, let them loose.....

      Thanks
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      • Profile picture of the author Rob Toth
        Great to see the discussion grow.

        And agreed:

        reminder to clients, you choose certain designers becuase of their flair, you pay premium prices, let them loose.....
        Right on!

        I'd add a note to designers/artists ... YOU are the expert, feel free to step up to the plate and take the lead. OR, if it costs you too much time, let the client know "by the way, I can come back to you with a few of my ideas and give you a different concept for X dollars".

        Prove to them (with your portfolio, suggestion by email/Skype/phone, client testimonials) that you can do more than just create an eye popping version of what the client thought up and I think you'll find that even 'small business owners' will happily make the investment at times.
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        • Profile picture of the author TheRichJerksNet
          I have always done my business this same way ... I would assume most developers do also.. I guess that is what I get for assuming.. lol

          James
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  • Profile picture of the author tomw
    To Rob original poster,

    Designers are just the same as any other professionals.

    So...

    ...any good designer or art director is actually out there producing great work, in the public eye, winning awards or at least vying for or dreaming of them. There is no comparable feeling of professional pride for a decent designer than the fondling of a printers proof of your work, shortly followed by actually seeing it on a shelf, on an adshel, in a magazine, up on a hoarding or on TV Websites just don't carry the same kudos. Period.

    In fact, the reality is that those that have even a modicum of talent would not touch "IM design" with a bargepole for more reasons than I can list. But a few of these would include the absence of any aesthetic merit. A very crude, gaudy and distasteful typographic treatment of hilariously ridiculous attempts at copywriting, coupled with despicably trite visual imagery offers absolutely no real creative satisfaction to people who are essentially artistically driven.

    (On the subject of copywriting. I'm sick and tired of hearing alleged copywriting gurus calling themselves the "10 million dollar copywriter" or the "number one copywriter in the world" just because they wrote a headline and some body copy for a launch! Christ, I have launched everything from Mercedez Benz Cars to Coors Beers. I guess if I added up every sale that every company that I have ever been a part of advertising a product for over the years from junior art director to creative director to strategic planner to marketing consultant I should be calling MYSELF the 100 billion dollar creative. I mean obviously as I wrote the headlines for or art directed or planned all those ads I am surely personally and solely responsible for all of those sales. Haha. Muppets.)

    Any way back to the point, another reason is the fact that the rates are a joke. Even when I was a junior art director in the late eighties I was paid over $100 an hour in London ad agencies, but IM types expect the moon on a stick for a tuppence!

    For a designer the real kicks come from branding. The IM world does not even know what branding is yet. It really is still stuck the wild west..IM is what we can call "peddling wares" as opposed to marketing them. Branding is not "mavenship" or sticking your ugly mug on everything and using the same colour now and again, regardless of what alleged IM gurus think. I mean what do they know? Where did they study design or marketing? (Before you ask I studied at Goldsmith's College London and the Royal College!)

    Believe me when I say that the future success of IM is held tightly in the grip of real branding. The closest I have seen to real branding so far is Stompernet's recent launch, but even this was still based in the ridiculously amateur marketing TACTICS that you should all know by now, as opposed to a marketing STRATEGY. By way of analogy, when have you ever seen a TV ad for, say, a Mercedes SLK where the voice over says, hurry only 27 cars left and if you purchase this vehicle during this once in a lifetime fire sale you can get this car worth 50,000 dollars for just $10,000, plus we'll throw in a Rolls Royce AND a Bentley worth $500,000. See what I mean. IM is still at the peddling stage, like those hooch sellers in their wagons on the plains in the 1900s.

    Possibly the most hardened marketing Guru around is Mike Filsaime, I have a lot of respect for him, but when real marketers where working with say, Hyundai in their worldwide launch, or even just US launch strategy, he was on the forecourt or lot trying to peddle the actual cars one at a time or even just a little gas You see the difference?

    Selling a million dollars worth of useless ebooks doesn't make these guys experts in all areas or any areas related to conducting business on or offline. You know if you got out of the house, away from your computer and spent an hour in a library reading a real book on design or marketing you'd learn so much more REAL AND USEFUL stuff about marketing than in a couple of thousand dollars worth of ebooks.

    I mean how many people will have queued up for another crappy, buggy, thrown together, must have script today just because of the hype?

    Or how many have done this for the last three big launches? What did you learn? Did you implement any of it? Did you feel like you got value for money? Did it make you rich? What else could you do with $1500 or $2000 dollars?

    So again back to the original thread, any designer with any real talent is too busy participating in the real world of design or advertising or even web design than to join the bottom feeders scrabbling about trying to convince IM newbies to pay 100 bucks for a complete website!

    Also if you want a decent graphic designer to work with you why are you looking here? Surely you should be looking where the graphic designers hang out...not where those desperate to make a meager crust from IM design hang out...as the saying goes, pay peanuts get monkeys...or should that be pay 100 bucks get a gawdy header, a footer, an ebook cover and some other useless crap. If you want branding with longevity and real purpose then look elsewhere, my friend.

    Ever wondered why ALL IM stuff looks the same? Well now you know...

    Thomas

    P.S. don't get me started on the devaluation of the art of photography in marketing and advertising!

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    • Profile picture of the author Rachel Goodchild
      Originally Posted by tomw View Post

      To Rob original poster,

      Designers are just the same as any other professionals.

      So...

      ...any good designer or art director is actually out there producing great work, in the public eye, winning awards or at least vying for or dreaming of them. There is no comparable feeling of professional pride for a decent designer than the fondling of a printers proof of your work, shortly followed by actually seeing it on a shelf, on an adshel, in a magazine, up on a hoarding or on TV Websites just don't carry the same kudos. Period.

      In fact, the reality is that those that have even a modicum of talent would not touch "IM design" with a bargepole for more reasons than I can list. But a few of these would include the absence of any aesthetic merit. A very crude, gaudy and distasteful typographic treatment of hilariously ridiculous attempts at copywriting, coupled with despicably trite visual imagery offers absolutely no real creative satisfaction to people who are essentially artistically driven.

      (On the subject of copywriting. I'm sick and tired of hearing alleged copywriting gurus calling themselves the "10 million dollar copywriter" or the "number one copywriter in the world" just because they wrote a headline and some body copy for a launch! Christ, I have launched everything from Mercedez Benz Cars to Coors Beers. I guess if I added up every sale that every company that I have ever been a part of advertising a product for over the years from junior art director to creative director to strategic planner to marketing consultant I should be calling MYSELF the 100 billion dollar creative. I mean obviously as I wrote the headlines for or art directed or planned all those ads I am surely personally and solely responsible for all of those sales. Haha. Muppets.)

      Any way back to the point, another reason is the fact that the rates are a joke. Even when I was a junior art director in the late eighties I was paid over $100 an hour in London ad agencies, but IM types expect the moon on a stick for a tuppence!

      For a designer the real kicks come from branding. The IM world does not even know what branding is yet. It really is still stuck the wild west..IM is what we can call "peddling wares" as opposed to marketing them. Branding is not "mavenship" or sticking your ugly mug on everything and using the same colour now and again, regardless of what alleged IM gurus think. I mean what do they know? Where did they study design or marketing? (Before you ask I studied at Goldsmith's College London and the Royal College!)

      Believe me when I say that the future success of IM is held tightly in the grip of real branding. The closest I have seen to real branding so far is Stompernet's recent launch, but even this was still based in the ridiculously amateur marketing TACTICS that you should all know by now, as opposed to a marketing STRATEGY. By way of analogy, when have you ever seen a TV ad for, say, a Mercedes SLK where the voice over says, hurry only 27 cars left and if you purchase this vehicle during this once in a lifetime fire sale you can get this car worth 50,000 dollars for just $10,000, plus we'll throw in a Rolls Royce AND a Bentley worth $500,000. See what I mean. IM is still at the peddling stage, like those hooch sellers in their wagons on the plains in the 1900s.

      Possibly the most hardened marketing Guru around is Mike Filsaime, I have a lot of respect for him, but when real marketers where working with say, Hyundai in their worldwide launch, or even just US launch strategy, he was on the forecourt or lot trying to peddle the actual cars one at a time or even just a little gas You see the difference?

      Selling a million dollars worth of useless ebooks doesn't make these guys experts in all areas or any areas related to conducting business on or offline. You know if you got out of the house, away from your computer and spent an hour in a library reading a real book on design or marketing you'd learn so much more REAL AND USEFUL stuff about marketing than in a couple of thousand dollars worth of ebooks.

      I mean how many people will have queued up for another crappy, buggy, thrown together, must have script today just because of the hype?

      Or how many have done this for the last three big launches? What did you learn? Did you implement any of it? Did you feel like you got value for money? Did it make you rich? What else could you do with $1500 or $2000 dollars?

      So again back to the original thread, any designer with any real talent is too busy participating in the real world of design or advertising or even web design than to join the bottom feeders scrabbling about trying to convince IM newbies to pay 100 bucks for a complete website!

      Also if you want a decent graphic designer to work with you why are you looking here? Surely you should be looking where the graphic designers hang out...not where those desperate to make a meager crust from IM design hang out...as the saying goes, pay peanuts get monkeys...or should that be pay 100 bucks get a gawdy header, a footer, an ebook cover and some other useless crap. If you want branding with longevity and real purpose then look elsewhere, my friend.

      Ever wondered why ALL IM stuff looks the same? Well now you know...

      Thomas

      P.S. don't get me started on the devaluation of the art of photography in marketing and advertising!

      ok...now I'm in love
      Thomas you've summed up as a designer how I feel as a writer- thank you!
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Toth
    Appreciate the replies. Couldn't make it through the whole post Thomas but I caught this:

    >> Ever wondered why ALL IM stuff looks the same? Well now you know...

    Hardly the case. My Swap file is proof of that. "IM stuff" is no different then "dog training stuff" or "professional puddle jumping stuff". And, in fact, I'd assume (and I'm sure I'm right) that most artists work in a long list of niches ... which means they can easily bring their experience of layouts and design from a different niche and make an "IM" page pop more.

    Remember... the objective here is not to make a page or related graphic look "pretty" or win awards with it. It's to generate sales which means it must convey a message and grab the attention of the visitor. And when it helps to pull in a half-million dollar product launch, THAT is the real award an artist can take pride in.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomw
    Rob,

    Funny how the last website I planned and oversaw the design of contributes fundamentally to the bottom line of a billion dollar company, recruits customers, creates advocates and doesn't even attempt to make a single sale of their product. This is the power of real design and branding.

    Your thinking is too small. We paid more than half a million pounds not dollars for some widgets and games for the site. This is the difference between designers who work in real world branding and advertising, and those armed with a few photoshop actions, freeware typefaces and a one way ticket to istockphotoville who *call themselves* designers

    If you think that a real designer is more interested in making a paltry half a million dollars for his client than being publicly recognised by his peers as a great designer by winning awards you are sorely naive and disillusioned.

    Also if in future you choose to take issue with my posts in such a self aggrandisingly dismissive fashion, at least have the courtesy to actually read them.

    And for the record, the website is

    carling.com

    and yes it did win some awards.

    Since around Christmas last year I have taken time off to work unpaid with the launch of a charitable organisation, but the last real creative planning contract I had was for Chanel's J'adore...next time your wife drags you into a department store and you drool over some large POS images of a semi-naked Charlize Theron, or you are stopped in your tracks by the TV ads, you have me to thank...and yes of course I was at the shoot

    Why am I here at the WF? Because I make almost five times my disgustingly exhorbitant rates as a creative and strategic consultant through affiliate marketing on the side and I still learn a little something almost every time I visit this forum by paying attention to what others write, rather than focussing on making myself sound like I know it all.

    Take note.

    I love what I do in the advertising and design world. It is my life. But my skills in that world mean I can use them online to clean up with almost no real effort to the tune of much more than a laughable half a million dollars...2 dollars to every GBPound you know

    This allows me to pick and choose the creative jobs I do and work with the clients I choose to. In effect, my affiliate marketing efforts, or rather the guys carrying out my affiliate marketing efforts on my behalf have created a life for me of complete freedom. Yes of course I pay them, but I am eternally grateful for everything they do and they know it

    Many successful people frequent this site. Many with much more knowledge and insight than you or I. You would do well to maybe stop and listen to what they have to say before you jump in and insult them. I say this as I have in the past been as guilty of this as anyone...

    Thomas
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  • Profile picture of the author ecoverartist
    I think why Tom and other designers and copywriters might be frustrated with this forum in general is because people are accustomed to getting things cheaper here. A *lot* cheaper. And for a lot of people just starting out (like I did with my copywriting), you start out small and work your way up - in terms of pricing, clients you attract, and even the quality of your work.

    As for ebook covers. I think sometime back in 1995, someone said it was a good idea to design everything with red text on a blue background in the Impact font. So now everybody wants it that way because it "stands out".

    If a client suggests a design idea to me, I'll do my best to incorporate those things. I do have one standard though, and that's to make the book cover look as close as possible to something on a bookshelf. The more realistic, the better.

    I have yet to see a blue book with red letters in the Impact font...
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    • Profile picture of the author LivingCovers
      Originally Posted by ecoverartist View Post

      I think why Tom and other designers and copywriters might be frustrated with this forum in general is because people are accustomed to getting things cheaper here. A *lot* cheaper. And for a lot of people just starting out (like I did with my copywriting), you start out small and work your way up - in terms of pricing, clients you attract, and even the quality of your work.
      Can you imagine, there was a guy here in the forum sometime ago that put out an offer to create a complete minisite for a meagre $27 for Warrior Members??? I thot he was joking, but he then stated that he needed the money fast to settle some family problems. If i'd known he was that serious, i would have kicked his 'butt out'.
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