Respect People’s craft and their work


Respect People’s craft

I write this based on the recent experience of someone I know. She was really upset and I had to offer some encouragement on the matter. Apparently someone said some unkind words to her over a project.

Some days I will have a client or a prospective one look at something I have done and say something like; “Is THIS it?” Is this what you did that costs this amount? I can do this now, there is nothing to it.”

Such words come from a place of ignorance, ego and sometimes the unwillingness to pay what they should, as they believe it is not worth that fee. In fact, there are a lot of people and businesses that believe a designer is worth whatever they decide to give him. So you can have a talk on a project and the project owner says something like; “I cannot pay you this amount. This is what I am going to pay you, so let us start this project.”

First of all, that is actually rude and insulting. You do not speak to people that way and think that that is sensible negotiation. This person is bringing a skill you need, the least you could do is address them properly and not tell them what they should take from you then instruct them to start when no such agreement has been reached. Whenever someone does this, I end the conversation, as there is no point in continuing.

Back to the issue.

A good designer has taken the time to perfect his craft to the point you now see it, enjoy it and want to have it work in your favour. To think that because you saw something that looks (or actually is) simple means you can do it is another level of arrogance and insult.

You cannot.
You cannot and most likely will not.

It not only took this person a while to get to this point where he can make something look so seamless and simple, his mind is what made it possible. So how are you, a person who has not learned this at all not to mention taken the time he has, able to do the same?

Something as “simple” as aligning two different rows of text is a skill that one masters after having understood the principles of alignment, form and unity. There are people who have understood how to align multiple things on the same work space so well that by the time you take a mathematical or grid approach to break down the design, it looks flawless.

In Nigeria (I live here so I cannot speak of the world at large) we have such a sad, often outrageous and embarrassing view of professionals in their field. While it is very possible to gain some knowledge on what you are faced with, it is really not wise to think you are on par with someone who does this for a living. Not unless they are actually not good at their job.

Designers are not alone in this. Doctors face the same. Everybody is a doctor and knows better than them. Lawyers, Engineers, Teachers, Caterers, Writers, etc. Nigerians seem to have a knack for downplaying the skills and work experience of professionals they see and/or want to hire and sometimes it is all because they just do not want to pay the fee they are given.

Kindly refrain from putting down the person you speak to. It is tacky and unnecessary. You cannot do their job. If you could, you would not need them.

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