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Thread: The Graphic Design Thread. Frustrations, murder instincts and other creative feelings

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    By the methane lakes Bloody Grace's Avatar
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    The Graphic Design Thread. Frustrations, murder instincts and other creative feelings

    I think there were other GD threads on Unf but the ones I've seen were all about stuff that was too specific, or started after a particular question. I know there's a few graphic designers on the board and, especially the recent discussions on MTF, we could use a space to rant and confront ourselves.

    I have studied graphic design and photography in highschool because I wanted to become a comic artist. Yeah, I know, WHY? I was actually into photography back then, and I joined that school because I fancied the idea to become a photographer. What happened is that now I kinda hate photography (at a professional level, at least) and I kinda hate graphic design too. I do both for work, but I try to mix them with other kinds of work, so I mostly do photo reportages for events and newspapers, and my graphic design work is limited to mostly flyers, posters and business cards. I don't like it, but it's a job that doesn't require too much thinking and I can save my mental energies for stuff I actually care about (I do a lot of other stuff, because I'm cursed with curiosity). I realized I don't like to put my creativity at work for others, I feel like it's a waste of time because I have personal projects I really care about that I want to prioritize. So I take those works that require me to be a technician with a strong knowledge about graphic stuff. I'm ok when I need to choose and assemble stuff, I HATE it when the job requires me to draw anything from zero.

    I HATE logo design. It's probably the thing I hate the most about graphic design (while typography is the thing I love the most. I'd spend the whole day looking at fonts). Unfortunately, this month I have been approached by the unprecedented amount of 3 simultaneous clients asking me to design them a logo. I was like, ok, it's money, let's try to make them happy. One client wanted me to do the handmade redraw of an image they already had used as a logo (I think they had taken it from Google) and I tried to tell them that:
    1- that wouldn't be a logo, but an illustration (so $$$)
    2- there's nothing creative about just copying stuff made by someone else
    I told them how much I wanted for the job (which I didn't want to take) and they have yet to write me back. They're good people but they are used to having people doing stuff for them for free or in exchange for bed and food at their hostel. I like to earn and pay all my taxes on it (yes I'm italian and I pay all my taxes, amazing).

    Another client if a friend of the new girlfriend of my friend, who is a baker. She approached me asking for something "chocolatey" or "chocolate-ish", an icon that she could put on her products and packagings. I asked her to tell me more about her business and she replied "I'm not sure". Nice. I made her 3 drafts that I thought would suit a bakery (I don't know if she has a shop or she works from home, I couldn't manage to get ANY info) using palettes that would include brown and some pinks because she requested that it had some lively colors, and sent them to her. She replied with "Hi, Alessia, the drafts are nice but when I said "chocolatey" I meant that I wanted, like, a cocoa bean dripping chocolate with a cocoa flower in the background. Something like that, I guess". I'm trying to come up with something, but the whole thing feels so redundant to me that I can't get inspired to do anything. I'm trying to understand if the money she'll be giving to me (which will be more than what I have initially told her, so I'm not sure she'll be willing to pay for that) are worth the bother. The problem here is that most clients who ask me for a logo want it for what, 100€? I pay 25% in taxes, and when it takes me more than 3 days of work I'm already losing money. I can't be ok to make logos for actual 70€, I can't pay for my equipment and time with works like these. So I'm really considering to tell her that I need to double the price because she was unclear at the beginning, so that she'll refuse and disappear.

    I got used to clients forgetting to tell me stuff to put into flyers and BCs, writing me stuff in separate emails sent at 2 hours intervals, changing their minds, and I can live with that. But ugly logo requests... no. Once I did drafts for 2 months for a guy who wanted a logo that resembled "birth, life, the rising sun, origin, the birth of Jesus, a vagina. And it must have stripes, it must be beyond minimal, something never seen before, innovative". He wanted it for free, at one point I told him to fuck off. I still have his amazing emails.

    So I'm not sure if I need to just refuse such jobs, or if I need to stay strong and do what I can.
    Just to be clear, I have an editorial company and I mostly work in local journalism. My biggest client is a highschool for which we do press office and we teach the students how we do our job, then we work for a few local associations. What I do is to care about everything that has to do with visuals, and I'm actually paid more to be a social media manager than a graphic designer. It is a very frustrating world.
    My website! LOOK, ART!1
    A certain darkness is needed to see the stars - Under a warm tuscan sun

  2. #2
    werewolves, not swear-wolves Chalk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloody Grace View Post

    Another client if a friend of the new girlfriend of my friend, who is a baker. She approached me asking for something "chocolatey" or "chocolate-ish", an icon that she could put on her products and packagings. I asked her to tell me more about her business and she replied "I'm not sure". Nice. I made her 3 drafts that I thought would suit a bakery (I don't know if she has a shop or she works from home, I couldn't manage to get ANY info) using palettes that would include brown and some pinks because she requested that it had some lively colors, and sent them to her. She replied with "Hi, Alessia, the drafts are nice but when I said "chocolatey" I meant that I wanted, like, a cocoa bean dripping chocolate with a cocoa flower in the background. Something like that, I guess". I'm trying to come up with something, but the whole thing feels so redundant to me that I can't get inspired to do anything. I'm trying to understand if the money she'll be giving to me (which will be more than what I have initially told her, so I'm not sure she'll be willing to pay for that) are worth the bother. The problem here is that most clients who ask me for a logo want it for what, 100€? I pay 25% in taxes, and when it takes me more than 3 days of work I'm already losing money. I can't be ok to make logos for actual 70€, I can't pay for my equipment and time with works like these. So I'm really considering to tell her that I need to double the price because she was unclear at the beginning, so that she'll refuse and disappear.
    I think I read maybe hundreds of versions of this story at clients from hell. People can be idiots and think that "it just takes five minutes". I think that if you have the freedom to pick clients, then yes, you don't have to work with them. It's better for your sanity.

    I'm not a trained graphic designer, mostly self taught, but went to school for/of(?) arts (mostly paint, sketch, history), so the few things I've done is just for myself, close friends and family - and the latter never again. Nothing bad, since it's just a hobby for me and it's something about parents that whatever they say feels like a thousand times worse than it is.

  3. #3
    By the methane lakes Bloody Grace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
    I think I read maybe hundreds of versions of this story at clients from hell. People can be idiots and think that "it just takes five minutes". I think that if you have the freedom to pick clients, then yes, you don't have to work with them. It's better for your sanity.
    Yeah, I think I'll just tell her that it's too expensive for her tiny wallet.
    Btw, I had not visited that website for a while and wow, it's so true that it makes you feel understood and less alone.

    I'm not a trained graphic designer, mostly self taught, but went to school for/of(?) arts (mostly paint, sketch, history), so the few things I've done is just for myself, close friends and family - and the latter never again. Nothing bad, since it's just a hobby for me and it's something about parents that whatever they say feels like a thousand times worse than it is.
    I have an acquired aunt who kept asking me to do stuff for her, some of which was not even that ethical (like modifying an illustration made by an actual artist for and donated to her non profit association) and I have never done anything, because when the requests were acceptable, I'm sure she would've never paid me. Also, she didn't even come to my wedding and went to Florence instead, so fuck her. Family is the worst client ever.
    Last edited by Bloody Grace; 05-20-2017 at 02:25 PM.
    My website! LOOK, ART!1
    A certain darkness is needed to see the stars - Under a warm tuscan sun

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