Consider this: you are going to be starting a restaurant; and you’re thinking, look, I don’t have a lot of money but I have some software (Photoshop, etc.), why should I pay someone to do something I could do myself?
Photoshop (or any software) and a scalpel are basically the same, you could butcher something if you don’t know what you are doing.
Let’s think about this from another angle: do you have some basic building tools? How about if you spent some money on a medical grade scalpel? I bet it would save you a lot of money to build your own furniture for your restaurant; but would it be functional or look good? How about that scalpel? Could you potentially use it to perform surgery on yourself if you were injured? Of course not, the very idea is ridiculous. You have neither the education, additional tools, or the ability to use the tool you have purchased. You would obviously hire a wood crafter to build your custom furniture or go to a surgeon to operate on you. Both people are qualified professionals educated in their area of expertise.
Now you’re thinking that it doesn’t seem like a designer creating a logo is anywhere near the same as a surgeon performing surgery. However, at its most basic, it is exactly the same. The tools are just that; they are tools. You have to know how to use them to produce the best result. Whether that is building an awesome table, fixing a broken arm, or creating a logo that will draw people to your business.
In the restaurant scenario, you expect that people will come to your eatery over the competition because of your experience and expertise in the realm of cooking. You trust that your clients and potential customers will pay for your expertise in your service or product, because you are proficient in your field. In the same way, a graphic designer expects that people will go to them for their knowledge and pay for a valuable service that they provide. A designer’s services are an investment, not an expense, and a professional design will help set you apart from your competition, and make you money in the long run (maybe even the short run).
I believe that simply owning a tool of any kind does not make one an expert. In virtually every other area of expertise you pay a professional for many different services. You would never consider doing any number of different things yourself (plumbing, etc). And even if you would rather find a YouTube video and try to do it yourself, there is always the chance that you will lose money on tools and have to call in a pro eventually. When it comes to something like a logo, you might make something for your business with fonts and colors and graphics that you like; but a real designer will know which of these things will be most effective for you.
Software is not all you need to create an effective logo or design. Simply following a tutorial video only will only show you how to use the tools; it doesn’t give you the ability to know what design decisions to make. Professional designers are not great at what they do because of the tools they have at their disposal. Great design is not something that simply owning a tool will give you. So what does a professional designer have beyond the physical tools that makes them qualified? It’s called design sense. So what is design sense and how do you get it? Stay tuned for my next post…