Originally from Toronto ON Canada, Grace Visconti
is a graphic designer (print and web), published magazine
writer, and shiatsu therapist. Her company Eagleheartdynamic
has focused on creative solutions for independent and
small business owners since moving to Calgary, AB.
Her career has taken many unexpected twists and turns.
One of the greatest challenges is to reinvent oneself on a consistent basis.
When life throws you a curve you have to move with the curve or resist it. That
has been her theme and challenge as a graphic designer, personally and professionally.
She chose to "go with the flow," which is not always an easy task.
There is a difference between walking the path as a designer and implementing
design. It is a matter of depth and introspection, of walking the talk not talking
the walk. So rather than supply a brief list of accomplishments, sharing a theme
that reveals her role is preferred.
When you take design beyond its usual boundaries and into the realm of animating
consciousness, this is what design and its effects is about. Perception is a
kaleidoscope, a sharing of consciousness. We have, as graphic designers, the
power to shape the direction of individual and global consciousness, thereby
making the world a better place to live.
Quality & Implementation:
Where Intent Convenes with Integrity
by Grace Visconti
If ever there
was a time to implement accreditation nationally, it is now.
I received several emails advertising cheap logos, business
cards and stationery. The direct mail advertisement promoting
these graphic design services wouldn’t allow me to
reply. The advertisement was targeting start up companies
in particular who supposedly
cannot afford to pay a graphic designer the regular rate.
Coincidentally, I was searching for some extra freelance work
online and came across this ad stating, "Graphic designers
needed" so I checked it out. This company requesting a
designer’s service was slick and organized. Curious about
what they needed in terms of my skills, I contacted them. The
job entailed designing a logo, business card, letterhead and
envelope as templates that would be sold en mass to those individual
companies in need but first, I had to do a "test." The
test required me to design a logo, business card, letterhead
and envelope within 72 hours. Not only was my curiosity piqued,
but my investigative prowess went into high gear as well. The
criteria given were a brief description of the company, the
company name, an address, phone number, fax, and email. They
also indicated that I was to use photographic images as part
of the design on the business card because it was more "appealing."
As a perfectionist, I found it difficult to complete the test
in less than 72 hours. This was a different way of working.
It had nothing to do with a thorough, reflective, thought process
that I was so used to applying,
but rather it had everything to do with a pumped out, "do
it as fast as you can" end result. In fact, perfection,
quality and service were not a big requirement of doing this
job at all. Plus, there was no client to talk to and get feedback
I called to talk to the owner about how much this freelance
work would pay an hour. For designing the logo, business card,
envelope and letterhead, the designer only received $24.95
in total! When I pumped him for more information about how
much his cut was for my hard work, he avoided the question
like a pro. I told him I was not used to working like this
without a client’s involvement and careful planning.
He quipped, "You’ll get used it. We have ten of
the top designers in the U.S. working here and they can produce
all of the elements you designed for the test in one hour."
When I asked him why the design fee was so low he snapped, "Our
top designers make $2,000 a week. We have 300,000 startup businesses
buying our designs across the country and we are expanding.
We are hiring four new graphic designers. In the past, we only
hired one a year." I asked, "What about service and
quality?" He replied, "you have to be a good designer
to work here and as far as service goes, what you see is what
you get as a template." I was getting angrier by the minute
listening to this guy bragging about the designers who are
prostituting themselves and their talents for pumping out cookie
cutter designs for $24.95.
I perused this company’s website and checked out some
of the work that had been done by designers. Ninety percent
of the designs looked like the careful thought process that
I was so used to, was null and void. The type looked as if
it was just plopped there as fast as the designer could click "cut
and paste." The emergence of this growing trend is alarming.
It not only sends a message to clients on a large scale that
designers are willing to prostitute themselves for companies
like this, but also it is decimating the "quality" of
our profession by the minute, turning it into large scale profits
for companies and individuals that are only interested in these
profits at the expense of quality design and service.
This approach to practicing business is leveling the playing
field for excellent graphic designers who charge what they
are worth for delivering quality and service, thereby reflecting
their expertise. In this fast paced environment where technology
is affording some to replace "quality" with "quantity," and
where money and cheap production become the criteria for defining
one’s company, as designers we must fight even harder
to educate our clients that this is not a good approach. In
a world where visual images demand our attention every day
to sell a product, promote an idea, communicate an important
message, let’s not forget about the quality of that message,
its delivery and the intent of those implementing design solutions.
Grace Visconti is a graphic designer (web
and print), writer and part-time shiatsu therapist. Presently,
she resides in
Calgary, AB and can be reached via email or
her website at www.eagleheartdynamic.com.