Not many people understand how many greens there are. But a designer has to know. We look at the world and see shades instead of colours. We like to think that everyone else can also see what we see but the sad fact is, the perception of a designer is skewed in a way that not many people can really understand.
It takes years for a designer to learn all the tricks of the trade. But unfortunately it isn’t the tricks or the skill at using the programs that makes a designer special. It’s the way they see they world. Photoshop and Illustrator and all the other Adobe programs are just software with different buttons and different tools to achieve results. Quite seriously, anyone can learn to use them and draw things. It doesn’t take much time to learn.
One day designers
Actually, personally, I learnt InDesign on one Saturday, then the following week I went with Photoshop and so on and so forth. Until after just a few weeks I was able to pretty much answer any question about what tools to use when, how to use certain functions and basically everything in all the Adobe Suite. But what I couldn’t do (and still can’t do) was design.
It’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact. Some people do not have the ability to create art. Just like some people don’t have the ability to complete complex mathematical equations. The big difference between graphic design and mathematics is, no one picks up a calculator and says “I am a mathematician” but it seems like every monkey with a laptop and the Adobe Suite is allowed to say “I am a graphic designer.”
Not only that, I have observed very often in other departments and jobs people doing their tasks in ways that I wouldn’t think are very logical. But, I always understand, this is not my skill set. But, you would be surprised how often designers get feedback from anyone and everyone about their work. Saying this makes me realise, one of the most important skills or talents a graphic designer has, is actually patience.
I once ran an advertising campaign where we selected a certain picture for a Facebook ad. Knowing as we did the concept of the company and all their previous adverts they had done, we made it match for the purpose of identity retention to their target customers. My manager at the time suddenly called me and told me he had just had about 20 conversations the same way with 20 different people who didn’t think the “picture matched the concept.” I explained to him that it did, and he accepted it.
BUT, the feedback didn’t stop. So in the end we ran an experiment. We let them choose the picture and then ran the ad. After 2 weeks, it was labelled as the worst Facebook ad we had ever ran. In fact, it was so bad, the CEO came to our department for an explanation of the money wastage.
We explained the situation to him which he accepted and then told us to immediately change the ad. We corrected it, and it went on to perform properly, and we achieved our desired result.
The lesson was learned for most people not to complain to my manager. But, the feedback never stopped.
So, how does a graphic designer see the world? In shades. In CMYK, RGB and Pantone. Designers see it in a way that most people don’t understand. BUT, we will also never understand the way they see the world. So we accept it and work with them.