Monday, 30 January 2012

Bryony and Hannah's Discussion

Our last class discussion was lead by Bryony and Hannah, who talked to us about designing for free.
The issue is where do you draw the line when people ask for favours? 
Friends and family regularly request drawings and things that I make, and at the moment I'm happy to create things for people for free in my spare time, but at some point I will hope to be able to make money from the work that I do, and this time may be better spent creating things that people will want to pay for. For example, at the moment I am continuing with (what I suppose is an on-going 'personal project') my handmade animals, which I make for friends. I love taking the time to do this and it doesn't seem like a chore to be prolific in this way, but I would also love to be able to sell these types of creations, if there is a market for it! I have been curious to look into how some fellow college students are getting their work out on the internet more so than me, like Millie Connors in 3rd year illustration has her some of her hand-made products on sale on her etsy (made by millie). I would definitely need to look into being able to create things more quickly, which is something else that needs to be considered for free design work; it seems best to be able to design for lots of different projects at a fast pace, rather than labouring away on one piece for weeks on end. This also links to finding your own 'illustration language' and having the confidence to make it a speedier process, which I feel I'm getting close to with each brief we get.
People don’t always
appreciate the skill that goes
into design work. Often
companies think just giving
credit is enough as it will get
work seen.
Is this good enough?
Is it worth turning down an
offer that could get you
recognized even if the
company is taking advantage
of you?
 Of course, when starting out as a designer we can't expect to be in high demand. If anything, most of us will be fighting our hardest to even find jobs. Therefore, entering competitions and gaining as much exposure as possible through designing for free can be the only way forward. The risk that nothing will be gained in return is sadly a necessary one- at least it continues to build up a body of work and allows you to keep improving through different projects.
As for the view that companies take advantage of designers through their competitions, I feel that it is unfair, especially when many of them should easily be able to afford to pay a winning designer for their work. Unless the particular design becomes famous enough for the designer's name to be made prominent, the recognition may only be brief and perhaps not lead to any paid work opportunities. Bryony and Hannah pointed this out with president Obama's election poster competition as an example of the designer being made anonymous.
This extremely famous image is by designer Shepard Fairey. This is the most widely distributed version, featuring the word 'hope'. Other variations used the words 'change' and 'progress'. The original was aquired by Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.
The overwhelming popularity of the design has lead to many imitations and parodies of the image, using the faces of different people and words, but in-keeping with Fairey's distinctive graphic style. If I were him I might find it incredibly frustrating not having any rights over the image, yet at the same time, grateful for the huge popularity the design has internationally. The only other danger is becoming a one trick pony-how can a designer progress from a design so popular when it has become the thing that defines them?

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