Website design and build

Should you hire a professional or an amateur?

I hear it all of the time from people in the creative industry – designers, illustrators, writers, photographers, web designers etc… that they are under-compensated and their work undervalued.

In my opinion, non-creatives have the tendency to think that just because anyone owns a computer, has creative suite, writes blogs or owns a camera (or a smart phone), that they now have the skills needed to be a professional artist. None of these should be difficult skills to master if you have the tools, right?


Being creative is not easy. You can’t just turn it on at any given time. It is hard work. It tires the body and the mind. The quality of work can diminish without rest.

But what people don’t realise is that what they’re buying isn’t just someone who will do a job that they could do themselves if only they had the time. What they are buying, particularly when they hire a professional, is the time, effort, and experience that person put into honing his or her craft. Just because someone owns a hammer, doesn’t mean you would hire them to build your house.

When people say to me: “That shouldn’t take too long for you to draw this portrait, or design this brochure, or take this photograph”, my answer is: “It’s taken me 30 years”.

People pay for art that every client, every investor, every customer, will see, so it is in your best interest to make sure that the creative work is pretty darn good.

Let’s take a logo design for example. How much does it cost to create a logo? $2000, $3000, $10000? Let’s say you paid $2000 for your new logo. The artist will do research which involves studying your competition, and reviewing what types of logos already exist in your industry. You should then be given a number of pencil concepts, maybe 10-20, once you choose the one that you like, the designer needs to create the final. That might include creating a typeface, an illustration, an icon… That final logo will then be created in a variety of formats for use in print, electronic documents, Word documents and on the web. Business cards are then created, letterhead, envelopes and most likely, a website. This logo is a reflection of your business. It needs to be great! You will use that logo for at least 10 years if not more. So, lets say you use if for 10 years. That logo just cost you $200 a year. Not bad considering your mobile phone bill probably cost you that much each month.

In addition, ask yourself these questions. Can the amateur give you the same quality? Can they meet your deadlines? Can they prep the files per vendor specs?

If you ask me, most creatives still aren’t being paid enough for their work. I hope that someday, that changes.

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