If you hire me, or frankly any graphic artist serious about their craft and their customers’ needs, you’re paying to have your messages transformed into a visual context that inspires and informs. A good designer is strategic, attuned to customer needs and cognizant of how people consume information.
At least that’s what happens when a designer works under optimum conditions.
Optimum conditions occur when a client values quality foremost. Those are my favorite jobs. Give me the time I need and I will delight you. I will test several approaches, pore over every detail, search for – or create – that perfect image. I’ll pour myself into the job if you give me the time to do so. And I’ll charge you an eminently reasonable price.
Good and Fast
Now suppose quality is still a high priority, but you need it really fast, like yesterday. A high-quality designer can deliver that too. I can call in the special ops team, pull an all-nighter — and blow you away with a great final product in no time. Of course, you’re going to pay extra. If it’s fast and great, it can’t be cheap.
Fast and Cheap
How about if you need it fast but you don’t have extra budget. Now we’ve wandered into the sub-optimal. A good graphic artist can create something adequate under those circumstances, but not something you and I would be especially proud of. If it has to be done pronto, I’m not going to be able to spend a lot of time searching for that perfect image, making an amazing graphic, or even meditating on the most creative and impactful presentation. If you want it fast and you don’t want to pay a premium, there’s just no way to produce the usual exquisite quality.
And let’s face it, you’ll forget how fast the job got done, and even what you paid for it. But you’ll never forget poor quality work. The truth is, no one is in the market for mediocre design.
Which means clients who demand work fast and cheap are really making a play on the golden triangle. They want fast, cheap and good, a condition that, like absolute zero, can’t exist. Clients like that are actually saying, produce great work quickly and don’t charge me for the added cost.
Fast, good and cheap – pick any two. But you can’t have all three.