You don’t just pay for what you can see

Since the beginning of time, there’s been a battle that’s still going on. What battle, you may ask? It’s the battle between creators and consumers. HUH?? Yes, you read that correctly: the battle merely focuses on what creators see and what consumers see, and it all comes down to the price of the final product or service. All of us must have said at least one of these things before: “Wow, the price is too high!”; or, “Can I get a discount?”; or, “I don’t see why it’s so expensive.” I must admit, I’ve said each one of them at least five times in my life, and that was before I started calling myself a graphic designer.

Creative process

Since I began designing flyers and magazines, and creating content for D&I’s social media, I began to understand the process that every creator goes through: it’s the process of creating something out of nothing. In a simplistic way, the process starts with a request from a client, then a brainstorming session and the outcome of that session is an idea—or it starts directly with an idea, as is the case when you’re creating art to sell later on. After you have the idea, it later turns into a concept, and from that concept, the creation of the final product will begin. Whether it’s a flyer or the next Mona Lisa painting you’re creating, the process of going from concept to finished product is a whole journey in itself, and it’s not easy. The journey consists of much trial and error, and eventually all the trial and error will culminate and become the finished product. This is just in general; there’s more to the process.

Behind the scenes

A lot happens behind the scenes when creating a final product. Clearly, I couldn’t wait, since I already mentioned in the paragraph above one thing that happens behind the scenes when creators are at work. Trial and error, countless hours of research, and investment in equipment are just some of the basic things that happen behind the scenes when creating something out of nothing. Let’s go through the whole process of designing a flyer—don’t worry, I’ll keep it short. You’ll need a design software, the briefing from the client, digital material, experience, and knowledge. The process starts with the client’s idea, and now you’ll need to turn the idea into a concept by using your creativity. The client will then in turn need to approve the concept—mind you, we haven’t even started designing the flyer yet! Gather up the digital material you’ll need to start for the flyer, and here comes all the trial and error. Do you know the saying “Behind every great man, there’s a great woman”? Well, in the designer’s world, there’s also a saying, and it goes like this: “Behind every awesome flyer, there are 10 failed drafts.” Even with this blog post, I've written at least seven different versions of it.

Okay, back to the process of designing the flyer. After all the trial and error, you’ll get the draft that you want to show to the client, and after some revision and you deliver it to the client, you’re done with the work. In the process, there’s also a sub-phase where the designer might go and do some research to learn a new technique or skill to design what the client wants. That’s basically the process of creating a flyer.

It’s a long process, some might say. Now my question to you is: do you need to pay for that whole process?

What do you actually pay for?

The short answer would be that you pay for things that are difficult to put a price on. The longer answer is, you pay for the knowledge, experience, equipments, research, time worked...and the list can go on, but you get the picture. It’s difficult to put a price on a creator’s knowledge, because that comes from years of educating oneself and attending workshops. This is also the case with experience: the experience of a creator comes from years of practicing the craft—in other words, years of trial and error. Consumers might be thinking, why do I have to pay for things this person did in the past, when the final product that I’m receiving is in the present? The answer is simple: the final product or service you’re paying for wouldn’t be the way it is without the years of trial and error and education. It’s as simple as that.

Other than knowledge and experience, you’re also paying for the equipment that’s being used to provide the service or create the final product. The equipment can be hardware, software, online services, or even books. Of course, you’re not going to pay for the full cost of the software or hardware; the creator will embed a fraction of the cost in the final price. Now, we can even go further with what you actually pay for, but to save you some reading energy so you can finish this blog post, we’re going to leave it at what has already been said.

But before going on to next paragraph, let’s present a situation: a client requests that a flyer be made, you create the flyer in record time, and you charge them your regular price. The client might be thinking that it only took you one hour to design it, so why is your price that high? The question now is, is the price the client is paying fair?

Is the price fair?

The dilemma between creators and consumers that’s been going on for years is the price of the final product, because the creators see the hard work, dedication, equipment, research, and knowledge that were used to reach the final product and the consumers see the final product.
I’m sure that the creators who are reading this are saying “Preach, preach!” right now. Clearly you’ll get different answers if you ask a creator or a consumer. For the creators, they think that their prices are fair, and the consumer will find the prices too high. There’s another scenario in which the consumers will also find the price of the final product fair, and this is when the consumer is aware and sees both sides. It’s when the consumer sees the hard work and dedication the creator puts into his or her work.

The consumer should understand that they’re not only paying for the final product, they’re paying for the knowledge, experience, and hours the creator worked on the final product. It goes both ways: the consumer should get a clear view of what they’re paying for, and the creator should make it clear to the consumer what they’re paying for.

In my opinion, it’s the responsibility of both parties to inform and understand each other’s position so that this everlasting battle can end. What do you think?

InsightsVince Naar