“Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.”
– Paul Rand
First of all, let me make something clear. I DON’T think Fiverr is the devil. A service can’t be successful without the presence of supply and demand, and it’s pretty clear that Fiverr has both. Payday loans companies and services like Fiverr provide a service that people want and, however that sits with your own ethical views, you can’t blame them for that.
I also want to point out that getting a logo or a piece of copywriting through Fiverr doesn’t really cost five dollars. Take this guy, for example. You know what? I’ll say it. His work looks pretty good. But in order to get three logo concepts and the source files for the completed logo in less than a week, you actually have to pay him close to $100. Is that a decent rate of pay for a designer? Hell no, but at least it’s more than $5.
When I see people complain about Fiverr killing the design and/or copywriting industry, their argument is that charging $5 doesn’t allow you enough time to design a logo or write good copy. Not true. Ok, maybe the copywriting bit is. But you can create a logo in about 30 seconds!
Of course, that’s not what designers charge for. They charge for the time they spend brainstorming, their creative process, the inevitable back and forth with their clients and agonising over whether that shadow looks right or the font will hold up over time. Without that, you end up with things like this:
It took me a minute to knock the above together. At $5 per logo that amounts to $600 an hour. Forget copywriting, I’m becoming a designer. Except it doesn’t work like that, because those logos suck. They may serve the same purpose as the actual logos they’re imitating, but it’s obvious that they’re missing something. The same goes for articles, homepage content and blog posts that are thrown together in a matter of minutes because the writer needs to get to their next project to be able to afford to eat tomorrow.
The new World Trade Center logo came out last week, and there are already articles about how many different layers of meaning it holds. You couldn’t say the same of my efforts. The amount of time the above logos would stay relevant for is, at a push, as long as it took me to create them.
Cheap design and cheap copywriting are bad because low paying work doesn’t afford creative people the time to be creative. As a result, the end product is shoddy. Like that IKEA television cabinet that you tried to put together in a hurry, it kinda looks right but you don’t really trust it to take the weight of your TV.
If, as Coleridge once said, poetry is ‘the best words in the best order’ (the same would probably do for copywriting) then design is ‘the best pixels in the best order’. The recent trends of minimalism and flat design certainly seem to speak to that idea. In that respect, designers and copywriters who pride themselves on their craft have a lot in common with artists.
I’ve noticed a lot of creatives trying to capture that sentiment, talking about how great design/advertising can change the world. That can come across as pretty arrogant when they’re referring to their own work, so here’s another way of putting it – great design endures as the world changes. And I don’t think anybody would deny that something like that costs more than $5.
Don’t worry folks, our jobs are safe.