I suppose the first issue I want to tackle with this thing is how “cheapened” the creative world has become. Whoa, Phil…Them’s some strong words. Well, maybe…But it’s true. Especially when you put it into a certain perspective…Which is the point of this entry and having an opinion.
I suppose I will preface this by saying this is only my opinion, and I am not trying to pass it off as fact as so often many bloggers do. That being said, let’s move on.
As I peruse the web, there are many sites out there claiming that “you, too, can be a designer in a just a few simple steps!” which is a bunch of crap. I think this philosophy started with the idea that “everyone’s a winner” in the 90’s, when even the last place teams got a trophy for “trying”. You know what last place did to people like me: It made us look for something we were actually good at. That’s the heart of the argument here. Technology has watered down the whole concept of the creative process. What takes me and many of my colleagues thought and hours to create, there is now an “app” for that…Giving people the illusion of being “creative”. But just because your iPhone has an app to give photos a certain look and feel to them, there is nothing creative about it. If anything, the phone is creative…The person who created the app is creative…The person is merely an observer of art.
Think of going to the art gallery. People like certain forms of art, and despise others. But give them a paintbrush and a canvass, and they won’t be able to recreate even the pieces of art that they determine are atrocious or even too simplistic to be art. They won’t notice the lines, the attention to detail, the thought process that went behind it. All they know is what they like and what they don’t like. That is true for all of us. Just as I stated from the beginning, I am guilty of having an opinion myself. But simply because I can appreciate or not appreciate Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, does not mean I would even know where to begin to re-create it. In fact, I cannot even paint on a canvass, and if I do, it would look like a 3 year old did it. But because I can appreciate it, does not mean I am creative.
That being said, what makes me and so many others like me creative is the fact that we sit down and create. We apply teachings and technology to what we do and have a plan. There have been growing pains, there have been moments of self-loathing, there have been many hours honing our craft…And then to hear that you can do what we do with just a few easy steps is an insult to our dedication. I am sure the same thing could be said about doctors and lawyers as well, because it is true. If someone showed me how to do an appendectomy, I am sure I could walk through the steps and perform one. Yeah…I said it. It doesn’t mean I would be good at it, but I could do it. I wouldn’t know why I put a clamp here, or why I can’t cut there…And here’s the thing: Not knowing could cause me to take short cuts that could be fatal. “Well, putting a clamp there is annoying. I think I’ll just skip that.” Patient bleeds to death. Lesson learned, I suppose.
Of course, no one is going to die with bad design and cheap photo tricks…But it is killing an area of expertise that is being cheapened by such tactics. “Why would I want you to do this for me, when I could save money and do it myself?” Well, say you are starting a business…You want your business to stand out, yet you go to a website that offers templates. You spend time and energy promoting and writing about what you do…And then you surf around some day and find someone else, just like you, who thought that same template looked just as cool. How professional do you feel now? Or maybe, just maybe, that template you thought would be really neat for your designer doll business is the same template being used by some goth rock band located in Kansas. Are you seeing what I am saying? Let me sum this up for you…
Sure you can appreciate what you appreciate…It just doesn’t make it what is right for the situation. Those cool effects that you put on your photos and save them forever…What if some day you want to remember the situation as it was? What if you are getting older and just want a picture of yourself without all the crazy effects to remember what you looked like to begin with? And just because you have a certain aesthetic style, does it mean that your audience is going to have that same aesthetic? You would think so, but you might be surprised. THAT is what a professional does. We create websites to appeal to your audience. We choose imagery and custom create it to fit the mood and audience you are looking for. We look at the lines, the attention to detail, and have a thought process about the whole thing, and we are OBJECTIVE about it, which is something someone who is wholly invested cannot do. So put your “iCan Website” tools down, put down your iPhone with the Hipstimatic app, and call a professional. You will notice the difference it makes. Don’t dabble with your image…Don’t call your cousin that “diddles” with Photoshop to create your website for you…There are no trophies given out for last place anymore.
I think Tom Servo from MST3K said it best during “Devil Fish”: “Just because you can edit, doesn’t mean you should.”