The Worth of A Designer: Contending In The Trade
What is graphic design actually worth? What am I worth as a graphic designer?
It's a bit daunting as a student and a fledgling freelance designer to have these questions staring at you in the face. Despite hard work, developed skills and experience, it feels like the jobs out in the world for graphic designers are few and far between or under valued. I feel this is the case for many other jobs in the American workforce.
But why is this? Why are we struggling so much as a country?
I don't have the answers, but I sure can recognize things that could change. There is one subject in particular that I've been thinking about. I have a friend that works for a local marketing company. This company focuses on producing websites, web content, marketing plans and such. We got to talking about business and he told me they didn't have any in house designers. How could that be? I knew they produced tons of content like infographics, websites and such, so how were they making it?
He told me that they hired out of Malaysia and India. They also got the work done at a fraction of the price of local graphic design work. The only downside was the time differences.
But it seems to me there were a lot more downsides to this business plan. In mean opinion, this is reaching the gray area in"business ethics". I compared what this company did to a larger distribution of work: Why is America losing jobs? What is one of the reasons the job deficit is growing? We are out sourcing a lot of production jobs. We can get things cheaper from China, so why not shut down our expensive factories or production facilities and buy from China?
Loss of jobs and money here in the states is the result. The economy could be suffering directly from these events. Seeing similar things happen on a smaller scale here in my hometown is a bit scary.
The interesting part is my friend could not see my side of the discussion. He is a business man, and the bottomline of the specific company is king. Despite loss of local jobs they continue to inject money into places other then our American economy. It's this sort of attitude that encourages sites like Fiver and 99designs, which undermine the graphic design trade and even steal artwork.
To me, as an American entrepreneur I have a responsibility to work hard and use American sources whenever I can. Cheapest isn't always best.