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The graphic designer in times of recession

August 1, 2011

I bet no one can say it is not true: recession has fallen onto communication budgets as the sharp blade of a guillotine.

Companies have less money to invest and even less to allocate to communication… those expensive events have disappear as dinosaurs, letterheads have been replaces by cheap looking pdf, brochures have migrated to the web and the little that still moves in the communication budgets has to be unexpensive but, at the same time, must be effective!

It’s obvious! the SUPERFLUOS – according to the clietnt’s point of view –  IS ELIMINATED. Even if they go “oh!” when the bump into some very creative project, likely similar to the one we once presented to them and they decided to axe because superfluos

How does our job change in times of recession?

In bad times, the designer must:

  • be more aware of the trust the client is according us – there is less money and we must be virtuous in spending it
  • be more aware of our own break even point  and avoid to surrender to the discount-to-work  policy – everything must go is never the proper approach
  • aim for the fat target! – that is, we must avoid to produce solutions are way to complex and expensive and focus on what we know that can be likely brought through
  • spend more time researching and look for less travelled paths – good creativity is a great antidote to recession

In bad times, communication budgets get cut down, strategies are congealed ad libitum, projects tend to never start, waiting for the good times.

What should we do?

First of all, we should try to make our clients aware of the role that communications plays.
Those who are not communicating are bound to disappear. And, to my humble point of views, those who communicate in a bad way, do even worse.
But the money is tight, so we must be even more skilled, more creative and more professional.
We must insist and make the client understand that, in bad times, THEY MUST HIRE PROS and not be attracted by the lowest price always.
We must be good at showing our clients the risk to leave their eroded budgets to non-pros. Not because they own a mac, they are a designer or not because the handle a digital point-&-shoot camera, they are photographers… make sure your clients understand this point. The value of your portfolio will be your business card. Be professional and use common sense.

Then, as a second step, build a network of contacts that will help you to cover, in a low-cost philosophy, the whole communication spectrum. Keep your core structure slim but don’t isolate yourself.

… then of course a little luck won’t do no harm!


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