Mamma, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Graphic Designers

For a while I’ve been in the embarrassing situation of not having business cards. Those who know me personally will probably gasp at this thought — for me it’s like being without pants. So I did the logical thing and put an ad out on Craigs List. I didn’t want people to waste their time so I clearly stated in the title of the ad “Graphic Design – Small Project.”

Three days in and I’ve received 75 responses (and counting) for designers, many of whom were essentially begging to charge me only $200 for a logo, business cards, and a website. This is no way to make a living, people!

What makes Craigslist — and life — fun, though, is the variety. While many of the emails read like Nigerian Spammers looking for a new career (“Please, I am new in the country and I have written good website for Brazil”) there were also many truly talented individuals with substantial design careers.craigslist.jpg

Having just visited 75 portfolio sites I have some points to make:

1. I am not impressed by Flash. Maybe some people are, but I am not. If I want a website designed I am more impressed by a portfolio in HTML than in flash. Which brings me to…

2. I am not impressed by confusing navigation. Splash pages which show me some whiz-bank Flash then make me figure out that “now’s the time to click to see the real content” are annoying and waste my time. Give me a navbar please.

3. It is difficult to read when your entire site is in a miniscule font. I am not elderly, yet I have a hard time reading 6 point fonts. Especially considering…

4. It is difficult to read a dark color font on a slightly less dark colored background. Repeat after me: “White background good, gray background bad.”

5. When viewing a portfolio which includes websites, thumbnails are not sufficient, please link out to the actual site. If the site does not exist, please explain this and link to a screenshot.

6. Portfolio examples are great, but if you don’t explain the thinking behind each example including why you were involved, what you did, how your design made a difference, I will just see a lot of art, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

7. I am not impressed by student or spec work. I guess you have to start somewhere.

That’s all for now. I need to get back to work reviewing resumes.