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Hire a real designer/illustrator

I know how to use Photoshop. I know things about Photoshop that some of the most brilliantly talented and award winning advanced degree’d amazing designers I know don’t know about Photoshop. I’m pretty damned good at sharpening pencils with a pocket knife too. Doesn’t mean I can draw.

I’m hardly visually clueless, I’m a photographer, by some definitions a professional photographer*, and, not to blow my own horn (to much),  I am a pretty damned good lighting designer because that was my profession for more than a decade.

What I am not is a graphic designer or illustrator. No matter how often I do it when the stakes are low and I can get by, sort of, I am not the right guy to do that job. I can be the right guy to work with designers, even to manage them on a project but I’m not the right guy to do it. When you need visual designer or an illustrator, hire one. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that because you know how to use the tools, or think you do, that you have the talent or training to do a job that’s at least as complex, refined, subtle and demanding of expert skills as being a PHP and MySQL coder.

A ‘web designer’ is a non-existent creature. There are graphic and UE designers, Illustrators, UE coders and back-end coders. There are Producers, there are Writers and there are Editors. Anyone who claims to be all of those things isn’t. Being multi-talented isn’t being multi-expert. Are you of more benefit to your team if you have more than one skill? Of course! Are you the team? No.

Contrary to intuition, it’s NOT more cost effective to hire a ‘web designer’ than it is to hire a producer, designer and developer who can work together. It’s only cheaper. Cheaper as in shoddy and a bad investment. Cheaper as in, you’ll fail or pay for a do-over.

Thanks to one of the most talented designer/illustrators I know for letting me hire him to render, well, me.

Caricature of Jon Alper
Rick Pinchera rocks! Know what the most fun aspect of this was? Not giving him any photo to reference or feedback to make him iterate and just letting him see me as he remembered. It’s depressingly faithful (I really do have a that good a face for radio) and it’s marvelously whimsical. Thank you Rick!

* Some define ‘professional photographer” as a person who gets paid to take photographs. I prefer the narrower, definition; someone who earns their primary livelihood taking photographs and that is not me.

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  1. sherm
    November 5th, 2010 at 22:16 | #1

    Rick rocks! There’s a very good reason I use his drawing of me as my Facebook “photo!” 🙂

  2. toddybaby
    November 9th, 2011 at 20:34 | #2

    It’s true Jonny…. you have a face that makes for great print articles! : )
    okay, that means you look great for eBook/online content as well! : )
    But you do have a pretty good voice too. : )

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