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How do you survive?


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#1 Nocturn

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Posted 13 February 2005 - 08:24 PM

I am simply wondering how the people who make all these designs, I see on the site sometimes 10 different propositions, win enough to make a living out of this?

For example someone wants a logo for as little as 75 dollars. Another wants a logo AND 3 site templates for 180.

Now, say the average logo is 150, you would need to "win" 15 contests a month, at least. How else would you expect to be able to buy software, hardware, pay rent, eat, live?

Perhaps it's because the majority here are still in school living with parents, are doing this as a sort of hobby for some extra cash, or simply don't pay for software? Almost all of the above would have to be true to make sense of amounts offered as prizes.

When every client gets used to "website for 300 dollars", what then? What happens to someone who has to make a living from graphic design, web design, web programming? You have to realize what a disfavour you are doing for these professions.

If I lived in Eastern Europe then 300 dollars would be a good deal, but then again I would have a hard time getting clients from one of the richest countries in the world, USA, where 300 a month means you have less money than a beggar.

If you really wanted to be fair you would have a minimum amount that people had to pay for a design. Think about it, they don't just contact one designer and get proposals, they have several working for them, for N.O.T.H.I.N.G


I'd like to hear what the designers on this site have to say. How do you survive? Will the future of graphic design be in the hands of 13 year olds with little or no education in this field, using pirated software?

#2 Neupix

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Posted 13 February 2005 - 08:36 PM

Many people here are graphic designers who do this on their spare time for a little extra cash. Many, like myself, are college students studying design who do this as practice and as a portfolio builder. There are also a few who are as you mentioned are "13 years old".

Either way nobody enters the contests as a living - and if they did they would be silly to do so. It is purely a hobby.

I agree $300 isn't alot for a website, but many of the companies here are just starting up and can't afford to hire a design firm/designer for $1000+. I think if you take a look at scriptlance or other freelance sites, it gets even more ridiculous when people bid as low as $5, or clients put their budget below $50.

The majority of us don't use pirated software either, although I am sure a few do.
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#3 Nocturn

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Posted 13 February 2005 - 09:03 PM

Must say I'm surprised that you are a student studying graphic design, probably spending a lot of money on education and hoping to make a living from in it the future. Then why do you support sites like this?

When you graduate and you propose your services to people, what if they say: Why should I hire you for a 300 bucks logo when I can go to designcontest and get 10 designers working for me for 100?

Don't you realize you are in fact harming the very profession you want to pursue? What happens when the norm becomes 75 for a logo? Is the cost of living going to be much less in the future?

Btw, you have a nice site, good clean design. I hope you will find enough work to make a living from it after graduation. Think about it....

#4 Imagenesis

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Posted 13 February 2005 - 09:24 PM

Well, I guess I can be condisidered one of those "13 year olds" (15 years old but no professional eduction in graphic design)...Oh well, I don't see why 13 year olds can't be making money if the designs they provide are as good or better in the eyes of the client...Btw, I just want to show something, talkvbulletin.com, that site was made by a 15 year old aquaintance of mine, I think that's quite impressive (for a 15 year old and even if it was made by a professional designer)...Besides I'll tell you why the price of graphic design is going down, it is because it is becoming a commodity...The computer boom is over, anyone can use a computer and in turn teach themselves graphic design...Graphic design is no longer a specialty profession where only a few professionals can make a website or a logo...My .02, anyhow, I really doubt I will be going on with graphic design professionlaly...I plan to be a cardiologist (they make a LOT of money)... :rolleyes: The only reason why there is a diffirence of salery in professions is because not everyone can be them...Unfortunetly, In graphic it is increasingly easier to use Photoshop CS, and it's just to bad... :mad:

Then again this sometimes happens too: http://www.talkfreel...18&page=1&pp=10
Sigh...

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#5 Nocturn

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Posted 13 February 2005 - 09:54 PM

You make the usual mistake to think that the "work" we do should be judged on how easy it is, in terms of how long it takes us to say retouch a photo or make a grey circle in Illustrator because we know how. You forget all the hours spent on reading manuals (I guess if someone pays 600 for Photoshop they are more inclined to actually read the manual), time spent learning and developing techniques and so on. All this must be put into the value of the design. Add to this that every design you do no matter how simple is something unique, and what is more with a logo, it cannot be repeated. Even if your design hints at another logo it's usually viewed as a bad thing.

If a company doesn't have the cash to hire a professional to do a site for them, then they should just ask their kid, nephew, friend to do some half assed spinning logo job for a website, they shouldn't be given the opportunity to have access to 10's of designers working for them for peanuts, and especially make it look like this is something that's done professionally, like this is how things will be run from now on.

#6 Neupix

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Posted 13 February 2005 - 10:13 PM

Graphic design is no longer a specialty profession where only a few professionals can make a website or a logo


I used to think the same until I actually got some formal training in the profession. You would be surprised at all the things true graphic designers know that "basement" designers don't. Typography, for one, is such a detailed topic that you really can't train yourself in it. Some guy working in his basement using photoshop doesn't know the difference between an Adobe Garamond and Times New Roman typeface, and the impact that each can make on his design. These people don't have a trained eye for design, and therefore, could never make more than a couple hundred dollars doing work.

Nocturn: I support sites like these because they are a starting point for new designers. On top of that, I truly believe that these sites have little impact on the graphic design industry. There are billions of companies that will always need something graphical to represent their company, and many of them choose to actually hire professionals to do it for them. On top of that, many of these companies are starting to hire in-house designers to do all their work for them, which is something that wasn't always done before.

Graphic design does not stop at website design and logo creation, it involves alot more including advertising, print work and illustration. There will always be some things that only professionals can do.

On a side note: I have been noticing an increasing trend amongst North American population where people are beginning to spend money on quality, rather than going for the cheap alternative. People are always going to be willing to spend the extra buck to get something better.
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#7 Imagenesis

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Posted 13 February 2005 - 11:07 PM

I agrree with you guys... :)

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#8 Imagenesis

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Posted 13 February 2005 - 11:12 PM

However I think designcontest provides clients with good solutions so it doesn't matter either way since apparently a lot of designers are capable and willign to participate...No need to bash dc.net further...

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#9 Nocturn

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Posted 13 February 2005 - 11:48 PM

I'm not asking these questions specifically to the designcontest site, but more to the people who participate. I want to hear what they say, why they participate.

What seems to me particularly odd is that people would spend so much money on buying thousands of dollars of software just for a relaxing (?) hobby?

This is what I would like to make people realize, that if you are being paid for it you are working professionally and you are in competition with other professionals. If you are only using pirated software, you are not competing fairly, you can afford to make logos for 75 dollars, simply because you don't have the same expenses. Lets not pretend here, as I said, who in their right mind spends so much money on this expensive software, just to sort of try it out? I'm sure there are some, but a fraction of the people who take part in sites like these, and if they already had all that cash to throw away they wouldn't be competing for 100 dollar prizes, doing 5-10 designs takes time, more than a casual hobby could be afforded. If there ARE those doing it as just a hobby or for a little extra cash then they wouldn't present themselves as professional designers with experience.

I'm not a piracy fanatic, I don't "mind" those who download stuff just to see what it does or learn, but when you bring money into the mix, you ARE actually hurting the people who are trying to make a living from this.

On top of this you are hurting them in two ways: One is taking work from designers who are struggling to make ends meet and find clients, the other is you devalue the work of a graphic designer. I realize everybody who has gone through a few PS tutorials thinks he's now a graphic designer, can't prevent that, but then doing it professionally, for these prices, just isn't right.

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 12:57 AM

talks like this have been here since the very beginning of DC :) I'll try to give a very simple explanation.

1. You probably understand that you cannot learn graphics design and master your skills by only reading manuals (though you should do it too). You need practice. So why not win a couple hundreds of bucks in the process?

2. Speaking about expenses, in order to get clients you need to market your portfolio spend time and often money. With DesignContest you do not have to do it. The projects are already there you can take part in the contests whenever you feel like it.

3. The competition is high everywhere and it is getting even more intense with the globalization process. Let the license question aside. You live in a country where you need $1500 a month to survive and I am from a country where you need only $150. Again, you probably know that the majority of the Earth's population live in countries like China and India where your living expenses are significantly lower than in the States. So you will always have "unfair" competition.

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 01:55 AM

just wanted to mention, right now we have a $500 logo design contest.

And anyway, if you are afraid of competition or don't enjoy designing, DC will never become your favourite website.

#12 illumina

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 02:15 AM

the design world itself is a big competition.
This just happens to be a website with small competitions.
The plain and simple fact is if a company can't afford to pay $400 for a logo, they will not pay it, no matter how optimistic you are.

#13 geek

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 02:39 AM

Hi Nocturn,

To answer your simple question, every designers here have different motives.

Here's mine:

1. Competing to other international designers is really challenging & fun. Seeing their ideas even done by kids can stimulates my creative braincells. Whatmore if that's done by other professionals.

2. Choosing a contest before entering. That would be based on standards (client's standard v.s. my level).

3. Win-Win Concept > "You're Happy, I'm Happy". Even the design was not chosen, it's still my copyright and i can show those to other potential clients online or onsite. I won't join a contest if i think there will be no something good to do with me in return.

4. Logo/illustration Contest Price is now getting higher. Posting my idea once won't affect any harm & won't waste time. I can do it in speed and in no sleepless nights. (as i said, once creative braincells are stimulated & practiced everyday...ideas are free flowing & will just come naturally).

5. This site is good not to find clients/projects. Let the clients find you. Having my actual samples(artwork entry), portfolio, my name & contact is a great way to advertise?

6. Good designers and even good friends can be found here. Sharing thoughts, chit-chat in the same mind-language. Being in a wide creative environment helped each others grow. I'm happy when at the end of the day someone says "thankyou" for sharing your knowledge and experience. Evenmore, if i saw someone i helped reach its goal.

7. Ofcourse, contests won't feed my family. It feeds my mind. I'm a fulltime Designer and sometimes bored at my work. Same & same projects, over & over again. It's time to go out in a box > to breath fresh air.

8. My aim? "$300-$500 for a single logo is a BIG money in just one click. If you just believe in yourself ".

Enlightened? Thanks for reading ;)

#14 Nocturn

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 04:09 AM

Ok, thanks for the replies and for not kicking me out :)

You know, I think the idea of designcontest is a good one, getting together a group of designers and offering them a new way to market themselves. Which is esentially what all these other type of freelance job sites claim to do.

The problem comes with the process itself. There is no minimum amount. A guy can come along and want a logo and this and that and expect it for 100 dollars. Which to me is completely absurd, and rude.

So this is where site admins have to be a little careful, have some sort of controls, because you are opening up a market, but who will benefit? How much good is being done compared to how much damage is done?

I would have no problem at all with sites like this, I would participate myself, if:

1. First of all there was some sort of control that you actually own the software you are using. Again, my point is that sites like these with no control creates a market place which is totally unfair and destructive.

2. Have minimum bids - 300 for a logo, 1000 for a site. Very simple stuff. You want also letterhead, biz card? 450 minimum. The clients can look before hand at the galleries and portfolios of the designers, so it's not like they are going into it blindly. Plus they do not only have 1 designer at hand, but maybe 5, 10, 15. If anything, sites like these should be more expensive. Do you guys actually realize for how little you are selling your skills and the service of this site? What would it cost a company to have a staff of 10 designers, at hand day and night? "Hey, make me logo", and he puts 100 dollars in a glass jar, letting you all glance at while you work for a few days putting out 5 designs each, and then the lucky winner gets the 100 dollars? You act like this is sort of a pass time, you do it because it's fun hey hey. I doubt it. It stops being fun when money is envolved.

That's it. If those two points would be implemented, then you would have truly done people a great service. You cannot just excuse yourselves by saying competition is everywhere, get used to it. I like competition, but it's totally unrealistic to try and compete with the entire world, if on top of that most of my competitors don't even pay for their tools. This is what you are facilitating and profiting from. There are reasons why countries have different taxes and cost of living, and barriers. Bringing down those barriers is not always a good thing. Free market is not a good thing if it means exploitation.

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 04:17 AM

1. it is absolutely impossible to have total control over the software designers use, unless you live in Oceania, of course.

2. there is a minimum prize amount and we are working on gradually rising it.

3. we do not force anybody to take part in our contests and

4. yes, it is fun, even though money is involved

#16 Nocturn

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 04:25 AM

Ask joining designers to send you a receipt of their purchase of Photoshop for example? You ask them to send you plenty of personal info, why not a receipt?

What about taxes on these sites? How do people earning money from this report it?

I know, I'm being silly lol...but there's another thing that ads to the unfairness.

#17

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 04:37 AM

1. Why not ask a receipt? Because many designers work in their offices when they are bored and use the software that belongs to their companies.

2. Taxes is a porsonal matter and we do not interfere with that. It is up to every designer whether to pay them or not.

3. Yes, you are being silly. Life is unfair. If you are not happy with your profession I do not think it makes sense to blame others. Everything seems unfair to some small business owners when Wallmart comes to their town. Even though I do know people who managed to survive in this situation and keep their business well. Again, if you don't think you can't make a living with your profession, why don't you find another one? A heard plumbers make good money in the States?

#18 geek

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 04:39 AM

Ask joining designers to send you a receipt of their purchase of Photoshop for example? You ask them to send you plenty of personal info, why not a receipt?

What about taxes on these sites? How do people earning money from this report it?

I know, I'm being silly lol...but there's another thing that ads to the unfairness.


The country i leave in is free from ANY taxes... Even hospitalization, vaccination, & medicine for children (born here).

#19

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 05:21 AM

Nocturn has turned his/her pms off, so I will have to reply him here:

no, I do not know what you mean. And I only accept constructive critisism and specific suggestions. Exclamations like "you should do it differently and properly" do not work for me. Besides, you wouldn't believe how many people enjoy participating in our contests. And another important issue is that I do not making money off DC, it is my hobby. The $50 a month that I get from adsense banners not enough to make a living even in Russia.

Again, next time when you want to suggest something, please be more specific and realistic.



#20 Neupix

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 06:04 AM

Why not collect receipts? That's ridiculous - not only do I not have my receipt for the creative suite, but to take the time and scan it to a site that I casually visit?

DC.net is not responsible for taxes - for those of us who freelance as a profession, or design as profession, usually have our own methods of paying taxes, etc. Otherwise all of this could be considered as a personal transaction.. kind of like selling your stuff on eBay, and is not taxable.

I understand you don't like the idea of DC.net - but many of us do, and as we have mentioned we do it for fun and as a hobby. I think geek summed it up properly with all the benefits to competing, even if you don't win. Not only do you get practice and inspiration, but it helps build your portfolio for when you go after clients.

Also, if we were to raise minimum price for a website to $1000 there would be NO contests at all. The type of websites that are produced from this site are not worth that much, as there is no direct interaction with the client and all they get is what is produced. The majority of the time the website is also either only shipped as a PSD or a basic template.
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