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Why is it difficult to be a designer (Graphic/HCI) in India?


Before I start talking about the anything; I am not an expert, just a dude trying to state his problem that he has faced repeatedly.


So working as a freelance designer is fun no doubt about it, you get to work whenever you want, however and at your own pace. Talking about how I ended up into designing is when I looked at western and german design systems and becoming fascinated by them; so this rose interest in me that what goes into designing such amazeballs graphics, so than whenever I looked at the designs around me like the provision stores, stationaries, eateries, et cetera I used to think why am I not liking these I used to feel absolutely disgusted by the designs I saw on signages, menus of the hotels, billboards, and a bunch of other design works. I used to think why are these not as good as the western designs or maybe first world countries. This leads us the very basic answer which is the design eco-system in small scale businesses and medium scale to a certain extent is not mature as it is in the first world countries.


Once I had some college printing work to be done and I go to this stationary which prints stuff in bulk. Now usually these stationaries have Corel draw installed pc because apparently the printers only support .cdr format not even pdfs for last-minute changes and all. Everything is fine till here but now a person comes in and asks to get visiting cards printed so the vendors ask do you have a pdf or something so he says no, NOW the other guy who knows how to use Corel Draw asks the client to sit beside him, ask the client for the information to be put up, and the vendor just lays out the information and puts colours randomly to make the information legible and done. Now I understand both the sides of the business that the client doesn't care about the design psychology or design processes or anything and the vendor has never read an article about the design principles regarding basic colour, space or gestalt theories because he is busy all the time trying to get stuff done as soon as possible.


So how does this hinder us as the ones who do not care about the software but focus on how to lay the information out well enough to be called a fine communication design? The answer is these are the type of client who reaches out to the designers who are starting out. Now designing stuff as per the client's needs is not the problem but these designs end up in our professional portfolio which is going to lead us to other clients. This was one major problem I faced initially and the solution to this is designing for fictional clients and showcasing them on platforms like Behance, dribbble or Pinterest which solves it to a really good extent, to be honest.


Let's look at other problem which are quotations, if you ask me I quote considering the time I am giving, how many options the client wants, which are the resources I am using in doing the client's works, and lastly the amount of work I will have to do. This quotation includes the "research" I do with respect to what the market requires, what design system the competitor is utilizing and how can my client come up from it, I work on the user-set and come up with designs accordingly. Now out of 10 of my clients, only 2 understand the process while the other clients were like get me this design by tomorrow evening and tell me how much you will charge. Well, obviously by the tone of their voice you understand they are not going to give me the amount I am going to ask for. So here comes the part when I give a quote, they deny, I negotiate to the maximum capacity and they do no get the work done from me saying the other guy is getting this same design done in almost half the cost, I will tell you the other guy either has a family to feed so he is forced to do the work in that low cost and can't afford the lose a single client or the other guys only know the software and gets paid for using the software, or the third one is the imposter which I faced initially which is I am just starting out so should not ask for more and things like that.


Look, this is running smoothly, no one is complaining the clients are getting their job done for low cost, the designs are accepted by everyone, and the stores are selling. But the ones like me who care about the design eco-system in the designs around us, like provision stores, signages, the ones I told earlier about are very desperate to design better for them but to be honest I feel we are not a necessity to them so they do not take design quite seriously. I have had such conversations with my friends and the designers around me, we do not really feel respected the way other businesses are. Big business supports us no doubt if you look at the designs of large-scale businesses they are pretty good because the design processes and ideologies get supported and are considered as an important part of the businesses.


I am done with the ranting now it is up to us how we increase our self-worth maybe; it is the small things that matter, I would love to see beautifully designed Jai Shree Ram provision store signage or something :P

Follow me on twitter @gajjar_devansh

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