Skip links

Design Industry or De(sigh) Industry?

If you find something glittering, it’s probably an expensive golden pen that a designer threw out of frustration. Designers are the hidden faces behind the success of every organisation. They are a unit of people who look after the creation, execution and implementation of brand logos, ad campaigns and even products for that matter. But do we give them the credit they rightly deserve? Do we acknowledge one of the most essential assets of every organisation?

What do you think was the thought behind the arrow in Amazon’s former logo? Why did it extend from A to Z? It’s because they wanted their customers to learn about their brand’s commercial viability in terms of the vast variety of products they offer. In addition to this figurative idea, they also wanted their customers to know that shopping from them would be a pleasant experience. Now, how do you think Amazon managed to convey all of this using a simple arrow, which also resembled a smile? All thanks to the designer of their official logo, who brought Bezos’s vision to life.

A good design can make you, and a bad design can break you. The key to help your brand grow is to keep your designers happy and content. The Design Industry, as much as it’s brewing with action, is also carelessly exploiting its designers resulting in the downfall of their individual progress in addition to their almost negligible monetary growth. The amount of hard work that goes into a simple creative is beyond competence. The designers in India are underpaid and overworked, much like the artisans of India, but with a fancy degree. You may say that the design Industry is fast growing and has tremendous potential in the near future. But, can we also account for the parallel growth of it’s designers?

Many design freelancers are left idle for days. Sites like Canva, a graphic designing platform, which only operates with 1500 employees, has made it easy for everyone to find the designs they need; as a direct consequence of this, thousands of individual designers go out of work and unrecognised. A simple application that provides automated design templates has officially taken over the job of a skilled and deserving graphic designer, and we are still approaching Canva every time we need to design a basic poster or an extravagant wedding card.

Let’s not forget that designers are ‘highly underpaid’. How difficult is it for us to understand that the “free” in freelancer is not literal? On studying the results of a survey organised by IndieFolio Network, it was found out that the average starting salary of a designer in India is approximately ₹26,000 per month. Further, if they are freelancers, it falls to an average of ₹10,000 per month. This is because corporations don’t value freelancers enough or trust their skill set as much as an internal employee. They also want to receive an optimised output in exchange of minimal monetary input without realising that—”Design adds value faster than it adds costs”, as quoted by Joel Spolsky, a web programmer, writer, and creator of Trello. For a designer, a six-figure monthly salary is far from reality. With such a low monthly income, designers are bound to resort to additional sources of income.

The Design Industry has forced more and more potential designers to refrain from joining the industry. An article by the Economic Times stated that India needs approximately 62,000 designers every year but, currently we have only 7000 qualified designers out of which only 5000 are studying design. However, Design schools like NIFT, NID, ISDI and Pearl Academy together admit more than 10,000 students every year. Now the big question is, where are they going? Moreover, what about the thousands of other children who have the talent but not the motivation to pursue a career in design? The industry’s dismal approach towards designers has led every aspiring candidate into believing that the industry does not deserve their diligence and talent. As a result, they are bound to shift their areas of interest.

Nonetheless, a large number of people have started realising the importance of designing, the competition between individual designers has been increasing rapidly, encouraging them to reduce the prices of their services even more to attract potential clients. It has forced them to upgrade their skill set in other fields such as business, marketing and branding. As a result, many designers have shifted their career paths to make ends meet. Let me tell you a fun fact– the famous social media content creator, Akshar Pathak is actually a graphic designer! He worked as an Art Director for Zomato and also made posters for Facebook and Twitter, but rose to fame via Instagram content creation. He has a degree in Graphic Designing, yet earns from his poetry and comedy through Social Media.

Designers aren’t supposed to be paid only based on the time they invested in their work; multiple other factors need to be taken into consideration such as their hard work, perseverance and years of experience. Pay designers for their hard work, but also honour their hard work. We, who don’t even know basic terms like jpeg, png or tiff, have no right to undervalue them. We need them a lot more than they need us, so let’s not deprive them of their passion. Nature is God’s design, and the way we value him (the creator) and his creation, is the same way we must value every other designer and their designs.

Pritika Agarwal
Writing Mentorship 2021
This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.