The first person whom I saw it happens to was my mom. After 40 years of a pretty distinguished career, she was outsourced. Her job, and in fact her entire line of work, was shipped off to India and she was out of work.
Politicians love to blame their rival political party for pushing American jobs overseas but really, it’s a combination of technology that enables it and of course the access to low wage workers. Up until 15 years ago, we knew that manufacturing and other jobs could be done in the Far East for less money, but the average businessperson in the US didn’t have access to those workers. The Internet though changed that for any product whose delivery could be done digitally.
My mom was a medical transcriptionist. Her exceptional career included a board seat on the American Association of Medical Transcriptionists and work at some of the most prestigious medical facilities in the world. She was good at her job, but being good wasn’t enough to offset cheap. Today, all medical transcription is done in India. Not only is it a lot cheaper but also thanks to the time zones, the turnaround is usually over night. People like my mom couldn’t compete.
I thought I was immune. Four years of college, a bunch of awards and a great resume, but I’d be foolish to try going back to being a graphic designer now. Have you seen fiverr.com? What about 99designs? At fiverr, $5 will get you a clipart-style logo. If you want something a little more custom, 99designs will give you 30 design options for $299. You’re not paying off your student loans at those rates.
Clearly I have a dog in this fight. I believe a great logo requires a deep understanding of the business and objectives. I think it ties into your branding and your message. I’ll argue these points until the day I die… but then again, if $299 gets you a logo that works, then are my arguments even worth my breath? Graphic design has been very good to me but I would tell anyone thinking about it as a career to reconsider.
I think the future of design is that because it’s so cheap, more things will be designed. On the other hand, the overall level of design quality will decline because price is driving the results. If you’re a designer today, you should be thinking about new ways that you can bring value to your clients. Creating a logo isn’t enough.
* Volcanoman is a logo I designed for Brad Lewis Photography