Today my co-worker gave this awesome idea for an analogy that pertains to designers.
I am going to include some back story in hopes that it will help people come to grips with their strengths and weaknesses.
I have been kind of busy and some of my ancillary duties have fallen to the side. My co-worker decided to create a flyer for a new program that she is championing. Usually she just gives me what she wants to day and I put things together for her. Once she was done she asked me my opinion on it. Me, being me, said it was a good start, flipped it over and sketched out a better format. One that would get all the information she wanted and not have layout issues. THEN I suggested that she use this awesome template we found two years ago and had only used 2 or 3 times. It would work perfectly. I stopped what I was doing and threw her design into the template. I did not use anything new, I just made her idea better. Just like BASF “We do not make a lot of the things you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.”
This analogy is perfect for all types of designers. An interior designer does not (usually) make the furniture that goes in a space, they arrange it so it at its most functional and appealing. Graphic Designers do not always make everything that goes into a spread or layout, they make the images and text fit in a logical and fun way making the items better. The same goes for Project Managers, Database designers, Editors and the plethora of other jobs that do not create things from scratch, we just make things better.
This does not mean that what was given to use was terrible or worthless. Far from it. Designers can make glorious things happen when they are given a good foundation. A good foundation is a good idea and some of the legwork is already done. My co-worker gave me a great foundation and I was able to make it better. None of it was my idea, everything was hers; the words, images and links. I was just able to see a way to put them together that made more sense than how she had it laid out.
I am BASF! I made it better.
At least that is how I see it. I have a feeling that she did not see it that way.
The problem with not really creating things, just making things better, is that people think you have stolen their idea or product. Personally I spend quite a bit of energy trying NOT to steal peoples ideas, products and property. I have had to create substandard images on many occasions because I was not able to find a free or affordable image to use in a product. There have been instances where I had to tread the copyright infringement line and use an image, without consent, and make sure the artist was given credit. All I want to do is use things to make something better. You can keep your property, I will give you credit for it, just let me put it with something else that will make it stand out more and help people understand its meaning better.
The whole can be much greater than the sum of its parts in the right hands. The hands and minds of designers make things better.