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Consumer design fears or why Tiger Woods doesn’t care if I pick up a golf club

There has been an interesting trend that I started to see at some of the conferences I attended this year and has grown into several email I have received from designers all over the world asking the same question. It all centers around companies like Apple and Adobe making entry level design software available to the masses and if it will hurt our business or how we are viewed as professional designers.

I wanted to go on the record with an answer that I will admit is not my own but honestly I couldn’t say it any better. This discussion came up with one of my old creative directors who looked at us and said “Do you think Tiger Woods gives shit if I go and pick up a golf club? Do you think he is losing any sleep over me hacking away out there every other weekend?”. Looking at this example I don’t have the ego or the portfolio to begin to say that I am Tiger Woods but the sentiment is dead on.

First, if you are a professional and you do this everyday then you better crush some guy doing design nights and weekends or you shouldn’t be doing this for a living. Just because people can get the same tools as you doesn’t mean they know how to use it the same way. Look at sports where we wouldn’t think we could perform at the same level of a pro athlete but we can all go to a sporting goods store and buy a baseball bat or golf club. It’s how you use it that makes all the difference.

Second, if you have a client that thinks that your web design experience is the same as the site his wife created for their son’s little team then you need to run away – now. Just because there are clients out there who don’t see the value in good design and thinking doesn’t mean it isn’t there. You need to be able to know when to walk away from situations that aren’t going to let you do good work so that what you create is unique and has value and doesn’t just become a commodity. From my experience that work that would be created for a client like that isn’t going to be anything you are going to be proud of so just save yourself the headaches and arguments.

So use the tools like a pro, leave the weekenders to have their fun and stop worrying.

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Creative Director, Designer, Brand Builder, Speaker, Podcaster, Crazy One. As a designer, I have 20+ years experience creating the strategy, concepts, and designs for award-winning integrated global advertising campaigns, building multiple global Fortune 500 brands and creating innovative digital experiences. As a leader, I have 15+ years transforming agency and client-side teams using a mix of creativity, business strategy, process and political skill to create innovative, world-class work and cultures that change industries and companies. My clients have included American Airlines, W Hotels, Disney, Citi, ExxonMobil, Acura, Old Navy, Nationwide Insurance, Verizon, Subaru and many others. My work has received over 150 international awards, my app designs have been named as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Apps, Apple has featured my work in 9 keynotes, 4 TV commercials and more.

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