I was out walking today and saw some little toadstools and that little bunch of fungi bought back a memory from when my kids were smaller.
Side note - I sometimes wonder why “mommy blogging” wasn’t invented back then. I have plenty to say on my kids toddlerhood/early childhood. But then again, they were the dial up days and I had zero time to wait for that wretched screech noise to take over my ears whilst I waited for the internet to connect, How things have changed in 10 years.
Back to the story. When the toadstools used to pop up we often would see them and say “Look! the fairies are setting up a village – it must be time for someone to loose a tooth”. And as luck would have it the kids were always close to loosing a tooth or someone they knew had lost a tooth that day.
They would stop and wonder and look desperately around the toadstool patch to spy any sign of glitter or fairy’s fluttering that they could find. It took a good 5 minutes or so to realize that fairies don’t flutter when kids are around, that’s why the tooth fairy only comes at night and we would walk on.
To the contrary, on a recent trip to a well known large chain toy store (against my religion* - but we had a voucher to use) I was somewhat saddened to see that almost 100% of the toys and items for sale there (from gift wrap, to new baby furniture, to 1000’s of toy lines) featured a licenced character. Even the ones that encourage imaginative play were licenced (brands such as Lego included, along with art smocks, crayons and pencils and even themed easels.)
Not quite sure when this had happened – the take over of licenced products and the en masse licenced marketing that we as consumers are almost driven to buy through having no other choice. Rant over…..that’s a whole other post.
Now lets bring this back to stationery.
Those who know me personally know that I much prefer imagination and originality over licenced themes any day when it comes to kids play and kids parties. I know I know….it is hard to resist when you’re child has their heart set on a certain character. And because of that, I often get asked to do licenced invitations and stationery.
When I am asked, I have a standard line in reply.
“I do not hold a licence to print X, however I can use colours and fonts which will imply X theme”.
There a few of reasons for this.
So you certainly can ask, but you will hear my standard line delivered in return. I am hoping this post explains a little as to why I have the standard line. Let it be known though, I have created some beautiful pieces for licenced themed parties without having to use specific characters or titles. See below.
So I guess I’ll leave you with this.
As the late Muhammad Ali is known to have said, “The man who has no imagination has no wings”.
*religion – so you know I have no affiliation with any particular religion – just using this term to make a point.
Another side note - I am not 100% sure which spelling of 'Licence' is correct for Australia so please spellcheckers and grammar nerds out there, please feel free to correct me.
Some examples of work I have done which imply certain licences - however without using characters directly.
I went to a function recently where there was some serious negotiation happening around if and when to hold the next function.
VERY long story short, it was obvious, after many opinions and ideas, that it was going to be how the chairperson wanted it and no negotiation was going to be entered into. Regardless of how the mere members of the debate felt or what they wanted.
Life is full of negotiations.
Toddler tantrum negotiation - “if you stop I’ll….blah blah blah, or conversely, if you don’t stop I’ll – insert consequence here.
Tween/Teen I want X negotiation - “if you get me this I’ll - insert bargaining tool they are prepared to do here – more often than not in our house it is wash the dishes for a week, or keep my room clean (Yeah right! Mum’s know that one will never happen Do they even realize they just bought them selves a “no” using that one?)
Work negotiation – “Can you work Friday so I can take child A to the doctor and then I can work Tuesday for you…..”
You get the idea.
Now let’s bring this back to stationery.
I often get asked to negotiate on the cost of custom designs.
Sometimes yes, the price can be amended through a little negotiation and scaling down some of the requirements to meet a specific budget.
But most the time…and I think I can speak for most Graphics Designers here…no.
As a professional, tertiary educated qualified graphic designer, one thing I don’t negotiate on is the fee I charge (which compared to some is relatively inexpensive) for custom artwork and design.
Expertise costs money. You get an electrician to fix your electrical stuff, you get a plumber to fix your plumbing, you go to a shoe store to get fitted correctly for shoes, you go to a graphic designer to get something designed.
“But I could do it myself – how hard could it be?” I hear you saying. Yes maybe you could do some of it yourself, but there must have been a reason for contacting an expert in the field in the first instance.
Graphic design is more than opening Microsoft Word or Publisher and typing words and inserting a clip art. It involves a whole lot of elements and principles to get the look right. While every designer has a different they all use the same elements and principles of design. The knowledge and expertise to produce a finished item (using the right tools), takes time. And by time I mean sometimes hours in front of the computer, or paints or pencils.
When I do get approached to negotiate on price I find myself thinking, and have even questioned out loud to some, “would you go to work for two to three hours and not get paid?”
You would say “No, that’s not negotiable”. And you would be right.
A little look behind the scenes of the design process. A lot of thought and hours to get what looks like a simple little turtle.