It’s been a while, but Overheard on Design Twitter is back, and we’ve got lots to get through. It was a good week for industry talk and some inside baseball, and we’d be remiss to not mention the launch of our Salary Transparency Survey. The open call invites graphic designers to fill out a Google form with their position, salary, and benefits, after which the info will be automatically uploaded to an anonymous spreadsheet for all to ogle.
We’ve created a Graphic Design Salary Transparency 💸 spreadsheet in a collective effort for wage transparency throughout the industry. Please fill it out and share > https://t.co/1kW8cukgEO pic.twitter.com/xK7uOdCZzi
— AIGA Eye on Design (@AIGAeyeondesign) December 9, 2019
Throughout the last week, we’ve seen hoards of anonymous critters busy at work in the spreadsheet, giving out information that companies would probably prefer their employees not share…
— MATT (@MA_T_T_HEW) December 13, 2019
Of course, that’s the whole point of projects like the Salary Transparency Survey, which takes cues from the other salary spreadsheets that came before it. We’re big believers that transparency is key to building a more progressive and equitable workplace where designers feel informed and empowered to ask for what they deserve. In that spirit, we’ll move on to a common gripe around the nature of being “transparent.”
Freelancers talk about transparency without ever sharing: 1) trust fund 2) parents who paid for entire education, rent, house, etc 3) no debt 4) spouse who provides support. So much of successful freelancing is based on immense privilege that no amount of advice can buy you.
— Alice Driver (@alice__driver) December 14, 2019
Freelance writer Alice Driver voiced a complaint we’ve heard before (and will definitely hear again): it’s all well and good to gripe about the struggles freelancing (she’s not a designer, but the same thing applies), but few people ever discuss they safety nets. This being Twitter and all, the responses careened between outrage, support, and yawn-worthy personal anecdotes. Most were in agreement with Driver, and added thoughtful responses that point out the importance of considering intersectionality in this clearly incendiary debate:
And don’t forget the privilege of living in a first world country, being white, etc. A small part time job’s salary from a coffee shop or wherever could afford most of what you need and is way larger than what most teachers and other degree holders of developing countries earn.
— t (@driftingdwarf) December 16, 2019
And many were very open about the privileges that meant they could freelance, while also touching on the nature of being outside the white/middle class/heteronormative bubble.
Yes. I: 1. had my education paid for by a parent 2. graduated debt-free from a private liberal arts school 3. am white.
I get to be one of few trans reporters out here because of these things, and that should not be a secret.
— Kate Sosin (@shoeleatherkate) December 16, 2019
Ultimately, the thread seems to have ended on a positive note.
This makes me feel better as a failed artist.
— ArtbyJarl (@artbyjarl) December 17, 2019
And lastly, this week Khoi Vinh asked the question to set Design Twitter ablaze. To an outsider, it may have seemed like a simple question. Innocuous, even…
Designers: when presenting your concepts/creative directions to clients or stakeholders, do you put your favorite solution first or last? (Assuming three options.)
— Khoi Vinh (@khoi) December 10, 2019
Some designers lead with their favorite, others end with their favorite—it’s just a perfectly harmless personal preference based purely on what the designer thinks will influence the client’s choice, right? Oh you poor, sweet little lamb. That’s dead wrong.
First, there were those in disbelief that one would even present options.
only ever show one option. Theyre paying you for the correct answer. If you dont have the answer, be completely honest and tell them. Use the meeting to present a dialogue with a series of questions that would give you any information needed to provide it. https://t.co/lL3840LUcZ
— ཊལབསརངཧ (@David_Rudnick) December 11, 2019
Only a caveman would present options. This is 2019.
I’ll never present an idea that’s not a favorite. I learn in my agency days that if you don’t want a client to select an option, then never present it. Also, this idea of having to show multiple options is archaic. Focus on one good solution, ship it, and keep improving it.
— Antonio Carusone (@AisleOne) December 10, 2019
Others had a problem with the wording of the question—specifically, with the word “favorites.” Designers should love all their options equally.
My favorite doesn’t matter. I present the best 3 options. Each should be a unique solution that isn’t influenced by the other 2. Then I explain “if you want to focus on X, option Y is your best solution.” This drives the client to make more intentional choices.
— Jon Robinson (@jfarrellstudio) December 10, 2019
I mean, as long as they solve a problem!
And let’s be clear, I’m defining “favorite” as “the one that solves the problem best.”
— Mike Monteiro🌹 (@monteiro) December 10, 2019
But others have their methods, and they’re more sophisticated than merely deciding how to order your deck. Here’s one we’ll call the Ludovico Technique.
when showing design directions to clients I strap them into a chair, clamp open their eyelids, inject them with drugs and force them to listen to Beethoven until they pick the design direction of my choosing https://t.co/zhY6HAxKpL
— Erik Carter (@erikinternet) December 11, 2019
Gotta do what it takes, we’re all just out here trying to get paid.
Showing options…in this economy?
— derrick has started yet another project (@dvsch) December 10, 2019
And on that note, we’ll leave you with a bit of pay transparency humor and a cat picture to get you through the holidays.
Is this a female cat? If so, probably 79% of her brother’s salary. https://t.co/6qs0HamB7f
— Juliana Castro (@juliacastrov) December 10, 2019