What is design worth?

We ask six creatives: What's the true value of design, and are designers paid enough?

Jeffrey Bowman
Graphic designer and illustrator

"The value of design is far higher than a client thinks it is. It works on two levels. The monetary value of design is undervalued, well-paid jobs soon lose value with deadline expectations, forcing us to work longer hours or weekends and do 'more with less'. The value of good design is lost on a larger scale in today's world because it's overwhelmed in a sea of fast turnarounds and underpaid designers. One affects the other."

Victoria Coppen
Graphic designer

"I am a freelance graphic designer who graduated last summer. Getting out of university, we were never told how to negotiate pricing, and for the jobs I have worked on since, payment has been a struggle to organise and moreover justify. Design seems to be viewed as something anyone with a computer can do and so when you quote any reasonable price for a job, that is actually worth far less than minimum wage in hours, it's seen as a joke. I am not paid enough to live as a designer."

Eleanor Seelig
Graphic and web designer

"Work-life balance is usually more important to people than higher wages. However, designers and agencies seem to be being pushed harder and harder. I think there is a perception that because you are passionate about your discipline, you are happy to work long hours or for free, and this undermines the entire industry."

Angela Southern
Illustrator and hand-letterer

"Do I get paid enough? Yes. It's a great thing, getting paid to draw letters. Also, it's nice having an agent to uphold the value of what I'm doing and negotiate on my behalf. Good design will increase something's value, and vice versa. I think it's becoming more and more important to the general public, which is a good thing."

Craig Sanderson
Designer, Avatar Creative

"In smaller agencies like mine, designers often don't get the benefits packages of larger studios. I receive no pension or medical, but the atmosphere is relaxed, we are a tight-knit team and we rarely work late unless it really hits the fan. A healthy work-life balance is as important as money these days."

Andreas Friberg Lundgren
Partner, Lundgren+Lindqvist

"Money buys time. Time is precious for the designer."

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