Who’s Exposing Who?
When I was coming up in this graphic design game there was a general step by step way up the ladder for those of us in the Hip-Hop/”urban” community. You did flyers for community events, you did logos for rappers, start-up companies, production groups, clothing lines and everyone who called themselves a “CEO”, you did press kits for artists who were trying to get Factor grants, and so on and so on and so on. After checking all of these things off of your list, people started talking about the standouts and you got more work. And you grew and grew until you realized something – Your time, ideas and work are worth money and the low or no pay “exposure” jobs become less and less worth doing.
At first you do jobs for cheap. Then you do jobs for a bit more. Then you do jobs at a competitive rate. Then you make your rate based on your demand and the quality of your work. Then your rate becomes about how valuable your time and ideas are, not just the execution of ideas. And still, some rapper or start-up company believes that they will provide you with such great exposure that you’ll be the next Dirk Digital.
But who is exposing who?
While you may (or may not) get additional jobs from an initial “exposure” based job, you need to be sure not link “exposure” jobs ass to mouth. One of the keys to growth as a designer is expanding your skill set as well as the quality of your audience. For example: If you can do 5 logos in 5 hours for $50 each, you should probably expand your skills and audience to pay you $250 for 1 logo that you can spend 5 hours really working on.
I can tell you this much from my experience in this “game”. Unless the person who is trying to give you “exposure” is so remarkable that his/her name is going to be known by kindergarten kids, their siblings and their parents, your work is really only going to be exposed to other people who will more than likely put their saved dollar before your best interests. And you’ll get stuck.
Think bigger. Make goals. And value your skills. The truth is, you’re doing a better job exposing them than they ever will exposing you.
Know your worth and state it.
- Bryan 'be.' Espiritu