Amy Crow
Designer / Illustrator / Maker


Practice Makes ... Everything Easier

I was asked today if a design I created was “easy”. I mean, I really had no idea how to answer this and reacted with “hell yeah, it was easy”.

I wouldn’t be so caught up on this if it weren’t for two things, the person in question who asked is the managing director of the company I contract for and the second reason is a bit more complex which I will get into- first things first.

We deal every day with incredibly subjective words. Words to designers like bold, pop, bright, festive, happy etc. These words are common as mud- the result of this means that their core message is subject to personal opinion. I have just categorised “easy” into this segment of words. What does easy mean? In context I think she meant a variation on - “was it difficult to execute” or perhaps “was the design hard to come up with”. On both counts, it was easy to execute as I had a clear idea and it wasn’t difficult because I knew the direction we were moving forward in.

I guess I feel an ironic uneasiness because perhaps “easy” in my managing directors eyes may translate to “lack of effort”, in which case, I feel the complete opposite. There was definitely a purposeful effort made to create the design, there was a lot of concentrated thought put into this particular design even though the execution took the best part of half an hour. The niggling thought in the back of my brain now, is that if it wasn’t hard - does its value change?

I believe that really anything becomes easy once you’ve had enough practice. I’ve been a visual artist for 15 years, a hairdresser for 10 and a graphic designer for nearly 4- I would honestly be annoyed with myself if I didn’t find a degree of ease within these certain fields.

I met up with a fellow designer friend last week for lunch. There was a slight commiseration for our profession in whereby the act of educating clients sometimes takes longer than the actual design work. I had observed in recent times how clients can somehow transition from not understanding the tools and the reasoning behind design work to believing that with Canva and other ‘tools’ they could easily replace graphic designers on the whole. The middle ground where clients understand the necessity of a designer alongside their personal understanding that without dedicated training and practice that they could in fact not achieve similar results (canva or otherwise) seems lacking. My friend had been speaking of a few projects that he enjoyed and that they seemed to happen with a distinct lack of resistance and everyone was happy with the outcomes. I have been thinking recently of all the projects I have completed over the past few years and recalled that like my friend, the projects that were easy to complete, fun to work on and where the results were well received are obviously far brighter and joyful in my memory than those where I had to continually fight for the most basic of things.

I mean, why, in gods name, would I do something if I knew that every time it was going to be extremely taxing and difficult? That I would have to climb a mountain of commentary from people not across the project, jump through multiple hoops to get a vague concept clear or answer a thousand questions before I could even begin?

To confirm- yes, the design in question was easy. I found it delightful, it didn’t consume my whole day and I wasn’t second guessing every part of it. If something is easy (read; if I am quick to turn around a piece of work) would you agree that then frees up the rest of my day to work on other projects? Everyone knows the value of time. If I and everyone involved with the project is happy with the outcome, does it really matter how long it took or how easy it was? To me, all I’m seeing is positives, so please - bring on more easy projects.

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