I am one of those few artists that has taken some time in their education to learn a few design skills. In fact I actually focused on design while in collage rather than fine arts which is rather silly since now I’m leaning away from that currently.
So I have some design skills… So what? I’ll tell you what. Design skills are an important thing for a fine artist to have because it gives them an edge over those that don’t and it also gives them more power in the ways of advertising themselves and in forming their own personal ‘branding’. Being able to create your own designs for things such as business cards, stationary, posters, and also having the confidence to edit their own photos (and even take their own photos) is something that I hear fine artists typically don’t and can’t do. I often hear that artists are quite computer illiterate.
Being able to do your own design work saves an incredible amount of money and also makes those designs so much more personal than if you have a random design company do it for you. Of course, just because you can paint doesn’t mean you can design, so if you can but shouldn’t… then you probably should let someone else do it. 😉
I have created many different logos, booklet portfolios, and business cards for my business (both for the design and the fine arts side of it). I made my own website, edited my own photographs, took my own photos with my own camera. One of the things that I do let ‘professionals’ do is make high quality scans of my work (mainly because those scanners cost thousands of $ I don’t have) and produce the prints from those scans since I don’t have a high quality printer that can do that level of work.
Let me show you an evolution of my business cards as an example of an artist that can also do some basic design work for herself. The newest ones are by far the best.
For a while I didn’t make specific cards for my art (since I hybrid between art and design, but I’m finding that it seems to work better if I do.
This was the first one I made for my business. It relied heavily on some of my environmental graphics I made during for my BFA Thesis.
This is the second design I played with. I used the same tree graphics (it was basically something I considered as a logo at that point). Turned it red and if you notice the cards form a set because of the background image.
This also shows how I save money printing the cards. Printing cards on a normal sheet of cardstock paper and cutting them myself saves me a ton of money.
I used the same background technique with this one but focused more on making it more about my art. When you cut it apart the background looks really cool, whether or not you have a full set to put the image together.
This is the latest design I’ve come up with. My plan with these ones is that the image on the card will show different works of my art, especially when they display the price of the corresponding piece.
I am liking my new design the most currently, which always happens with everything I do. Which may or may not have anything to do with how much I love the piece of art that is featured on it. 😉
edit: here is one of my latest:
I think it’s really important for artists to be able to do their own design work. I was initially going to focus on that for my BFA thesis (2005) but my professors didn’t approve of the idea. That was back when I still listened to my professors…
– Kathryn Koozer
See my work:
On Merchandise – Zazzle