Graphic design is a profession in which artistic creativity and stylization seem to be the main key factors for a successful career. In most cases this is true and quality management (TQM) or ISO 9000 aren’t needed to complete the core tasks of a graphic designer. On the other hand there are things that go into the process that requires more than artistic talent and skill. In her article Sally Foster states “A graphic designer may work in a variety of fields—website design, advertising, product development, logo design, even sign making. ” (Foster, 2003).
This means that most of a graphic designer’s work is for the benefit of a client or customer, which also means that a graphic designer must sometimes adhere to policies and procedures that may not be their own. Now this is where the concepts of TQM and ISO appear in the world of graphic design, only I don’t believe it’s one or the other, it’s a mix of both. TQM and the Graphic Designer “Total Quality Management is a philosophy that is designed to make an organization faster, flexible, focused, and friendly—leads to a structured system that focuses each employee on the customer. (Hoffher, Moran, and Nadler, 1994, p. 13). For a graphic designer, sometimes they are the only employee, the customer is the client or benefactor of the graphic designer’s work and the ultimately the focus of the project. Making sure the clients get exactly what they want to their specifications is top priority.
These specifications could be anywhere from a certain shade of red, a specific font, or sometimes it’s completely up to the designer and their artistic vision. Sometimes a graphic designer works on a job-by job basis, The TQM strategy will then vary from organization to organization (ASQ, n. d. making the TQM strategy a perfect way to shift and be flexible to the unique needs of each client. Using the TQM theory also allows for the graphic designer to build upon their relationship with the client for future endeavors. Freelance As I stated sometimes graphic designers work on a job-by job basis and are known as a freelance graphic designers (Foster, 2003). These types of designers rely heavily on the TQM strategy to gain and retain their clients. Most of the key elements that are a part of the TQM strategy fit almost seamlessly into the everyday process of the freelance graphic designers process.
One would continually improve by building on their portfolio and mastering skills for future use. They could also collect data on current clients to make later projects with the same client easier. Another element could be defining a set process for how clients are obtained and how their needs are defined. The freelance graphic designer has to think of themselves as an organization and not just an individual and using the TQM strategy is the best way to do so. ISO 9000 and the Graphic Designer On the other hand ISO 9000 does have its place with the world of graphic design. The ISO 9000 family addresses various aspects of quality management–standards provide guidance and tools for companies and organizations who want to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customer’s requirements, and that quality is consistently improved. ” (ISO, n. d. ). In graphic design this usually refers to the more technical aspects, such as printing, logos, and advertising. The most common example of ISO 9000 is most prevalent in the printing process of graphic design.
The graphic designer who follows the ISO 9000 process is usually tied to an organization that uses the standards. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that these graphic designers have no artistic vision; they just have a set of specifications that must be taken into account. These graphic designers are referred to as in house graphic designers. In House “An in house graphic designer is an artist that works for a specific company and is paid by that company for their work” (Foster, 2003). These artists are the most likely to follow an ISO 9000 process more so than a freelance graphic designer.
In house graphic designers are coveted employees because they have the capabilities of following the ISO guidelines, but also have the creative know how to step outside the box. Also in house designers are experts on the product already and don’t require any additional information on how to produce the work required (Niccum, 2011). There are even some in house designers that do freelance work, while still getting a steady source income on the job. For the type of work that in house graphic designers do, ISO 9000 would be the best way to go to make sure anything produced fits exactly what the company wants. The Printing Process
Most of the work of a graphic designer’s work is done on a computer, but that’s only part of it. Once the work is completed the art needs to printed, and there is a definite process for the printing of graphic art. Modern printing methods or digital printing is the process of which the graphic designer’s work is presented to the public (Miller, n. d. ). Also graphic designers are called on to produce digital images, but also creative type. This includes greeting cards, wedding invitations, as well as brochures, all which have specific standards that make sure they are printed according to size and quantity.
Conclusion Graphic design is an ever-growing field and there will always be an abundance of competition. Learning how to be adaptable and flexible is are very important traits to have. So although the majority of graphic design follows along the lines of TQM, there is still a place for the ISO standards. A successful graphic designer knows how to operate under the guidelines and requirements of both strategies.
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N. p. , n. d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. <http://graphicdesign. about. com/od/printproductionglossary/g/digital_print. htm>. Niccum, Doug . “Why you should have an in-house graphic designer | Gears Of Biz. ” Gears Of Biz – The Business Technology Information Hub. N. p. , 8 Feb. 2011. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. <http://gearsofbiz. com/all/why-you-should-have-an-in-house-graphic-designer/>. “Total Quality Management (TQM) – ASQ. ” ASQ: The Global Voice of Quality. N. p. , n. d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. <http://asq. org/learn-about-quality/total-quality-management/overview/implementing-tqm. html>.