Back in the 90’s I was hoping to go out on my own as a designer so one of the big investments you had to make was in a scanner. $1500 later I was the proud owner of a shiny new HP Flatbed Scanner and I was ready to go. At the time I can safely say I had no idea what I was doing but the fact that I had a scanner was enough to set me apart from the average joe. I was a pro at last – or at least it seemed like it.
The same story can be applied in so many areas. Today you can get a scanner in a box of cereal. Edit suites can be set up for a fraction of the cost. My dad can create a website for free (theoretically – it’s a bad example). The average parent can shoot HD video of her kids and burn a printable DVD. It’s everywhere: cooking, bikes, stereos, cars, computers, phones and more. The excuse the professional had to charge based on equipment is no longer an excuse.
So where does that leave the professionals? Why pay someone to do what you can technically do for a fraction of the cost?
The answer is simple: Craft.
Craft is the thing that separates the pro from the amateur. Craft is experience, flair, technique, composition, strategy – all the things that you can’t learn by reading a manual. It comes from doing it over and over – learning as you go. Craft is the guy who stands in a farmer’s field all night to capture the perfect sunrise. It’s the person who can challenge the thinking behind content. Craft is the person who understands when less is more.
As newer technology starts falling into the hands of the consumer like social media monitoring or mobile development it’s important to base your offering on craft not equipment. At the end of the day, and especially in our industry, it should be about using your head not your wallet.