Recently, I was geeking out over the release of a new Cathy Zielske template, and my ever-frugal, husband said to me,
"I don't get it. You could make that. Why do you buy templates from other designers if you could make it yourself?"
There are a lot of reasons why I use digital templates, word art, and journal cards designed by others and I'd like to walk through a few of them here.
1. I like the design.
That is as simple as it sounds. I buy things I like from other designers first and foremost because they have made something I find attractive and I can see a use for it in an upcoming project.
I don't necessarily buy things the moment they are introduced. I keep Wish Lists at a few different digital scrapbooking supply web sites and I buy things as I need them, or when they are sale.
Which brings me to point number 2…
2. I can't make it for that price.
As a designer I'm keenly aware of how long things take to create. I think hard about how best to use my time. Yes, perhaps there is nothing miraculous about a set of boxes with numbers in them. And I have the skills to create something similar with tools I already have on hand. All of that's true, but let's dig deeper.
The designer had to find to the correct font and sort through the various weights. then, the designer had to pick the appropriate size for both the number and the box. She had to scale them appropriately. She had to test different size strokes on the box. Maybe she even started with a filled box and through multiple revisions eventually came to the version that is listed for sale. And then she had to rework the proportions and font weight so that it worked for at 31 numbers and the boxes maintained a consistent look and feel.
I could do that, absolutely. Maybe getting a numbered box I like takes me 10 minutes. But maybe it takes me an hour. Maybe I need 15 of them and it takes me half-a-day to create them all just-so.
Is that the best use of my time?
Sometimes the answer to that is yes. But, most digital stamps and layouts cost less than $10. Most are less than $5. My time is valuable. Rather than reinvent a design that another designer has already invested time and energy into, I'd much rather compensate that designer for her work. Her work saves me time and improves my finished project. And I believe that is worth paying for.
Which brings me to point 3…
3. The work of other designers excites me. I want to support them.
Creative work can be lonely work. There is a lot of self-doubt and self-criticism that are a part of taking something from a blank page, an empty canvas, or a shapeless mound of clay. I know that every finished product I see started with a designer staring at a blank screen in Illustrator or Photoshop. And, no matter whether the finished design came easily or had to punched and pummeled into existence by the designer, I know that I am only seeing a finished product because someone worked on it. and if I value creative work and getting paid for creative work, I need to pay people for creating work I admire and work I can use to further my on design.