The Similarities Between a Car Mechanic & Graphic Designer

Car Mechanics & Graphic Designers Actually Share Similar Traits

car mechanics are like visual professionalsAs a proud Subaru owner, not only do I love my car, but I LOVE my car mechanic! I feel incredibly grateful to have found someone who is so knowledgeable. Keeping my car in tip-top shape he informs me of what it needs now and or what we may need to address in the future (she is getting up there in age a bit). I have the utmost respect for him and trust him implicitly. These days a good mechanic is truly a rare find!!


Over time, I have given him countless referrals and even keep a stash of his business cards in my car – which I have handed out gladly on numerous occasions.

He offers recommendations – like the best fuel to use for my car for optimal performance – especially for driving up into the mountains (yes it makes a difference!) He communicates on a level that I can easily understand when I have questions. He let’s me know things I should look out for and things not to be concerned about. Armed with this info, I know he is looking out for my car’s health and well-being along with mine. Passionate about what he does, I do not view any necessary work done on my car as an expense but rather an investment.  Better yet, I NEVER feel like he oversells me like many pricey service departments try to do at dealerships.

One day, as I sat patiently waiting outside underneath the nice big pine tree that adorns his little shop, a fellow female customer and obvious long-time fan of said car mechanic flatly stated “lovers come and go but a good car mechanic is a keeper!!” TRUE STORY!  Caught me a bit off guard – but was good to hear nonetheless. I was obviously in the right place for my little Subie 🙂

Similarities Between a Car Mechanic & Graphic Designer: The Correlation Between the Two

So how does all this chatter correlate with the similarities between a car mechanic and a graphic designer/visual professional? Like the mechanic who keeps your car motoring along smoothly, designers essentially do the same with your creative materials and/or website. Gathering the relevant information to best address your needs,  working with a designer as a trusted partner can embark on a great long-term relationship for you and your business!

Like a mechanic, a genuine creative wants you to succeed and will work with you to address your needs to achieve your objectives – and offer the solutions to do so. However YOU have a responsibility too! Just like your car requires scheduled maintenance such as oil changes, tune-ups and tire rotations for optimal performance (some of these services are recommended quarterly), your design materials and ESPECIALLY your website requires ongoing maintenance as well. Neglecting and ignoring such aspects can have a negative impact on your business. A relationship with a creative partner can and will keep you appraised of what’s a priority and what can wait. It’s an overall healthy strategy.

Yes Graphic Designers and other Visual Professionals ARE Actual Business Owners

Sometimes in the creative arena – unlike other businesses – the lines get a bit blurred or there is a misunderstanding that visual professional ARE actual business owners. Yes, that means fully licensed with a business license, paying city taxes (and the dreaded self-employment taxes for many sole proprietors) and YES normal biz hours. As the creative industry is about communication, it’s important to have a mutual respect and recognize that you are indeed BOTH business owners.

Like taking car of your car, creating and maintaining your digital assets or website should be viewed as an investment for your business not an expense. And like the mechanic who keeps you informed on your car’s ongoing needs, working with the right designer/creative professional will guide you to understand this and educate you in a similar way. And you are each supporting other small business owners which is a VERY good thing!

Payment for Services – No We Don’t Work for Free

On the note on both being business owners, just like you pay your mechanic for services (he does not work for free) and nor do design professionals. The concept that we should work  “on a speculative basis” which means “free work to see if you like it first” is an insult. You would not ask that of your mechanic would you?

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eco-conscious graphic designer barbara rogersWritten by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Graphic Design, Web Communications Design & Online Visibility Solutions. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place with their products or services.