The Similarities Between a Car Mechanic & Graphic Designer

car mechanics are like visual professionals Working with a design professional as a trusted, strategic partner can embark you and your business on a great long-term relationship.

A trusted mechanic will keep your car motoring along smoothly. Designers essentially do the same with your creative materials and/or website.

Odd as it may seem, there is indeed a correlation between the two…

Like the mechanic who wants to protect your car, a genuine creative wants you and your business to succeed. To get to the source of your current situation, both will need to gather initial, relevant information. After an assessment – or “looking under the hood” so to speak, they will work to address your needs. Then offer solutions on how best to proceed.

However YOU do have a responsibility too!

Your car requires scheduled maintenance such as oil changes, tune-ups and tire rotations for optimal performance (some of these services are recommended quarterly). So too, your design materials – especially your website – which requires ongoing maintenance. Just like neglecting your car can have negative impacts, neglecting and ignoring such aspects can have a negative impact on your business.

A car mechanic will likely tell you when you need your next oil change or brakes etc. So 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

A reputable car mechanic’s shop is a licensed business. business open signUnfortunately, in the creative arena the lines get a bit blurred. There is often a misunderstanding that folks don’t recognize that visual professionals ARE actual business owners. That means a business license, paying city taxes (and the dreaded self-employment taxes for sole proprietors).  A mechanic does not work 7 days a week. So we have biz hours too.

Like taking care of your car, creating and maintaining your print and digital assets should be viewed as an investment in your business not an expense. And like the mechanic who keeps you informed of your car’s ongoing needs, working with the right designer/creative professional will guide you and educate you in a similar way.

Mechanics Don’t Work for Free – Designers Don’t Either

You pay your car mechanic for the services he provides as he does not work for free. For the record, design professionals do not work for free either. The concept that we should work “on a speculative basis” which means “free work to see if you like it first” is ridiculous. You would not ask that of your mechanic would you? He’d likely laugh at you!

Last little note to keep in mind is good car mechanics tend to have smaller indie shops. That means you may need to wait a bit to get in. This is similar with indie design studios. There can be a wait depending on which projects are currently in the queue. Then again, good things are work waiting for 🙂


Related Reading…
If You Enjoyed This Post, Consider:

• Diagnosing Your Needs – The Importance of New Project Consultations
• Website Maintenance – The Forgotten Son


eco-conscious graphic designer barbara rogersWritten by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Helping businesses grow through better design and search visibility solutions. From creating your business identity, designing and maintaining your print/digital assets to the importance of SEO for your website.

Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place with their products or services.