Our business was audited this week - thankfully not by the IRS, but by the state Workforce Commission. One of the questions we were asked was, "what exactly is it that you do?" Not an uncommon question and not an easy one to answer to someone who has no idea that there even is an Arts & Crafts industry. I'd just finished working on some kits for a manufacturer and had about a dozen projects in a box waiting to be packed up and shipped out. I also had a box full of the manufacturer's product that I had been sent to work with. Using these to illustrate, I explained my job as a designer as follows:
The majority of companies provide consumers with a finished item that they can buy then display, or use in a certain way. In the Arts & Crafts industry, companies manufacture components that the consumer can use to create an item themselves. Fabric is an easy example. The consumer can buy a dress, or buy the components and tools to make a dress, i.e. fabric, thread, scissors, pins, needles and a pattern featuring fabric. The designer's job for manufacturers is to create an item (project) featuring their component (product) to inspire the consumer to buy their product and make the item. Finished projects with instructions on how to make them, appear in craft magazines, books, on TV, project sheets, websites, or, as in this case, the projects were designed specifically for the manufacturer to create kits. So why my "unsung heroes" title? Any time you see projects on packaging, or a header/poster in a store that promote a particular product, they were created by a designer who you may, or may not know. And, of course, the products being sold whether they are finished pieces or raw components, were designed by someone. You'll be seeing the kits I designed in a major chain store next year. Like many other things I work on, there'll be no name attached. My wish is, that I hope you enjoy making the projects as much as I enjoyed designing and creating them.
BTW: We passed the audit with "no errors"..........