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May 13, 2008



But surely the conversation's much more interesting in design studios? Likewise the music.

Mind you, it'd be magic if you could do all your presentations just by holding up a mirror.

Richard Holt

I really like this metaphor...

A client walking into either of them doesn't know exactly what they'll be leaving with. In both cases people walking in the door may have good cause to be nervous.

The hairdresser/designer always asks what sir or madam would like before starting work and has an idea what might suit them best which is usually rejected in favour of 'the usual'. They then set about fulfilling the request despite the interesting new style they've just seen in one of their magazines...

During the process both parties make a reasonable effort to get to know a bit about each other and the hairdresser/designer makes some attempts to interest the customer in their art.

The client has to trust the studio/salon from a position of vulnerability and there's always that uneasy moment at the end when they show you the back of your head and then ask expectantly for the money...




It does seem like a good comparison. Obviously hair dresses make a lot less money per custom but (hopefully) they have at least one customer all the time. I go to a great old fashioned barber shop in New York. They charge only $10 for a haircut but there's always a line out the door so I guess it might work for them too!

David Potter

If we're like a hairdressers does that mean we have to drive MX5s?

I don't want to drive an MX5

martyn reding

Bit grim, but possibly very true. It's likely to be a sad indication of people's willingness to not set high standards and aim for excellence.

Your right in that there is a strong similarity in the trust clients place in our hands. It's largely based on the pictures on the wall and how nice studio looks from the outside.

Craig Oldham

I thought the very same thing in a different way. I don't know how I feel about it all though.



There's a hairdressers in Leeds called "Kurl Up N Dye". With all that multiple punnery and unnecessary misspelling I think it may well be the naffest name for anything ever. And also brilliant.


Just wondering about the graphic designer equivalent of "something for the weekend sir?"


Cow Gum.


What do I think? I think you are very funny. But, you do have a point.

Mat Ranson

How about a tender questionnaire for your selected salons?



Very funny Mat!


The business model may not be scalable in the sense of replicating designers, but some hairdressers Nicky whatshisname for example command huge fees and have long waiting lists for appointments (and can scale ancillary services and brands on the back of it). Why can't a graphic design company achieve that? I see no reason.


John - "Every once in a while one of these salons will become very well known. Famous, even. That's because approximately a couple of percent of everything will always be very good. The rest will be average. It's the same with graphic design."


Sorry Ben, I had read that and should have made that clear. I thought it was a little pessimistic - unless the average of which you speak is really really good and I'm pretty sure you didn't mean that.

Sure you need to have (and prosyletise to) clients who want design that is above average and appreciate its value or who can be converted to that way of thinking, but it would be a pretty bleak world if only a couple of percent of demi-waves were very good.

Graphics Designer

Good post! Graphics designer is a unique job and i guess it is more tan a hairdresser do. It's more difficult to be a graphics designer compared to a hairdresser wherein the designs can be copied and a little revision from the original will do. But with the graphics designing, copying from others work is strictly prohibited in the IT industry. Most likely, both of the two, graphics designer and hairdresser are somewhat similar in some ways.

Kevin Coffey

Not sure the revenue model is that similar {~_~}

Though using filter's in Photoshop could be like using hairgel, has getting short back and sides done is like using Helvetica for everything.


'Graphics' Designer?? Noooooo!!! it's 'Graphic' Design.


love it. especially the hair salon tender form. brilliant.


why not combine the two?





I had my hair cut this week and spent the 1/2 hour in the chair discussing the parallels between the design industry and the hair dressing industry.

We especially spoke about awards, which for hairdressers are only usually (so I'm told) won for cutting edge styles done for free on hair models. These styles are rarely applied to 'real' customers because they are too high maintenance and too cutting edge for the public.

My hairdresser also said there is a significant north/south divide when it comes to awards.




Brilliant, I'm a designer and my best mate is a hairdresser.
We're a pair of slags. Paris & Nicole, that's us.

Jeremy Stersky

I do a lot of design for my online website so I can appreciate quality of your artistic flair. And also you're welcome to take a look at my new site www.bingo-room.com. It's got a lot of creative energy running through the very heart of it so go for it. Enjoy! :-)

Adaired Digital Media

You are Right Buddy..
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