Return on investment (ROI) is typically used as a decision-making concept regarding the determination of bottom line suitability for activities such as business models, retail product development and various funding schemes, but is equally applicable when discussing creative pursuits and the resultant impact in comparison to the actual time and effort involved.
There can be no favourable ROI if the undertaking consumes a vastly disproportionate amount of time and/or cost to arrive at a completed product – this imbalance can absolutely destroy any creative concept that simply doesn’t match effort with reward. Even when there are no financial implications and the pursuit is realistically only a hobby or pastime, extreme amounts of unrewarded effort surely do not meet most practical criteria for true personal reimbursement.
Finding the balance between art and commerce is always pertinent when discussing commercial artwork, illustration or graphic design. Determining the intrinsic relevance of purely artistic decisions within design projects is a key component of producing long-lasting quality work, and is also a helpful guide towards building genuine cooperative relationships between designer, client, and the needs of a consumer. Deceiving yourself with notions of artistic importance and neglecting solid design fundamentals is one thing – deceiving others via your own vanity or stubbornness is quite another!
Efficiency within the creative process, based on careful and considered planning and structuring, is the greatest influential component that a designer or illustrator can make to create a balanced ROI. Technical competency and conceptual skill will obviously ensure that the return or reward equation is more likely achievable, however it should also be noted that the shifting client goalposts often encountered within a project can easily scuttle even the most meticulous preparation from a conscientious individual.
Creative streams regularly produce unexpected communication difficulties and disagreements over visual elements – something widely accepted as an unfortunate evil that can only be suitably managed, rather than neatly eradicated. Possessing a realistic rationale and maintaining a professional overview should help to hasten processes and allow the attainment of a justifiable ROI.