Friday, November 20, 2015

In Defense of Designers

Warning:  Today I'm getting on my soapbox.  Designers have to be paid for their work.  This seems like an obvious statement, but for some reason it gets lost in translation out there in the world of commerce.

I sell patterns in my booth as a courtesy to customers who want to walk away with yarn and pattern in hand - a complete project package. I buy patterns and sell them to customers for the same price they would pay online.  I make very little on pattern sales, and it's hardly worth the effort, but I do it for customer service.

"Is the pattern free?"  I can't tell you how many times customers have asked me that question.  No, the pattern isn't free.  I buy the 
patterns - each and every copy.  I don't just print them out from a single PDF.  If you want a copy, you can buy it from me.  Or you can go online and buy it.

"That booth over there has free patterns."  If the pattern is their design and they want to offer it for free, that's their choice.  But if the rights to that pattern belong to someone else, I hope they paid for each and every copy they're giving away.

"Can you just email the pattern to me?"  Sorry.  No, I can't do that either.  The designer doesn't get paid if I email you a PDF.

All of this banter seems rather absurd when someone is spending over $100 on yarn and is quibbling over a few more dollars for the pattern.

We live in a knitting world full of patterns.  Ravelry is bursting with ideas, inspiration and creativity.  The notion that we have to pay for all the work it takes to document those ideas should be a no-brainer.  If we want to encourage that creativity, we need to pay for it.  

And yet, I hear variations on this theme time and time again.  "I just spent $200 on yarn. And I got the pattern for free."  That's cheating the designer out of hard-earned compensation . . . not something to brag about.

My sense is that most designers aren't getting rich on patterns.  They do it for the love of designing.  And for all their hard work and effort, they need to be compensated.  I think about this issue a lot.  Often it's simmering on the back burner, and every once in a while it boils over. I've gotten so exasperated with the concept of "free" patterns that I'm considering not offering patterns any more.  But that won't solve the issue.  Designers have to be paid, and knitters are the ones to do it. Rant over.

Since I'm talking about designers, do you know about Indie Design Gift-A-Long 2015?  Over 300 designers have banded together to offer discounts on select patterns through November 27.  Just in time for holiday knitting.  There are also games and prizes . . . see the link for details.

Thanks to some strong wind most of the trees are naked.  Fall is winding down, but I spotted this the other day . . . this week's color inspiration.

Remnants of summer.

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