Competition versus Collaboration

A tug of war can happen between rival web designers, but collaboration is best.

I do a lot of networking, and as you might expect I have run across many other businesspeople who are in the field of web design. Most of them are quite friendly, although I get the feeling that they wonder if I might take food off of their children’s plates some day. Although I have a great deal of respect for my competitors, these encounters have made an impression on me of the vast differences between competition and collaboration.

Those who are focused on competition see their counterparts in the same occupation as a threat.  They may try to “one up” their competition at networking events when discussing their businesses, or even secure clients that are already in negotiations with other designers. They may not be receptive to working in collaboration with another business that they consider a competitor.

It’s my philosophy that in a town of 500,000 people there is more than enough web design work to go around, so I don’t really feel threatened by other Colorado Springs website designers.  But there is an even greater desire within me to do something more than just make a buck, and that is to steadily increase my impact by expanding my network, my influence and my power to help other people. In other words, I believe in the power of collaboration rather than competition.

It is a basic premise. I once heard that one oxen can pull with only it’s own strength, but two oxen yoked together can pull significantly more than double the strength of just one ox.  There is power in collaboration, whether it is on the football field or the archaelogical dig or in the world of web design. Because of this, I am always looking for other web designers to team up with who are talented and who share my view of collaboration. I also look for businesspeople who are open to strategic partnerships where we can work together on projects, and I’m developing some great relationships with other businesses because of this.

Ultimately, I believe that website designers who are collaborative are better at what they do. After all, isn’t design itself a collaborative effort between the client and the designer?  The best designers are GOOD LISTENERS who hear what you have to say about your business and your marketing goals and put their own agendas aside in order to serve you.  They will think about your competitors and your customers, and their designs will cater to the likes and dislikes of your market rather than their own personal biases.  Designers that are prima donnas or who don’t comprehend that graphic design is driven by customer service miss the point and ultimately fail their clients.

Once, when I was employed full-time as a book designer (although most of what I did was art direction), we contracted out an illustration to a local Colorado Springs design company.  The designer was given the text of a children’s book and asked to come up with cover illustrations based on the book concept. The result was an illustration featuring a cute little bee, which unfortunately had absolutely nothing to do with the concept of the book. When asked do justify the choice of a bee in the design, the designer responded by saying, “Well, I like bees.”

At Kropmark Design, our greatest satisfaction is helping other businesses to succeed.  We do this by listening to what you have to say, by examining what your competition does well and does poorly, by analyzing what your customers are looking for and how to appeal to them, by communicating with you at every step of the design process, and by revising and refocusing until the final product is just right. It is a COLLABORATIVE process, not a competitive process. If you want to buy a widget, you go the the store and pay the price of a widget.  No collaboration is needed. However, good web design and good graphic design grow from a working relationship between professionals striving to attain the same goal.  Great Colorado Springs website design is what we do at Kropmark Design.

Image courtesy of Ambro /