Opinion? Is this selling out?

Thoughts/opinions on this…

Making a few cool/knick knacky products and then going off and pitching them to Urban Outfitters and selling a ton?

You’d be making money off of it right? Isn’t that the point of doing work? Making some money at it?

It isn’t “selling out”, it’s called selling, period. It’s what happens when a designer gets involved in manufacturing.

My dad was a salesman his whole life and was fond of reminding me that, “You can make a warehouse full of product, but if you can’t sell it, what was the point?”

jov777, why would you be afraid of it being considered selling out?

Personally i hate that term, it’s vague and I think it implies there are people that are not “selling out”… unless you are a mountain man living off the land, you are selling out in one way or another! I judge it more by would I be proud of this projects if I explained it to my mom… that is my system.

Nice…I like the mountain man reference. I agree with Yo. Isn’t this what ID is about, creating great products that consumers will buy? If you believe in your product and you can do well with it, than go for it!!! There is no reason to feel bad about a successful product. Every successful company started with that one product they believed in.

I think the issue is that he considers it to be selling out because he would just be designing short-lived fun/kitchy stuff instead of designing items with substance and meaning. The equivalent of Hara-Kiri for designers…

People who use the word Selling Out are usually jealous that they don’t have a chance to do so.

Who doesn’t like branching out and new opportunities? Most people grow and their priorities change. When this happens, their hardcore friends say they are selling out.

Do what makes you happy and not what anyone else thinks. (unless it’s illegal)

I design seasonal candy packaging. Some would say that is short lived fun/kitschy stuff…Am I a sell out? I agree with the above. It is a lame term that has no real meaning. Do what makes you happy and what grows your career.

I’ll happily “sell out” if it keeps a roof over my head and food in my belly.

I think if you can’t find integrity in what you are doing, you shouldn’t do it.

I see some integrity with designing some fun products that bring people joy for a time (Urban Outfitters), I also see integrity in designing overbuilt, high style product for a select elite group to cherish for a lifetime (DWR). The question though is if you can feel good about it.

doing something to put the roof over your head will eat your soul over time and you can rather quickly become washed up.

Everyone has their own moral compass and the type of work you do should be able to be rationalized to yourself at the end of the day. If you can go home from a good day’s work and be happy about it, that’s all that counts.

Personally, I love what I do (footwear), and the fact that some people see the products I make as unnecessary or landfill fodder doesn’t bother me in the least. I love that I can be at the intersection of fashion + design + technology and bring new ideas to the market that help people express themselves and fill a need.

I know another designer that does essentially schwag. Promo items sourced for cheap in Asia with logos and stuff on them for giveaways, GWPs, etc. Personally it’s not something I would ever want to do. But I don’t judge someone else’s job based on my own feelings.

Since you did pose the question to start with though, it sounds like you have a bit of misgivings doing it. If that’s the case, I’d maybe not take the project. There is nothing worse than doing a project that you have bad feelings about, as most likely they won’t change and you won’t put 100% into it, and end up with a result that you are not happy with.

…That, or take the project, make some cash, and move on.

Either way though, try your best to find some love for it or at least an aspect you can get something out of (maybe it’s a chance to work on your sketching, your pitching skills, your contacts) - there is always something good in any project, you just have to find what that is to you.


Yeah I agree with that. I guess my assumption would be that I would be doing something I enjoy enough to stand it for a long time.

I appreciate the way this discussion went. Thanks for the thoughts.

I especially like the basic thought/idea of “you have to be happy with what you’re doing at the end of the day, and if not learn from it and move on”

I was discussing this same basic topic(original question) the other day with a friend over a few beers and he says: “selling out is the new keeping it real”

He had just seen that on a t-shirt not but an hour before… We had a good laugh.

Some very nice points here guys.

About 12 years ago (pertaining to music) one of my friends told me, “you don’t need to sell out if you can sell others in”

  • Same basic premise as above, but perhaps with emphasis on staying true to what makes you happy along with using your powers of persuasion.

I think it would be awesome because:

  1. you’re making money from flexing your designer muscle, and designing for people’s taste that are maybe not your own - a sign of a good designer in my book

  2. you’re making you money from designing period, and some people have trouble doing that

  3. you’re greasing the manufacturing wheels for those personal products later, which are more meaningful to you

Don’t forget, some creative business have vanilla work that keeps them afloat for the s3xier stuff… and it and your products for this company won’t last forever. I guess if it goes against your design ethics, but you still want to do it, just don’t show anyone