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  • Marketing Director thinks she's a designer...

    I am so frustrated... the Marketing Director has been dabbeling with Photoshop and Illustrator for an email campaign. Her layouts that look like yard sale flyers... She actually thinks they're good... ack, barf!!!

    What to do, do I tell her? They're horrid!!!

  • #2
    If she asks you in progress then hint out cetain things not using the word(s) crap, garbage, catastrophe, etc.... those words tend not to do so well with supiors. I would highly advise not throwing up also.. that also doesn't do so well.

    If you do tell her tell her in a professional fashioned critique. I am sure you allready know that though.

    On the otherhand, if it is near completion or she says its complete then I would just go along with what she says. Save yourself the headach.

    Say it LoOk PrEtTy and move on.
    Last edited by tZ; 08-27-2005, 06:11 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      >>On the otherhand, if it is near completion or she says its complete then I would just go along with what she says. Save yourself the headach.<<

      Warning: slope ahead. Surface very slippery.

      I wouldn't say you'd be saving yourself a headache. It's more like risking losing a finger that's been snared by a leghold trap at this stage. Painful risk, but seriously better than losing your life as a result of starvation and exposure of the trapping.

      Professional critique is a relative term, isn't it? (And to discuss that in THIS forum is particularly ironic, he said.)

      There's so many approaches to take, and as Homer Simpson once said, "It takes two to lie Marge. One to lie, and one to listen."

      Diplomatic responses to client opinions is one thing, diplomacy with the person who controls your workflow, and to some extent, your career-- quite another. The term 'diplomatic immunity' is only a phrase.

      That said, if you want that career to continue along professionally, you need to nip this in the bud. Here's where you must rely on, or at least practice your skill as a diplomat and set things straight. Maybe parenting is a better metaphor.

      In a way, your reaction reminds me of the one a parent would have to accidentally discover a young child masturbating. Shock, dismay, even horror for some. On the other hand (no pun intended), it's also an acknowledged stage of everyone's sexual development, and absolutely natural. Only, it's not something we want to share with friends, neighbours, and in your case... existing and potential clientelle.

      So, deep breath, interested, but not overly encouraging smile, and maybe something like this:
      "I see that you're really starting to get into Photoshop and Illustrator."
      "Yes, it took me a bit of time to get familiar with it, but I have to say that it's not as hard as I thought it would be!"
      "Kinda fun, too?"
      "Well, yeah! It IS fun. I can see why you got into this stuff. There's SO much you can do with it!"
      "Absolutely! Kind of like the Willy Wonka graphic factory isn't it? I see you've discovered the style palette."
      "Yes, look at what I've done here with this heading."
      "That would be the one with the rainbow gradient and the combinations birght green glow and drop shadow set in Comic Sans?"
      "Um... yeah! Did you know that you can tweak these effects in the layer palette?"
      "You certainly have gotten into it quickly. I'm impressed. A lot of people are too intimidated by these 'professional' level applications. They think that you have to have an arts degree to even play with them. But that's the great thing about computers, you don't have to be a trained expert to have fun with great programs. And some programs cover many areas of expertise. Like Photoshop, for example. Do you know it's not just for graphic designers and photographers. No, in fact, it plays a very vital role in scientific research and development work as well. It's deceptively easy interface hides an extremely powerful mathematical image processor capable of analyzing graphic information for such diverse things as tissue samples, ore analysis, historical aritifacts-- the list is very long."
      "Neat. Hey, how do you stop the motion blur filter from blurring both sides of the thingy here?"
      "Well, the thing is, Photoshop is really a very powerful, and very useful tool. These researchers have discovered it can be used in ways not guessed at by the normal user, which are professional designers. Myself, I wouldn't presume that even with my years of working with Photoshop, and my three years at art college, that I could begin to understand how to use it to say, help isolate leukemic cells in an image, from healthy ones. But as trained doctors, they do. You know what I'm saying?"
      "You don't know how to control the blurring either?"
      "No, what I'm saying is that what you can do with a tool depends on your ability and experience. I've spent years studying not just the software, but the [pointing to your forehead] 'greyware'. That is, design theory-- getting to understand the principles, the elements, the fundamental rules of type, layout, what works in production/what doesn't. The psychological and physiological laws of perception, how a reader's mind works and how to insure my work reaches it. Much of it was studied in class, yes, but most of that really sunk in only with real practice and ultimately, real work experience. It's a difficult thing to get across sometimes. Like when I'm reviewing a student portfolio."
      "You've done that?"
      "Sure. It really helps them. It really helped me! Designers often depend on honest peer criticism as helpful feedback to really see the 'big picture'. When you start to get into a piece, it can be very easy to see just the piece or portion that you're working on or even easier, to get carried away with all the bells and whistles that you can do with the software."

      ** PAUSE **

      "Do you think you could critique this piece for me then?"

      "Sure. If you'd like. But I have to be honest with you... not everyone can take criticism about creative work the right way. You have to remember that I've been doing this day in and out for many years, and I've had lots of help and excellent training as well. It's not something you learn overnight. I'm only saying that I don't expect you to spot all the things I can see right away that need correction. But I can also point out where things are working, or have potential. And it could take, a very long time. OR... [pause again].. we might have a serious talk about where you want go with all this-- that is, are you ready to commit the time to learning the graphics trade toward a professional standard that's acceptable to our clientelle and corporate image? If so, you need to find a way to restructure the workflow and examine your role and my role in all this. Afterall, what you're trying to do now, is exactly the kind of work you hired me to do in the first place."

      Comment


      • #4
        Ask if you can "help" her by giving her an "honest professional critique" given in a non judgemental tone with ideas for improvement. Let her response guide you. If she is open to this, then you'd better have ideas ready. If not, let it go. A good Marketing Director will judge mailing efforts by the numbers. How many responses that she gets versus a "test" message or a "control" message. You can always ask if you can create a "test" message to try to a target market mailing list.

        It is my experience that despite truly great graphic design exists, direct mail "crap" often wins the response rate. I can't explain it. But numbers don't lie.
        Last edited by Vikia; 08-27-2005, 08:53 AM.
        Viki Anderson Graphics & Design on Demand
        Through the Looking Glass



        Comment


        • #5
          >>It is my experience that despite truly great graphic design exists, direct mail "crap" often wins the response rate. I can't explain it. But numbers don't lie.<<

          I can. It may not look like great graphic design, but it's not crap. It's salesmanship. DM is far more depedent on concept, strategy and very much more on copy that works. In many cases, it's the fact that it looks 'undesigned' that's a big part of the appeal. And that should tell us something about design-- it's only PART of the solution, not all of it.

          And you're absolutely right. Numbers don't lie!

          And believe it or not, some times, the yard sale flyer look is the perfect solution for the job.

          I think you have to have a very, very close look at what that marketing director is creating-- beyond the graphics I mean. Maybe she's on to something that you're not only missing-- but could actually learn to support her with. And if you're not happy with the graphic limits of DM work... well, learn what you can and try to expand your options for something else.

          Comment


          • #6
            I had a boss that kept wanting to do ads too. I'd come in in the morning, and he'd have spent HOURS creating an ad that he wanted to run in his magazine.

            He was a very strong personality, too. Not the easiest to explain the "why's" of design to, because he just kept asking and seemed to think he already knew the answer.

            I handled it like this:

            Him: So what do you think of my design? Pretty good huh?" (while giving me a look like, 'gee, your job is pretty easy'

            Me: well, I like your color choice. The blues and greens you have chosen work well together and grab attention without blaring. However, you have too many fonts. As a general rule for a clean design you want to stick to 2-3 fonts on an ad, one should be a serif and one a sans. I might suggest which two of his work, or suggest some others that I know would work together.

            In this example - I find one thing good, then suggest a way to change it to make it better. I pick the thing that drives me the most crazy or the thing I know he is most likely to be willing to change, just to get the ball rolling. This way I haven't exactly crushed his ego and have chosen something to fix that has a little graphic design science to it.

            Good luck, I know it's annoying as pancaking hell.
            it's deadline and I'm GROUCHY.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks you guys... I have to admit I did over-react. I know why now, basically what you pointed out Broacher, she is doing my job. Everytime I think about it, it makes me cringe. Anyway, greyghost, you hit the nail on the head. The next time she asks me, I will point out some of the things I noticed that would go right along with our branding... I just think that she ought to stick to developing marketing plans, budgets, schedules, competitive analysis reports, etc... and leave the designing us. This is a real headache alright!!

              Comment


              • #8
                my boss just takes the high profile jobs. For example, we got to have a big billboard ad in left field at the semi-pro baseball stadium in our city... guess who was at my computer as i came in one morning? and another morning i come in and he's designing the 1/4 page ad we got in a magazine they hand out at the PGA Tour when it was coming through our state... he did the design before they hired me (i was the beginning of the marketing/design dept.) and yes, his stuff looked like yard sale signs too! ;o)
                You see, whenever I start feeling sick, I just stop being sick and be awesome instead. True story.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You might want to suggest to her that she post the designs on some sort of forum, possibly a graphic design one. Mention to her that it would be a good way to get some objective feedback. Let the people of said forum do your dirty work for you, or you could even post feedback on said piece under the auspices of a secret persona. I think this would take out the whole angle of her work being torn up by someone who works for her and might make it a lot less personal.
                  • match in the gas tank, boom boom •

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Crits in forums are useless. But may be a good way to get your boss off this kick.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Say, I know how to turn a wrench. So I should be able to handle any plumbing problems myself, right? Leaky faucet, here I come. In this scenario, the consequences of my actions should be immediate and disastrous. Water everywhere. In graphic design, the consequences of poor design are delayed and difficult to trace to the poor design itself. But they can be far more disastrous, as water is fairly easy to clean up.

                      Is there any profession other than graphic design where, if you buy the tools of the trade, you automatically are entitled to consider yourself a member of the profession?

                      Let's see... if I buy a stethoscope, nope, that won't fly . . . oo! maybe if I get a good calculator I'll be an accountant! Or if I get AutoCad, then I'll be an aerospace engineer! That'd be cool! I'm also a lion tamer - cuz I bought the hat.
                      . . . in bed

                      (.)(.)™

                      You can fry an egg on the devil's hiney, but it ain't never gonna come out sunny-side up, A-men!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        >>Is there any profession other than graphic design where, if you buy the tools of the trade, you automatically are entitled to consider yourself a member of the profession?<<

                        In my experience, there are lots. Writing for example. And, well... at least I've 'heard' this to be true-- exotic dancing.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Proctologist and pyrotechnician come to mind.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Broacher
                            In my experience, there are lots. Writing for example. And, well... at least I've 'heard' this to be true-- exotic dancing.
                            LOL! I was actually thinking about writing too! By the way, what exactly are the tools of the trade for exotic dancing? Other than a vertical brass pole and nipple tassels, of course.
                            . . . in bed

                            (.)(.)™

                            You can fry an egg on the devil's hiney, but it ain't never gonna come out sunny-side up, A-men!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LeftBrain Artist
                              LOL! I was actually thinking about writing too! By the way, what exactly are the tools of the trade for exotic dancing? Other than a vertical brass pole and nipple tassels, of course.
                              A female body? I would say a shapely female body but I'm sure there are some ugly dancers out there.
                              it's deadline and I'm GROUCHY.

                              Comment

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