Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

A New design agency with the mindset of 10-15 years ago…

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • A New design agency with the mindset of 10-15 years ago…

    Greetings! So… I've been at this company for about 4 (ish) months. They've been in business (phonebook publishing) for 8+ years now; but this year they are wanting to open up a new subsidiary company as a design agency. I'm excited for the learning opportunities and new challenging projects this will create but a major problem we are running into is the management has the mindset of about 10-15 years ago.

    For example: with the website for the new company they are wanting spinning logos/images, a guy skiing down the page, and stuff like that. For their designs they are wanting glows, shadows, stock images on Business Cards, etc. Here at the company we have three designers (including myself) all with less then 5 years experience in the industry (however we all graduated in design).

    We designers are concerned with a few things right now with this move from management.
    1. Probably our biggest concern is what will this job do to future employment options? If the stuff we design is outdated it's going to be harder to put it into our portfolio because potential employers will see it and think "these guys are old school, I don't want to train them to be modern".
    2. Potential clients will walk away because they will see an 'out dated' company, they will worry that their design (whatever it may be) will be out dated.
    3. Management is exceedingly stubborn with anything modern we do create. They will ask us to re-design it (back to the style of 10-15 years ago)

    What do you guys suggest with handling this issue? How do we help them understand that they need to be more "up-to-date" with their designs or ultimately the business will close?

    Thanks in advanced!

  • #2
    Show them their competition, explain which [ideas/concepts] work, which could be improved and why... they might not want to listen, but there are loads of studios with outdated materials that get clients because a) they're convenient b) they're "cost-effective" c) the client hasn't done any research, which is really circles back to point a. A phone book publisher might have a lot of business contacts/relationships through the advertising inside the publication that they can use to solicit to.

    I would be concerned with working for a phone book company that wasn't looking to branch off, I haven't seen a phone book in years, the last few that I received (a number of years ago) went from my doorstep directly to the blue bin without passing go.
    Design is not decoration.

    Comment


    • #3
      Keming, I like that, the other two designers and I have talked about looking at our competition in the area and showing it to them. There is a company about 15 min down the street that had some contracts with disney a few years ago, though I can't remember to what extent to be honest. So we have some steep competition. Thanks for the wonderful suggestion!

      Comment


      • kemingMatters
        kemingMatters commented
        Editing a comment
        I wouldn't let that make you think you have steep competition, A contract with Disney might sound impressive, but their style guides are so finely tuned that it's pretty much production work and maybe some printing. I'd be willing to bet that's it's not nearly as lucrative or glamourous as it sounds.

        You got to sell your superiors on ideas just like you have to sell your clients on ideas.

    • #4
      There was a guy on a tee shirt forum who worked for garment printers with a Disney contract. The stories he tells ... no, it's not glamorous. Really strict standards and guides, and not much profit once they picked everything apart.
      No cell phone, no Facebook, no iAnything. Am I missing something?

      Comment


      • UncleWally
        UncleWally commented
        Editing a comment
        I've heard enough stories about Disney (in other areas) that what you and Keming say don't surprise me (however I still wasn't really expecting it) There's a saying in the film industry (where I still work part-time) that says "Don't mess with the Mouse Ears"

        That aside, I think what Keming mentioned prior about needing to "sell your superiors on ideas just like you have to sell your clients on ideas" is the route we will be taking, We've come up with a few other solutions as well to help us with our portfolio (and to help keep us up-to-date)

        Some of them are to push each other to keep producing good design. Educating our superiors on why we need to be up-to-date and just 'keep on keeping on'

    • #5
      Originally posted by UncleWally View Post
      How do we help them understand that they need to be more "up-to-date" with their designs or ultimately the business will close?
      For 3 or 4 years we had a contract with a printer whose primary business was publishing phone books. We hired them to print 100,000-plus copies of various boilerplate information booklets on newsprint, so a web printer was most practical. They also had a couple of sheetfed presses, and they kept pushing us to send sheetfed work to them.

      Unfortunately, they just couldn't make the quality transition from cheap, bulk-quantity newsprint to higher-quality sheetfed work. Everything to them was a telephone book, and for whatever reason, no matter what we'd say, they just couldn't break out of their quick & dirty approach to getting things done.

      Graphic design is a difficult profession, and one of those difficulties is finding a place to work that fits. Expecting the owners of a place that's found a niche doing high-volume, lower-end work to suddenly appreciate and want something very different is usually expecting too much. I don't know the details of your situation, but just from reading between the lines, it sounds like their idea of an ad agency is cranking out the kind of work most suitable for the Yellow Pages.

      As for your "mindset of 10-15 years ago" comment, what you described wasn't good then either. You might associate that sort of thing with that time period, but even then it was crap. In another 10 or 15 years, new designers will look back at crappy work being done now and assume that it must have somehow been seen as stylish and good at one time. Head back to any decade of the past 100 years, and the ratio of great to garbage remains about the same, and it's heavily weighted toward garbage. The great work from any period of time remains great. Styles might change, and great work might be readily identifiable as being from a certain time period, but it never becomes less good than when it was created. And crap pretty much stays crap.

      Comment


      • UncleWally
        UncleWally commented
        Editing a comment
        You bring up a great point, Cause telephone books really are all they know… It's been a great learning process for all of us involved.

        Also another great point with good design staying good (and crap staying crap)

    • #6
      Are you at the point that you can ask management if you and your team of designers can come up with branding together while they do what ever it is they are good at?

      When I'm at odds with a client, I try my best to advise why I think what I think and give examples of working samples. Sometimes it works.
      It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh

      Comment


      • UncleWally
        UncleWally commented
        Editing a comment
        I'd say yes and no… I say yes, cause we [could] do it and have little problems with it, but no because management likes to have their finger in it (not in a micro-managing way, they like to know what's going on and give their thoughts)

        What do you usually do when it doesn't work?

      • Buda
        Buda commented
        Editing a comment
        I learn to pick my battles. Some clients will resist, others will listen and take on advice. But it can be tricky when your client is management.

    • #7
      When someone or a company is stuck in a rut, change comes slowly, so just sort of ease them into it one piece or process at a time. If you do it right, they won't even realize what's happening.
      No cell phone, no Facebook, no iAnything. Am I missing something?

      Comment

      Search

      Collapse

      Sponsor

      Collapse

      Incredible Stock

      Latest Topics

      Collapse

      GDF A division of Mediabistro Holdings Adweek | Mediabistro | Clio | Film Expo Group Contact Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy Copyright 2016 Mediabistro Holdings
      Working...
      X