Thursday, April 16, 2009

Disposable Designing

Just because you can hold a pencil, doesn't mean you can draw. It makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

When I sat around the table drawing as a kid, my entire family would gather and "ooh and aww" at what I could create. Never did any of them sit down and grab a pencil or crayon and expect to be able to create what I had just done.

So why is it that 30 years later anyone with a computer and CS loaded on it can get a gig as a designer? I don't have any solid numbers to back this statement up, but I'm guessing that 80% of the designers I see are, for lack of a better word, downright hacks.

It's what I call "disposable designing". Before computers, you actually had to have an iota of artistic ability to consider this career. Now you don't. Programs like Adobe Creative Suite have become so available that anyone can download a pirated version, install it and go. With fonts and filters and plug-ins, it's open season on leading, kerning, (if you have to look that up, you're guilty) and design theory. Brand? Oh, just forget that! Needless to say, it hurts our craft when "80%" of the "designers" I see churn out what they do. If I see any more Apple-esque reflections under logos I'm going to lose my mind. I'd love to know how to stop it, but I don't. My old friend and mentor Robert Burns is spinning in his grave as I write this!

I have a brother who is a designer and he's just as passionate about it as I am. He's only got a few years, maybe five, as a designer and a year or so ago he was offered an Art Director position, which he promptly turned down. He said "How the hell can I be an AD with only 3 years experience?" I applauded his decision.

Now, even Art Directors are being replaced by Account Executives! "Oh, lets move this, and let's make the logo bigger, and let's fill that white space and make the headline pop". Who the f**k are these people anyway? I mean, where do these people go to learn about design? Is there a school for people who, at some point in their life, decided that they wanted to be a sales rep in an ad agency? If so, I have to sit in on that class and go all House on them.

My brother the designer has heard this rant many times, but I'm saying again. I like to let account reps ramble on about changes and crap that they think need to be made. I wait for that perfect moment, not speaking until spoken to, with a long deadly pause. Then I ask them:

"Can you do me a favour? Pull out your business card and read me the line directly under your name."

"Now, can you please tell me where it says f**king Art Director?"