The Worst Kind of Client

23 09 2007

I caught this on CL today:

we’re trying to choose a graphic designer for a new start up. we need art for any or all of the below:
art work (for the site, banner ads, print ads, etc.)
site concept

if you are interested, please submit some ideas FOR OUR SITE. (we’re not interested in samples of past work.). if we choose your work/concept for our site, we will buy your work off you and hire you to complete it. we currently have no art or site concept. it’s wide open.

the company: will sell exclusive unreleased downlaodable singles from indie and punk artsts from labels such as: Epitaph, Jade Tree, Vagrant, Matador, Victory, Fueled by Ramen, etc.

I wish Craigslist had a ‘This job is bullshit.” button, this way I could flag all the “Wanted: Receptionist/Production Artist. or Hiring: Web Artist/Customer Service Rep” jobs I see. I’m not joking about that, I’ve seen the postings.

I sent them a very nice letter, hopefully educating these folks that asking for Work on Spec is a no-no in the design industry. It seemed odd that a company that is trying to help funnel some revenue to small indie music acts is in essence actively trying to scam graphic designers.

I did also note that no freelancer worth his or her salt would do a work-on-spec and at best they are going to get submissions from a bunch of newly-graduated art school hacks.

I’ve always told junior designers 80% of design is client communication, a good solutions come from discussion with the client about what they are trying accomplish and what about them needs to be projected to the audience.

One of Those Hollywood Types

25 06 2007


Forget the film, watch the titles is a new site from the Submarine Channel dedicated to well.. movie titles. Excellent examples of blending layout, design, music and action…its always a thrill to see a typeface alive and breathing before your eyes. Be sure and check out the opening sequence to Thank You For Smoking.

Arial or Helvetica?

29 05 2007


So everyone bad mouths Arial as a cheap knockoff of Helvetica. Actually Arial was derived from MonoType Groteque, whilst Helvetica was an updated version of Akzidenz Grotesk. But can you actually know a cad when you see one?

Take the Arial or Helvetica quiz. Be sure to brush up on the differences first.

Clio Awards Announced

14 05 2007


The print ad awards for the 2007 Clio’s have been announced. I can’t believe I didn’t win again.

Great Business Card Design

8 05 2007


Creativebits compiles some brilliantly executed business card design, culled from the Flickr Business Card pool and Ads of the World.

lazy dot org

25 04 2007

So let’s say you meet someone at a party or shindig and they discover you are a designer. “Oh I’ve been meaning to get a nice website. My current site was built by my second cousin twice-removed for my yoga lessons and I’m not happy with it.”

Ok what’s your budget? “I’ll have to check under the couch cushions and see what I can dig up.”

{sigh} So logic and finances be damned you still want to give them great site. Maybe they have connections to better business, maybe you want them to practice their yoga moves naked in your living room, maybe you’re just a good person. I don’t care, what ever lies get you up in the morning is fine by me.


Well there are shortcuts to good design, without actually doing design. Open Source or Freeware websites, if nothing else it can give you a bit of grid and color scheme inspiration when you have Designer’s Block.

The best site is Open Source Web Design, stick Open Source in front of anything and it’s automatically better.

Also is Free Programming Resources list of free web template sites.

Go Comic Sans…and Take Courier with You

24 04 2007


I stumbled across this gem of a site by Dave Combs I hate Comic Sans too, not as much as Arial, but it’s up there. I am reminded of a quote, “There are no bad fonts, just bad context” Except for Comic Sans, Hobo and Giddyup. Some fonts have one purpose in life and any other usage just suck eggs.

Take Papyrus, if you own a store that sells wicker or handmade paper, great. If you think Papyrus is gonna add some humanity or softness to your greeting card, wrong and you are a complete hack for thinking that way.

Check out Ban Comic Sans and the interview with Dave Combs at Earz Magazine.

[Ban Comic Sans]
Why Ban Comic Sans [Earz Magazine]


20 04 2007

Wow, that headline is one of the worst puns I’ve ever written. Honest. But I’m not a copywriter so suck it up. Came across this innovative ad on Ads of the World


Using syrup made from the sugar-free product, the agency, Rediffusion DYR, essentially drew the message with ants. Brilliant!

Check out this video of ants in action.

Sucky Clients

20 04 2007

Designer’sMind has a great article titled Five reasons to turn down a potential client.

I don’t have any money, but this will get you some great exposure!

I’m not sure what I want, and I won’t pay if I don’t like it.

I have a few other designers in mind, can you create a few mock-ups and maybe I’ll pick you?

The have a pretty good writeups on why you turn down clients who say these things. What isn’t addressed the part if this dialog that is the designers’ responsibility, client communication.

I’ve always said that 80% of successful design is client communication, the creativity you should have already had down pat or you’re in the wrong business to begin with. You have to learn to no only ‘sell’ the design but teach the client the value of the design. If they bought a truck for $60,000, the value and investment is very tangible. When the client is shopping around for a $60,000 website value is a capital investment as much as a truck. That’s the hardest part about design is showing a client why clear messages and identity positions them for future growth, creating a sustainable consumer market.

What you should take from wisecrack advice in DesignersMind is always work raise the value of your design and all creative work. Work on Spec, ‘pro-bono’ work for clients with money, and overly-cautious clients damage that, but remember it’s also up to you to find ways to teach the client along the way. If the client doesn’t feel they are part of the process, all you’re doing is student work.

Five reasons to turn down a potential client [DesignersMind]

A Matter of Perspective

13 04 2007


BBC has a slideshow of a clever piece of public art in Cardiff Bay

Swiss artist Felice Varini and his team created an unusual piece of public art that is set to baffle and fascinate visitors to Cardiff Bay barrage.

Public art at Cardiff Bay barrage [BBC News]


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