Monday, 1 March 2010

Challenges and piss-offs

One thing that greatly pisses me off as a designer is when after working really hard on something, trying all the variations and possibilities, the client chips in with his “design”.

Seemingly innocuous remarks like make the text bigger, try a bit of this colour, make it a little bigger are stuff that can make us borderline homicidal at times.
The root of the problem of course lies with the fact that most people have little or no understanding of the processes or sensitivity involved in the creation of a new design. Everybody feels they can improve the design; you can, if you understand the bigger picture. Otherwise refrain.

At such times, I always recall an incident from my past work life. I was a fresh graduate then, working as a motorcycle designer at one of the Japanese big four.  We were having a presentation with the marketing department to finalise on the new graphics of a bike. The presentation stretched on for some time, everything from sales figures to production schedules being discussed.

Suddenly, the head of marketing remarked “ Why don’t we try this colour?”

My boss, a Japanese designer of considerable repute , was enraged.

What he said to the marketing head, can be roughly translated as :

Please leave the design to us. We don’t tell you how to sell, so please do not tell us how to design. You are in marketing , you understand the market and selling. It is our job to deal with colours and graphics, we are the designer ne* ?”

No wonder the design team considered him a rockstar.
I learnt a lot from that man and I still owe my sensei.

Incidents such as these are not uncommon. See here for yet another example.

That is the sad part; you never ask a doctor “Probably you can try using 6 stitches instead of 8”, yet  you want to do our job better than us.

watastachiwa designer desu ne..

* ne is a Japanese affirmative interrogation ending, but it’s essence cannot be translated, only understood.


  1. hahhaha..your post reminds me of the husband( a surgeon) proudly telling me that surgeons are never questioned on anything, and thats why they have the highest job satisfaction in the medical industry, also chipping in the fact that if he were questioned like my bosses are(when i tell him similar stories as urs) , he says he will simply throw a shoe at that person!!!

  2. ah the luxury of being a surgeon..
    saw the bali pics...nice!