Last month a friend contacted me, a piece of his work had been butchered in his absence. It was horrid, a once beautiful spread lay there covered in clichés and bastardised typography. I had to turn away, but he wanted answers...
I instantly had 3 suspects, The Designer, The Account Manager, or the Client.
The Designer, he's the one doing the work, his fingerprints were all over this, he'd seen the page, he'd laid the type, he knew exactly what he was doing, it had to be him. HOWEVER, a trained designer could not have taken this once beautiful work and turned it into this, 4 years at university, 10 years in the industry, surely not...
What about the Account Manager, they're are notorious for destroying work right? They say they're just following orders, but really you know they're trying to cram some of their personal opinion in there. HOWEVER good account managers do have good ideas, they stand up to clients and guide them in the right direction, this had to go deeper...
Maybe it was The Client, some seem to harbour a deep underlying grudge against creativity, and are desperate to ruin every piece of work they can, they pretend they're paying an expert to do something, but they can't escape the fact that they know best. HOWEVER good clients know what they want, they know their customers, and they're entitled to their own opinion, you can't blame them, they're paying AM's and designers to make sure this doesn't happen.
They were all strong alibis. It was a tough case, but this weekend I saw Murder on the Orient Express, and incase you don't know this, (SPOILER) they all did it. It hit me, just like that, they're all responsible, a great idea died because:
• Nobody wanted to take a very small Risk.
• Nobody had the Passion to say, "you're wrong, this is brilliant, we should go with it".
• Nobody could properly Communicate why it was great.
Risk, Passion and Communication are key to a successful and creative execution being accepted, across the board, but clarity of information is the key to how great work is received, and it needs to happen at every level.
Good designers have to articulate a proposition clearly, and properly talk about their work to Account Managers (instead of hate them), Account Managers have to understand why this work is great, and feed it to the client with passion (instead of buckling at the first "ummm") and Clients have to understand from the outset that if they're playing to use a creative company they should embrace a creative response to their brief.
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