Bad Design Is Everywhere.
Your organization is a scrumptious hen. Bad players are the foxes, willing to make promises and attractive offers, all the while planning to eat your scrumptious hen body. In this analogy, I’m a faithful dog, dedicated to proactively protect you and ensure you have a good design experience.
One of the most frequent challenges I face in this hyper-connected world is the ubiquity of bad design. As a graphic designer I wince at the “vibrations” of similar blues and reds that leave the sight impaired scratching their heads. I suffer—and thus has my family suffered—misguided letter-spacing, awkward alignments, and mystifying font choices and mixtures. As a writer, I stumble—perhaps more than most—at missing or extra commas, grammatical errors, and unnecessary quotes.
I’m not proposing I’m special in this way or that I have it hard relative to those in other industries. I could consider myself lucky in this regard. Whenever I see a terrible flyer, billboard, etc., I annoyingly point it out to people who never care in the slightest. But I know that all of this assaulting bad design will be out with the trash sooner than later. Many other professions’ life/death cycles are longer than that of graphic design. If I were an architect, the design stupidity I would notice daily is baked into the landscape. For decades. At a minimum.
So I should bask in my good fortune, right? I could. I would, if I didn’t feel so badly for the people I encounter through the year who have paid for all of this bad design.
Bad Design Experiences—Also Everywhere.
Read through Company Man Design Testimonials and you’ll see how many of the people I’ve helped are what I have affectionately have dubbed “design rescues”.
Because the graphic design life/death cycle is so short, there is a greater frequency of need for it. That means a few things:
- More graphic designers
- Misleading design portfolios
- Hit-and-run episodes
Before I discuss these points, let me make clear I believe that most graphic designers are proficient and ethical. But, like so many things in life, it only a few bad players to taint the wider perception of something—in this case, the graphic design industry. And for anyone who has had the figurative design rug pulled out from under them, it only takes one.
On this front, my mission with Company Man Design is two-fold: to ensure good design experiences; and to replace companies’ and individuals’ bad design experiences with positive ones.
More Graphic Designers.
On the surface, a lot of work to go around sounds like a good problem. I mostly agree. The problem is that anyone can call themselves a graphic designer and often you won’t know the difference between them and an ethical and experienced designer.
Misleading Design Portfolios.
Sometimes I’m wowed by other designers’ and firms’ sites and portfolios. More often, however, I see a couple wow-ish designs followed by a few decent-to-middling ones which, in my experience, suggests an inexperienced designer. In seeking a designer, look deep into their portfolio.
“Hit-and-run” design experiences are by far the most common bad design experiences customers have tasked me to correct. They were promised something. It wasn’t delivered as expected (sometimes not at all). And the designer made off with partial or total compensation. They were robbed and are left with negative feelings and a justifiable reluctance to continue with another designer.
Thank goodness for testimonials. Here are some of mine: online testimonials.
So your job is
- To look past the glitz of a flashy website
- To listen past the confident sales pitches
- To keep design expectations, costs, fees, dates, and any other agreement details in writing, whether in text, email, or contract.
Don’t get eaten. Be the smart, careful, confident hen.