So what is it that gets you out of bed in the morning? Freedom to express yourself, a shot at making a difference, and cash, lots of cash. It probably isn’t hearing that the concept you presented, the peek into your soul, “just doesn’t do it for me, can you add this copy and brighten it up some? Not sure where you’re going with this.”
What does that word mean in context to design? What does it do to motivation and more importantly, to integrity? You have heard it before, “its great, but”.
You think the ‘but” starts the compromise. But, the compromise started at the first mark made to bring the vision to life.
You know how it goes. Its all in your head, a little lighter, more contrast, that red is too red…I’m doing it to myself! Got to get this done, what was I trying to do here, they’re going to change it a hundred times anyway, just put it down.
Motivation. I can do this.
It’s just a job, it’s just a job, it’s just a job. Keep saying it. You know you are doing this for cash. So what if the client wants another paragraph of copy and lots of bursts. Just have to get it done by deadline. You talk to yourself to the point of a blank canvas.
Integrity. This can’t be who I am.
I’m just doing this for the money. This does not represent the body of my work. On the weekends I pursue my art. Do you?
When does it end? For sure at deadline, but before that, there will be more compromise. You have to run it by the Art Director and then by the Creative Director. So your work takes on a couple more personalities and compromise. Pretty soon, that peek into your soul has morphed into something even your mother wouldn’t recognize.
But glittering prizes
And endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity…
Zivojinovich, Weinrib, Peart
Now the fun part. Putting it in front of the client. You know, the peeps that sponsored this tattered bundle of compromise. Clients are typically very talented, high energy specialists. They make things, or sell things, or fix things and know more about it than you even thought was possible to know.
And they want every bit of what they know to be represented in your work. That simple visual masterpiece you created begins to grow arms, legs, and other bits that have no place in your concept.
So you head back to the studio with a sea of change crashing on the rocks of your vision and you’re more than a bit soggy. Why couldn’t they see it? What do they know anyway?
Then the director placates you” I know, I know, we just need to make them happy”. Ooof, all the air rushes out of you with that gut punch. As you struggle to keep your head, she delivers the knock out punch, “Chill out, It’s only a paycheck”.
Sure we do it for the money. And there are times when we deliver that perfect design that flies through approval. And we know they love it. Then there are others that make Frankenstein look like a runway model.
It’s our job to deliver on client expectations. But we don’t tell them how to make their stuff, or sell it or fix it. Why do they get to tell us how our stuff should look? Because it’s not our stuff. Because they are paying for it.
Delivering art for money is a delicate transaction. There is more than agency reputation and the media at stake. It takes all of you to produce the work that turns heads, that sparks the imagination and touches the heart.
Compromise cannot be allowed to win the day.
The world needs a peek into your soul.