"What do you think of this?" It's a simple question most of the time. However, graphic design is just not what I thought it would be.
Sometimes, there are requests to make anthropomorphized mascots look more like their real life counterparts. But only if they can still hold a golf club. And wear a hat. And have eyebrows. It's maddening to be the person who can, in theory, create everything that someone has ever imagined. No one wants to hear that their wildest imaginings are actually terrible ideas, so sometimes graphic design requires you to show them.
Worst case scenario? You show them their terrible idea, and they actually love it.
Here are a few of my favorite career moments:
"Can the little turkey signifying the Thanksgiving holiday be a little flashier?" I'm sorry, what? It's not enough that I am making a calendar which requires the use of a "little turkey" to signify the Thanksgiving holiday; now you want it to be a disco turkey. Why don't I just make that little turkey look like the general of a Liberace army? He'll be stuffed with rhinestones, and I'll lay him on a gold lamè pillow. It will look great on this pocket calendar.
"What do you think of adding a picture of balloons to the cover?" Oh, this very official business report would definitely look more professional with balloons. While we're at it, we should add a solo cup! Then everyone will know our fraternity is recruiting this semester.
"How many mega bitmaps can I send you via email?" Holy cow. What?
"Can you make that red more blue? But definitely not purple. Just more blue." Sure thing! First, let me walk you through that whole "color wheel" thing again.
"This brochure I approved already came back from the printer? Did you know there's a quote from AYN RAND on the front? She is controversial!" This is where graphic design is most annoying. You wrote the copy, you gave it to me, I did the layout work, and I sent it back to you for approval. I assume that you didn't know who Ayn Rand was when you pulled that quote, but maybe you could have done some research before you approved it for printing. Pro tip: graphic designers are not copy editors.
"Why not just make it a collage? You know, feather the edges on all the photos and stick them together." There is only one answer to this. I will not feather the edges of photos to put them together just because you don't have a better idea. You might think that collages are just another tool in my toolbox. They are not.
"Can the text flash/scroll/grow bigger/change colors?" The variants of this question all stem back to one thing: 1995 Geocities websites. Remember building website where you could download different mouse cursors that would appear on your screen? That will never be ok again. It happened, and it's over.
"Here's the photo. It's great, right!? My daughter took it!" No, it's not. It looks like a stroke victim took it on a cell phone from 2006. The full-size height is two inches. It can not be printed at all, and I am definitely not going to put it on a billboard. Please upload it to your MySpace page.
Graphic design is essentially fighting through 100,000 terrible ideas to get to one project you really enjoy. It's a lot of tedious work. I spend a lot of time convincing people I know what I'm talking about, and because I'm young, they don't often care. They want that flashy little turkey, and they want it now! They're convinced that turkey is moving straight to the front of my portfolio. It will be the first thing I talk about in my next interview!
"Show us some of your work!" Have you seen this little Liberace turkey? He's the Grand Marshall of his own Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is the pinnacle of my career so far.