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Tuesday, December 1st, 2015
6:30 pm - I need this comm is it still a thing?

Seriously, magazine publishers. Your own specs should not be so hard to provide.

When my client sends me this:
Full page bleed: 8.4"*10.6"
Full page non-bleed: 7.6"*9.8

It forces me to send you this email:
"I was given these specs for measurement: [pastes specs]. Our ad will bleed. Is 8.4x10.6 the trim size that I should then add bleed to, or does that number include the bleed? And if the latter, please let me know the exact trim size, as well as any relevant live area, so I can verify proper placement of elements."

And your answer to me is this:
"You can send us the ad in full bleed with 8.4"*10.6"."

That doesn't actually answer at least two of my questions. This ad is due to you tomorrow, and guess what? I'm out of the office tomorrow. And now it is after 6pm and I bet you're gone for the day and I won't get an answer until tomorrow. So that's pretty fucked up.

Seriously. Bleed. Trim. Live. Three specs every fucking publication should be able to provide in their sleep. WTF is wrong with you? Why do I have to ask for this even once, much less twice??

ETA: any other LJ tumbleweeds out here have an interest in a fb comm for this? I feel like everyone has migrated over there now; would we have a place to bitch amongst ourselves with commiseration again if we did?

current mood: annoyed

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Thursday, December 4th, 2014
2:46 pm - Knock Knock.... and 5$ logos?


Is there anybody still out there?

Yes I know everybody bailed to Facebook, Pntrest, Tumblr and *cringe* Twitter... or has everybody thrown in the towel and quit design yet?

Anyway, speaking of fecking Facebook. I just blocked all posts to my timeline from Fiverr. "Hide all from Fiverr" Oh YES PLEASE. [*CLICK*] You know, one of those online services that coughs out Logo Designs for FIVE BUCKS. Eat my shorts, you goniffs.

While I am well aware that there is a "you get what you pay for" factor with these cut-rate services... There is a part of me that wants to bitch.

"No worries, I'll just use my BFA (and my 30 years experience as a creative pro) to light my fireplace (since I won't be able to afford to run the 'lectric heat) and go out and get a job at fecking Wal-Matt... (since School bus driver jobs all taken - by former scientists)."

Grrrrrr Arrrgh.

current mood: amused

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Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
11:47 am - It is truely amazing

Since our job market has taken a severe hit recently I took it upon myself to go "freelance". I did these Menus a client and right off the bat i knew this was a horrible idea. "You know Michael I am a bit of a graphic artist myself" he told me. "I want my Menus to look like this !" he holds up the most god awful layout i ever saw in my life. The color layout was a joke, the worst script fonts in the world and pictures taken with his cell phone. " Now I want "facts" on every page and use a lot of clip art!! I also want my kids put in and add Old cars" They have nothing to do with the theme of his place. So after i do my best to fix this god awful mess he starts his rant about why his kids are not in it and how i used the wrong cars and I could have done a better job myself I get it done for him. I give him the price he tells me i am over charging him and as payment He gave me a bag of Cookies... But I sure am glad he is a bit of a artist himself 

current mood: aggravated

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Sunday, December 4th, 2011
10:00 pm - For a laugh...


LAUGH OF THE WEEK - One of the print projects I am working on is a 2012 Tax Guide for a legal accounting firm. I was forced to get a software upgrade and the new computer to run Creative Suite 5.5 to work on this project. Got the "You should upgrade your software, thank you for playing" error message in InDesign - saw that coming, yep.

Anyway, as is industry standard, I submit comps of the work in progress in PDF format, a standard and an effective workflow recognized throughout the publishing world. None the less, the first round was printed out, hand corrected, scanned, and FAXED back to the agency. So while the client that forced me to drop a CHUNK of cash on their project, are content to work with stone knifes and bearskins for their end of the work. My agency contact thought that was funny, but since then, corrections and revisions have come back in emails, word Docs, and even a few - thank the gods - annotated PDFs.

You can't make this stuff up.

current mood: amused

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Friday, July 22nd, 2011
3:31 pm - The Bad Guys Are Winning! (No, not militarily ...)


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4:44 am - Crap Hound 8 - Superstitions - needs you - and you need it! Baby, you need it bad.

Hi there! I just thought I'd let everyone know that Chloe Eudaly over at Reading Frenzy is raising funds for a brand new issue of the fantastically popular zine Crap Hound which has been a huge hit with graphic designers (with a very talented such one being its creator), and issue 8 is a fantastically rich resource featuring pure imagery on the vast subject of "superstitions." Want 100 pages of easily snipped and repurposed, powerful, interesting, goddarn cool clip art that you can use for your art and craft projects? Described by the author as "a picture book for activity and discussion" this is an inspirational resource with many possible uses. I have them all! Except this one. Goddarn it.. this one won't even go to print unless enough people pledge to cover the cost. Trust me, you DO want this.

Here's a crazy little sneak peek video..

In the words of the editor, Sean Tejaratchi:Collapse )

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Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
10:47 pm - Salon: When a designer should turn down a client


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Sunday, June 5th, 2011
11:00 pm - Competence

This sort of thing comes up to raise the eyebrow...

Last week I got a request that I re-send a client some concept comps in JPEG form rather than the PDFs I had originally sent. Since my contact was an AOL user, I just figured some typical AOL craptasticness, and/or the client not having the tech awareness of Adobe Reader (!). So I just sighed, and output JPEGs from InDesign and off into the email void. It's not all that unusual for clients not all that tech-aware. But AOL users are usually not very. Plus, AOL has been known to still mutilate graphic attachments from time to time.

But a few days later I get a call from one of my vendor contacts. He needs the "original art" for the sign art that my clients gave him to produce.

"What sign art?" I ask.

"They said you designed it."

"I've just done concept comps, but I haven't built any final art for anything. I don't even have a sign-off on any of the designs yet. What are we talking about here?"

So I had him send me the art they sent him... and sure enough, it IS my art. One of the designs clipped out of the comps, and the file was titled "JpegFile.jpg" Of course, its a 575 x 350 px image @ 72 DPI... and RGB, and patently worthless for printing an 18" x 24" lawn sign. So I ran out the artwork in inDesign from the original files, set it up at size for 2-color printing, and sent my guy a Press-ready PDF. Took all of a half hour.

In the email I included the note, "Nice to know that they really know what the heck they're doing over there!" But he appreciated my help. Gotta love working with pros.

I usually don't ascribe to malice when simple incompetence will suffice. I've dealt with technically challenged clients before; it's a reason I have "Consulting" as a provided service of my studio. But this time I am thinking we've got a little of both going on here. They don't understand the tech, they don't understand printing processes, and my contact doesn't seem to understand Design Processes, like comps, sign-offs, and final art. But they also seemed to have tried to sidestep me and go on the cheap and lift a lo-rez comp to a printer to try and fix. But they did pay the deposit, but are they really that clueless? Maybe - they COULD have printed the piece from the original PDFs of the concept art files. That's postscript vector art, but they obviously didn't realize that. Duh. AND... it's still cheaper - and way faster - for me to prep the existing art than form my printer to try and replicate it from scratch from a low res JPEG!

The client is a political candidate. It's gonna be a long campaign dealing with these people. *squint*

current mood: annoyed

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Friday, April 22nd, 2011
8:54 am - Glyphs palette in PhotoShop.


I'm pretty sure it's not in CS5, either. (Still CS4, here.)

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Thursday, April 21st, 2011
8:28 am - Oops

 Though you would appreciate this story from the Telegraph. What to show next time a client asks to "just google it".

Is Tom Ford selling used cars?
Second-hand car salesman Dale Wurfel's tongue-in-cheek advert would have you think so, but Tom Ford is unlikely to see the funny side.

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Friday, April 1st, 2011
12:37 am - Trends

Sheesh. THANKS, Nike.

In the graphic resources for the software package "Logo Design Studio" ... there is a folder "Swoosh" – with A HUNDRED AND THIRTY FOUR different "swoosh" graphics. *cringe*

But to give them a fair shake, there are 49 in "Balls", another 41 in "Spheres", 235 in "Shapes", 84 in "Things" Things?.... so I suppose it comes with the territory. Of course Nike and AT&T have marketing budgets larger than the GDP's of most third world nations. So they can get by with a swoosh or a death star for a logo... but most small business - which imply lean budgets - had best put their frakkin' NAME in their logos.

As for the software... cool to know all that crap is there, but think I'd rather draw after all.


current mood: amused

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Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
10:00 am - In-House Design: Help! I'm surrounded by middle management!

Boss: Looks good to go!
Me: Are you certain?
Boss: Yup, send it to press!
Me: Is there anyone else, anyone at all, who needs to approve this before it goes out?
Boss: Nope.
Me: How about the director's council?
Boss: No, I'm not showing them. Just send it.

This morning
Boss: So I talked to the director's council, and they had a few changes.
Me: *stare*
Boss: Well, they had problems with x, y, and z...
Me: *stare*
Boss: And once we changed x, we had to change b...
Me: *stare*
Boss: I realize this is last minute...
Me: Do you realize that it wouldn't have been last minute if you either A) didn't talk to the people who really have no say in this anyway, or B) let me know you were planning on doing it when I ASKED THAT SPECIFICALLY?
Boss: But we really need this change!
Me, in my head: Holy wow, if I'd been efficient yesterday instead of dorking around on the net, you guys would be totally hosed.


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Thursday, March 24th, 2011
11:59 pm - Multiple Choice?

Okay... it's rantage time. Need to blow off "under the radar," if you follow...

So I sends the client an email with the latest comps, and some notes describing some options on how to fit his design requests into his parent company's corporate branding.

Me: So you can do this... or this... or this other thing. [paraphrased]

He: That's fine. [verbatim]
So he essentially answered a multiple choice question with mutually exclusive options, "true."

And people wonder why I keep a bottle of ibuprofen handy. 

I've also for the most part given up on creating clean PDFs of comps, and just generating screen resolution JPEGs to drop into emails in the early rounds. Most client's cant be bothered to save email attachments to their local drives. So they're only going to look as good as they will look in Outlook or Gmail. They're also looking at color on crappy Dell monitors or netbooks, all painfully uncalibrated.

And I have flatly stopped bothering even showing clients letterhead designs that I can't replicate in WORD, unless I know in advance that the client is upscale and planning to actually have them professionally printed

And are designers the only people on earth who get that Adobe Reader is NOT a frakkin' Microsoft product and it's FREE from Adobe, and pretty much installs (and updates) itself?  And don't get me STARTED on people who can't figure out NOT to uncheck "fit to printable area" on a letter size document in Reader... then bitch to me that the printout is the wrong size.

* cries *

Sharin' yer pain. Banzai.

current mood: tired

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12:25 am - Web Designers vs Web Developers


Hat tip to: https://joindiaspora.com/people/32687

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Monday, December 13th, 2010
9:53 am - Sometimes you win one...

I have been working on a largish catalog project... and while trying to hammer together the content, have been going back and forth over the overall page design and header.... an email exchange....

He: I reviewed the collection so far to date and decided the treatment on the header is not going to work.  I like the concept but feel the text which needs to be lager on the header should be the category not the Publishers name.  Maybe you can reverse the trend and feature the category which currently gets lost and make the publishers name on the smaller side.

Me: Okay, here we go, without radical revises, three takes.

I like 3 and 4 depending on how much emphasis on the publisher. Can 
certainly be tweaked, and not inordinately difficult to update on the 
fly on the Master Pages.

He: Like version 2 [the most ordinary and boring] make the category words white and loose the publisher.

Me: Please see "Spread Design 2a.pdf" on the server.
Updating existing pages.
He: Two things:
1.) Increase font a little more on the category of the page and try
centering it vertically on the header.
2.) Please put our phone number on the bottom of every page

ARRRGH... Why did I spend hours (on a weekend!) updating the master pages?

Me: Sending up a new comp  with the following thoughts.

The category headers in Version 2a are already the size of the product headers, and in a heavier typeface, larger they outshout the products. Centered does work, but it's a more ordinary and less distinctive look and drifting towards a bit clanky. I don't think that what's essentially a navigation aid should be the main attention grabber on the page. It if works for you folks, its fine, but I did want to bring up those considerations.

Current version from 24 to 28 points.

I've included the text "[Clients Biz Name]" with the number for a bit of context.
A floating Tel Number is a bit disconcerting.

Please see "Spread Design 2b.pdf" on the server.
Folks, it was getting stonking terrible.... this big huge honking text up in the header that was screaming LOOK AT ME!. No. Customers may sign checks, but we draw the line here, are they paying me for expertise or what?  So I winged out a re-design...

30 Min later: 

Me: For a slightly calmer variation take a look at:  Spread Design 5.pdf* 
Still has the big text, but doesn't scream so much
This morning: 

He: Nice job on version 5 - I like the look, go with that version.  I also appreciate
your point on the previous and understand and agree with all your points.

Me:  ** jaw drop **  ...

Holy crap. They actually listened to reasonable, thoughtful critique for once. It's not April First is it? Sometime you win one, but gotta tell ya, these folk have earned a chunk of cred with me today. Still have to re-update the Masters for the done pages. But maybe after 30 years at this I might have some notion of what I'm doing. But Gods, I should frakking FRAME that last email.

Don't lose hope!  Banzai!

* [ versions 3 and 4 didn't survive the pass before. LOL ]

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Monday, December 6th, 2010
8:58 am - Blasphemy! (Was it a blast for you, too?)

30 reasons to use Comic Sans.

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Sunday, November 21st, 2010
10:46 pm - Every once in a while...

Getting email from clients on the weekend is almost NEVER good news... Every once in a while you get one that makes you cringe - even one who normally respects your professionalism and pro judgment.

"...I'm still not in love - can you send me a copy of the InDesign files - I will move some of the things around trying some of my thoughts and fire it back off to you. I agree, we are close...it's just not popping for me yet. ..."


I am going to send the ID files. He is a roll up his sleeves sort, and generally has decent taste, and doesn't think designers are just production monkeys. But I have learned WAY early in the game to never be too attached to a design or layout. I'd like to see this done and the client happy. So I'll crunch the ZIP, hit "send" and pray he doesn't muck things up beyond repair or into a frightening cliché that I can't look at without crying...

* cringe.... squint... **CLICK** *

current mood: blah

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Friday, October 8th, 2010
5:14 pm - Suckness to finish the week


Well, hell, someone got PAID to do that?
What a piece of crap, it's even worse than the new Wal-Mart logo.
I've one word, and that would be, "meh"
Utterly lacking in distinctiveness.

Oh LOOK, isn't that HELVETCIA?

The Odd debut on HuffPost –

More thoughtful commentary here:

But seriously... why did I go to design school.
I can knock dim bits this out of MS word...


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Thursday, September 16th, 2010
9:06 pm - Caving

OK, just blowing off a little steam.

On the verge of a total cave with a client. After about six rounds of revisions with a web project, am right at the point of shutting the frak UP, keeping my professional advice to myself, and just doing whatever retarded thing they ask for and get the sign-off and build the damn thing. Hopefully they'll back off the terrifyingly ugly extremes of design once they SEE it. There's a glimmer of good taste reasserting. One can only hope. You can only pray that they won't choose the worst, butt-ugly, and pain in-the-ass-to-code one.

I does not help that since the project's Principal is out of the country and VERY preoccupied, we're going to have to build the site 90% complete, then go back and revise it to her wishes. That could be terrifyingly bad.

But if I get any crap about how they don't want to pay me for the first 37 versions and variants, because "well, we didn't use THOSE." I will seriously chew nails.

But we've been here before, haven't we folks?

current mood: amused

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Monday, August 23rd, 2010
12:35 pm - New Blog Post: Mac Pros. Mac Users?

Just posted a new blog article. Calling Apple out on the current less than compelling, but pricey Mac Pro update and kicking Creative Pros to the curb.

The current Mac Pro update disappoints actual pro users. Image: Apple Computer

"Apple recently released, after over a year in waiting, an update to their Mac Pro line of tower configuration computers. They introduced the Westmere line of the Xeon workstation processors and now a version with 12 computing cores is available. But for many Apple watchers, the update was a bit of a disappointment.

For openers, while Apple has been determinedly cutting edge on their new flagship mobile products, iPhones, iPads… were notably conservative on this update. New tech such as USB 3, Firewire 1600, Litghtbridge, or even established desirable standards as eSATA were skipped. Few expected Blu-Ray support, since Steve doesn’t like Blu-Ray. The video cards options offered by Apple are decent, but somewhat mediocre by contemporary standards. But all in all, commentary in the tech blogs has negative commentary edging out positive reviews. The general consensus seemed “meh,” with a lot of dissatisfaction centering on performance versus price issues compared to alternatives on the Windows and Linux side. ..."

Read More: Mac Pros. Mac Users?

Enjoy. Commentary very welcome.


current mood: thoughtful

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