Rules to live by

I recently did the production on a website called 42 Rules, which talked about the 42 rules that so many of us know, but don’t realize we know. Laura Lowell has come up with 42 rules of marketing, but it could just as easily be applied to art direction or graphic design.

I was especially struck by her rule 38, Everyone is a marketing expert. This is something I have heard variations on since I started in the graphic design business. At first, I figured everyone was telling me what to do because they had more experience. My first art director explained it thusly "everyone is a graphic designer." He had worked for Ford designing the dash board for the first mustang. He said that when he as doing industrial design that everyone was an industrial designer. Everyone seems to know how to do your job better than you do.

Of course, the problem with this is, that everyone doesn’t. At some point, you have to pull back and think, what are they paying me for, if they know how to do this on their own? Why are they even asking my advice at all.  I think it is is more that people have an idea, and they want you to make it so.

And sometimes, if people let me go my own way, without micro-managing, then I can bring my vision of their vision to light. But if they keep saying, kern that letter a little tighter, and use Futura instead of Helevtica, and shouldn’t you be using PMS 299 instead of 300, the vision gets lost and I come up with something I won’t lay claim to, or put even within 3 feet of my portfolio.

The point that Laura is making in her book, and the one I have learned from life, is that respect the wishes and thoughts of your client, but use your knowledgte to turn it into gold.

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