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Creative Leisure News
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Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com



The industry as seen by top designers.

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An Editor Vents... 

... about unprofessional designers.

by Name Withheld (June 16, 2008)

I'm writing because I'm concerned, very concerned.

I'm in the middle of working on an magazine for one of the industry's magazine publishers. I was hired as an independent contractor and have been a designer myself, so I can still relate to the highs and lows of independents.

I used to hear editors tell horror stories about work sent in by designers (from workmanship to penmanship) and often thought they were exaggerating until I started doing work as an editor. If anything, those editors were playing down the incredibly unprofessional antics of some designers.

I had high hopes when I got this current project. As it stands, I'm about 50% through this terrifying nightmare and am burned out. I think designers were 100% more professional when I started in this industry many years ago!

I can't even begin to tell you how ripped off I feel by the designers who will be paid for the work published. They send in different work than the project shown to me in photograph by e-mail. The projects are falling apart by the time I open the package. The instructions leave out materials, steps, and sometimes are just plain wrong, wrong, wrong. They want top dollar for designs that aren't all that fresh, innovative, or eye-catching.

The best work I got was from in-house manufacturers' designers (whom I did not have to pay). The work from these designers was brilliant, awesome, and amazing! Yet, my heart wants to make sure work also goes to independents.

I think we need a round table discussion or panel discussion at CHA. There should be an honest, straightforward presentation to designers and the industry about the issues of fees, rights, contracts, and submissions.

The real loser has always been, in my opinion, the consumer. We aren't getting inspiration to the consumer and I think the economy is only part of the problem.

Mike Hartnett Comments.

1. In some cases designers leave out a step in the instructions because they are so familiar with the process that they don't realize Step 4 is really two steps.

2. Years ago I moderated a panel of magazine editors at a Society of Creative Designers seminar. All of the panelists claimed they did not play favorites when choosing projects submitted by a multitude of designers.

I told the audience the editors were lying.

"Of course they play favorites," I said. "And who are their favorites? Designers who do what they promised to do, do it on time, and include instructions that are clear and concise."

(Note: Care to add your thoughts to the topic? Email CLN at mike@clnonline.com.)



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