The industry as seen by top designers.
An Editor Vents...
... about unprofessional designers.
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
(Note: Care to add your thoughts to the topic? Email CLN