This past 4th of July, for Macy’s firework extravaganza, Mariah Carey gave the media (specially blogs) new material — after all, how much longer can we keep talking about Glitter — for her condemnation. In an inexplicable decision made behind the scenes, Ms. Carey decided that she couldn’t be one of those flabby girlie-women and did what any other respected superstar would do: She — well, her make-up artist — painted an unconvincing set of six-pack abs on her stomach.
There are things we do, as people with opposable thumbs and reasoning, that defy, well, reason. Sometimes we do these things to fix mistakes, flaws or limitations. (Other times because we are drunk of our bums and don’t feel responsible for dancing in our underwear on top of a bar… but I digress). When faced with a, what one could consider petty, problem, we try to come up with sensible solutions on the spot, or we might have a couple of hours to make a decision. Stupid or not. But we make one.
As designers we are faced with many of these moments where you have to make a decision that you have the eerie feeling in the back of your mind that, perhaps, this may not be the best or most correct way to do it. Like making a faux bold in QuarkXpress because you don’t own the license to Gotham Bold. Or scanning a textured paper and then printing that texture on white paper so that that corporate folder you designed looks more expensive even though your budget barely covered the price of getting a sample of that textured paper shipped to your office so that you could scan it. Or, upon seeing how unblack the black is in a one color job, you decide to do second run for a double hit hoping the black lands on the exact same spot as before, only to see a runny newsletter come off the press. (This, of course, are all hypothetical scenarios, none that I have experienced in any of my places of employment nor are they stories from blunderous designers I know).
In the past, what patches, fixes, “solutions” have you done that have turned either sour and you regret or have saved the day and you relish in telling the story? And, now that summer is in full swing, how do you work on your abs?