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The Designer’s Burden

Does anyone really want to do this kind of shit work?

tan, from the be light business card discussion

I don’t know about y’all, but I actually find shit work hard to resist. All the confusing forms, unspeakable logos, dreary business cards, newsletters so gappy they look like Morse code—every one in dire need of some design TLC. Opening my mail is like a visit to the animal shelter: my heart aches for the poor, mistreated type, but I know I can’t take them all home.

Except sometimes I do. Example: a few days ago my brother mentioned offhandedly that he was going to use an online business card template in preparation for job interviews next week. Aghast, I whipped out a card in ten minutes and emailed him a PDF. It’s certainly not great; it’s not even very good. But it’s a hell of an improvement over some of the crap out there.

Doesn’t anyone else ever fight the urge to rid the world of bad design? Have you ever given in?

i’m off to the beach. next week: business card show & tell.

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PUBLISHED ON May.30.2003 BY rebecca
Darrel’s comment is:

Oh! Oh! Show and tell!

On May.30.2003 at 04:00 PM
armin’s comment is:

This would probably be more appropriate for the upcoming show and tell of business cards, but it fits in this discussion too.

For some reason I started getting emails from these people. And one of their offers was getting 500 FREE business cards using some of their templates. So I figured I'd do it and poke fun at bad design.

The result? 500 business cards inside a drawer.

Don't type the URL on the card, I never got around to it.

On May.30.2003 at 04:18 PM
rebecca’s comment is:

Hey! I think someone here actually used that picture on a book cover a few years ago. A not half bad book cover.

On May.30.2003 at 04:33 PM
armin’s comment is:

> I think someone here actually used that picture

There are more handshake photos than people in china. Or mexico.

On May.30.2003 at 04:39 PM
rebecca’s comment is:

Ah Armin, always splitting hairs. In the end, aren't they all owned by Photodisc? ;o)

On May.30.2003 at 05:04 PM
Tan’s comment is:

I used to be a much more idealistic designer when I was younger. I was very socialist -- everyone had a right to good design, and it was a designer's mission to destroy evil wherever we saw it.

I also thought that if I could just make $1,000 a month, I could live like a king.

How times change.

I still believe in taking in strays, to use your analogy. But as my life has become more complex, I no longer have an endless supply of time, resources, or energy. As a result, I'm much more selective, and I see it more as a donation for things that matter.

Our office does work for a number of non-profits. Some are more deserving than others, some are more appreciative than others.

If money's involved, then I guess the amount of shit I'll accept depends on the potential of the result and the potential of the profit. Hey, I gotta eat too.

Speaking of -- shit work is kinda like junk food. Once in a while, top ramen or frozen pizza just hits the spot like nothing else will. But you can't live on it.

Can't wait for show and tell.

On May.30.2003 at 08:14 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>Ah Armin, always splitting hairs.

There are more handshake photos than hairs in my head.

On May.30.2003 at 08:28 PM
Eric’s comment is:

am i the only one that thinks Armin's 'business card' is so bad that it's great?

On May.31.2003 at 11:04 AM
Tony’s comment is:

Y'know, it sure cheered me up to see this posting. It's the reason I became a designer in the first place, and the spark that lights my fire every day I go to work.

The world is full of bad design, done by somebody, somewhere, for money. There are thousands of unemployed design graduates with talent, who would do a better job for less money. I figured this out whilst still at school, and every day I try to make it a tiny bit less so.

On Jun.03.2003 at 10:45 AM
luumpo’s comment is:

When people talk about stray animals, they always bring up getting them spayed and neutered. Basically, they are trying to eliminate the source of the problem so that the problem will either cease to exist or become managable.

To inflate this analogy to absurd levels, I say that we take design software away from people that can't use it. There should be no clip-art. One font for everything (it could be called "Marx") and only black and white.

We would then be like dog breeders - we would choose dogs to mate with our own based on our research of their family line, making the best choices of what to put in our dogs to acheive our desired goal.

There would be no accidents. No one would use Times New Roman unless they really wanted to, just as no one should have to deal with kittens that they didn't ask for.

On Jun.03.2003 at 03:27 PM
jonsel’s comment is:

I think we should just spay or neuter bad designers.

On Jun.03.2003 at 04:04 PM
Armin’s comment is:

I'll sign that petition.

On Jun.03.2003 at 04:59 PM
Tan’s comment is:

No nads! No nads!...I mean, No nukes! No nukes!

On Jun.03.2003 at 05:09 PM
Zoelle’s comment is:

I felt compelled to redesign the logo of a local rehab clinic. The original logo is just the standard handicap symbol. The current symbol was just far too pessimistic.

Too cheesy? (please don't neuter me)

On Nov.26.2003 at 10:21 AM
Or’s comment is:

Like it! not cheesy at all. very good job.

On May.18.2004 at 10:13 AM