Friday, January 23, 2009

No one cares about Art Direction

Unfortunately it's true. No one really cares. Consumers don't care. Creative directors don't care. Client's don't care. Writers don't care. Hell art directors probably don't give a shit from time to time. The only time people care: When it's piss poor.

I've come to realize the words on the page are the most important part, reluctantly I've discovered this. The words are what the client want and the consumer. They are the set in stone, legal binding contract between a consumer and a client. I admit that 50% off is more important to me than the stock photo of a lady twirling in a field of sunflowers, or the fact that that block legal copy is kerned properly makes it no more legal.

But if that lady spinning in the field looks like it was shot with a camera you give to your five year old, or god forbid they use Papyrus or Myraid pro as the font, then you can probably start preparing for a few angry emails. A lot of art directors are out there trying to make work that won't get noticed, because it lets them keep their jobs and keeps clients coming back.

The same is true for design, no one cares that people spend months trying to get their mouse to feel and look great, or that someone stared at lumps of clay for hours trying to make their phone look like a nuclear submarine. It only matters when your mouse feels like a brick, and your phone is closer to those paddle wheel boats in Central Park.

Thankfully there are not many of those that I have run into yet, but they're out there. But this same principle applies to work and book reviews. I've had my work looked through by some pretty talented eyes, who know how to spin circles around me, and I've heard comments about my art direction, drum role please......twice.

1. Your art direction is clean.
2. I like your art direction.

Ok well there's two ways to take these:

1. It's good keep doing what your doing.
2. You're not doing enough, and I'm being kind.

Its probably not one or the other. It's a hybrid between the two because if I was making work that blinded people I wouldn't be at school and if it was terrible I wouldn't be at school. I should be shooting for number 2 because as profitable as it can be to make spinning sunflower field work, no self respecting art director smiles at seeing their half off coupons on a bus seat in Detroit.

No one cares about art direction. Until it's amazing.

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