Monday, April 8, 2013

The Lou Costello of Graphic Designers

Done as an ad for Libbey Plumbing and Heating, they had t-shirts made.  The printer re-drew the image, tracing it in pen.  Ugh. My first such experience with silkscreen printers.
I have an annual ritual where someone asks if I can do a logo/t-shirt design for them.  Usually it's a friend, a kind local, or a friend of a friend who is doing something they are passionate about.  Since I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff I say "Sure!"

The fun begins.  I talk to the friend/local/f o f, now 'the client', about what they want.  Sometimes they are very specific.  This makes it fairly easy.  When they don't know what they want, I ask them what they are trying to tell the world with this design.  I throw a few ideas at them and sometimes they throw a few back.  I'll pull out some art books to see what kind of style they are thinking about.

One client, a nice old man looking for a logo for his golden oldies band, said, "I know you'll do something good." and left me to figure it out.  When I delivered the logo he was very generous with compliments, but let slip, "I like it, but I don't know if the others in the band will."  As the saying goes, creation by committee is how beige was invented.
Band logo.  Well, I liked it, anyway.
I enjoy the process of creating the design, working a different part of my right lobe than I use in my day job storyboarding.  The format is different and I can try out different styles,, so it is a bit of playtime for me.  It's not often I get a chance to see what else I can do, graphically.

Then some printer completely fucks it up.

I have been down this road so many times, there is no way around it - print shops are sadistic.  There is always someone - let's call them the house graphics idiot - who sees fit to screw with the design.  One guy completely drew over my original drawing, another made selective edits - changing out my hand drawn text for something typed in Photoshop (they typed my signature too - huh?).  Others do more subtle changes, like closing off lines that were clearly not meant to be closed off.

My question to them is always to the point, "Why did you fuck with it?"

They go all Ralph Kramden on me, "Hemmana hemmana hemmana....."

 "If there was a problem with the graphics, why didn't you call me?"

They assure me that this is how they ALWAYS do it.  Not assuring.

"You fuck with EVERYONE"S artwork?"

They know they screwed up, but admitting it would oblige them to redo the order.  There being  no apparent integrity among printers, they weave and double talk until the conversation  turns into a variation on "Who's on First?" and I'm left screaming like Costello with Tourette's.  Then the friendly client, who would have been just as thrilled with clip art, adds a touch of Gracie Allen obliviousness as a button to the bit.  "Gee, I didn't even notice the difference."

Last month, a guy with a local pizza shop asked if I do logos.

"No.  Not really."  I said.

Goodnight, Gracie!
A seafood chef commissioned this one, and insisted the printer not tamper with it.  Right on!  

A complete printing disaster, the printer changed the colors and  replaced the slogan with typed text.  The client reaction?  "Well, it was a knock off anyway, so I didn't think it would matter."  After much wingeing, the client rejected the order from the printer.  My last experience with silkscreen printers.

1 comment:

  1. Really did your work.
    The band logo is so fun and great vintage look and feel.
    Love the R. Crumb take!