Are you SURE you've done this before?

While I was jet setting and hob knobbing up in New York, my boss arranged for a freelance graphic designer to come in and bang out ads for me. It was nice because I didn’t have to come home to a pile of work that eclipsed Mount Everest.

Or so I thought.

The first chore waiting for me was to redesign an ad that my sales gal was ashamed to send to the client – the temp gal had done it and it was pretty pitiful. Ok, so not everyone is a cracker jack designer.

But as the day wore on, I noticed a lot of other “wtf” problems with ads. Some were the wrong size, but what was really odd is they were built on the right sized template. The designer just failed to make the ad fit the document. How bizarre.

Other ads were just plain sloppy – bad kerning and leading – odd paragraph alignment – and weird white space. One big ad required placing photo and text for around 40 properties. She got too confused and would lose her place. Now that’s a sign that something isn’t quite right. I had to start the ad from scratch.

It makes me realize that if I had the time and the drive, I could make a fortune freelancing. I blow half of the “artist” I encounter out of the water. In the 25 years I have been working as a graphic designer, most artists I have encountered know little to nothing about typesetting, and in my opinion,  that’s half the ballgame. My ads are tight, clean and employ very few type boxes. Stuff is always aligned properly, and my text is kerned and properly spaced.

But I learned graphics in the old school style. My first tools were a T-square, a triangle, a can of Bestine, a waxer, and an exacto knife. My burnisher was always handy, and the stat machine was our water cooler. When desktop publishing first came onto the scene, it was primitive to say the least and it took quite a while for me to prefer the mouse to the blade.

Now I can’t imagine my career as a designer without the computer. I sometimes want to apple “z” my life and go back to a spot before I fucked something up. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

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