One of the things that has always gotten to me is bad design.
It doesn’t take much, but a carelessly made design can cost someone else, like me, hours of their life they’ll never get back, to fix their mistakes.
Well, one of these careless creations just graced my presence. I’ve been working on this bronze plaque for the Legislative Assembely of Ontario. Aside from the 20 revisions, a rant for another day, I had to hound them, start to finish, to get us their crest for the design, or I would have to design it, and it would most likely be a good four hours of design time they’d be paying for.
Well, they finally get it to me, after I rejected 3 horrible quality versions. Looks good, I send it along, the job looks to be out of our hands, and in the process of being made into a 40 pound slab of metal with my design displayed boldly on it’s face.
Not the case.
I got a message back that the lineart is in no way usable on their end. So I look at the file. In it’s filed state in Illustrator, it looks good. High quality, some easily visible short cuts by the designer noted, but, not my problem, it’s the supplied art. Well.. once you turn it into lines, and see what exactly you have to work with, and what they actually need in order to do the cut, its a horror show. Its a work file, not a finished design. So, for example, certain shapes in the crest are white circles with black borders that overlap the white to make the white smaller, and the white is supposed to be the background in the first place. Or, a black crown, that’s the basic shape, with 24 small circles following the curve of it to give it the appearance of stones on the crown, but just left floating on the crown, not actually merged into it.
So, for us to actually make this sign, I had to take their design, and spend another two hours retooling it, merging things down, cursing the life of the original designer, finding workarounds to make it into one solid piece, and finally it worked.
But what gets to me is that I shouldn’t have to do these workarounds. To me, if you are sending a file out, you make sure that file is in a finished form that can actually be used, not a work file that ends up causing more pain and suffering.
Common courtesy designs are my practice, make it your’s too.
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