Privacy?

When signing in at the radiology department recently for a routine mammogram, I noticed something different about the sign-in sheet. The directions said to write just my first name and only the first letter of my last name. 

I decided it most be another step in protecting our privacy I had never considered before. I signed “Diana K’ and took my seat with the others who were waiting.

The receptionist soon slid open the glass window that separated her from the patients and called out “Barbara C”. An elderly woman walked up to the window and the receptionist asked for her home address in order to verify the records in her computer.

As “Barbara C” dutifully recited her home address for the receptionist and all to hear,  I thought just how ironic the situation was. I’d much rather people know my last name than where I live...wouldn’t you?

So much for privacy.

Bad_Stuff cropped.jpg
 

No regrets

 
Diana Komjati.jpg

My mom is a youthful 82 years old and works as a sales clerk at our local Walmart (a job that she loves).

She works 5 days a week, which usually includes weekends and holidays, so I don’t get to see her as much as I’d like.

Recently, she called to tell me that she had the day off, and asked if I could get away from my work and and meet her for a long lunch. 

I thought for a moment, considered my lengthy “to do” list for the day, and then answered…

“Sure Mom, what time?”

Always make time for those you love.

 

Edits, the downfall of creativity

The Mac slowly began to appear in creative departments in the late 1980s and early 90s. It was introduced by salespeople and executives who had little to no knowledge of the department’s workflow or exactly how it would be affected by this change. They only knew that it was going to save time, money and be simply amazing. And it was.

To say that designers were excited is to put it mildly. 

We loved that we could set our own type. We could experiment with different size headlines and fonts without having to painstakingly draw each letter by hand on tissue paper. We could see a future of limitless possibilities.

Soon typesetters, the skilled craftsmen who set beautiful rows and columns of words and numbers, all perfectly spaced for legibility, were no longer needed. They were let go.

We were cold, the loss of typesetters seemed to be a small price to pay in exchange for the amount of time that the Mac was going to save us. Time that designers could use to be creative.

Unfortunately, this “saved time” was eventually stolen. Stolen by edits and changes that once would have been an unacceptable typesetting expense and waste of manpower. Stolen, not because designers allowed it, but because our protests and pleas were ignored.

Copywriters, merchants, engineers and executives, those who once had their copy and information proofed, corrected, and proofed again before submitting it to the typesetter, just stopped working that way after the Mac arrived.

Content submitted to the graphic designers began to seem more like a draft instead of the carefully written, researched and double-checked content that the typesetters had received. Frustrated, designers grumbled and toiled at their keyboards, making endless edits as directed, adding new photos here and replacing text there.

Designers’ hope for a future filled with unlimited creative possibilities slowly began to circle the drain.


KOMJATI.jpg

Diana’s Blog is written in the hopes of inspiring new ideas and generating productive and meaningful discussions.

Why am I telling you this?

Dear Reader,

When I was eighteen, I left my parents rural home in Ohio to attend the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and pursue my dream of becoming a rich and famous fashion illustrator...

After graduation it took moving back home and several months of searching before landing my first job as a fashion illustrator. I was hired to work in the advertising department at the headquarters of a major Cleveland, Ohio retailer and paid $2.70 per hour — a nickel above minimum wage back in 1979. 

So much for the rich and famous part of my youthful dream! 

The early and mid 80s found me employed as a graphic designer or “layout artist” designing newspaper ads in the advertising departments of some well-known Ohio retailers. At that time layouts were still drawn by hand and type was carefully “spec’d” by the designer for the typesetter and production department to follow.

By 1988 I was living in Charlotte, NC and designing direct mail and catalogs for yet another popular retailer. Fortunately for me, Apple had what I was told was an “experimental computer lab” at the local community college. I took classes in my free time, learning Mac Basics, PageMaker and QuarkXpress.

I also began to do some freelance for local ad agencies and bought my first Mac in December 1990. It was a Macintosh LC. I purchased QuarkXpress at the same time, a good decision because PageMaker eventually fell out of favor in the industry.

So why am I telling you this? I’ve been a graphic designer before, during and after the computer, worked full-time in large advertising departments and freelanced for businesses and ad agencies. My firsthand experiences, observations and personal opinions are truly unique and often controversial. 

My blog may provoke you or it could completely change the way you look at things. Either way, I hope that it inspires new ideas and generates many meaningful discussions.

Warm regards,

Diana

The Mac is killing marketing

Very few designers freelanced when I was first starting out in graphic design. It was a lot harder to do then. Only highly skilled professionals with design training, work experience and connections to craftsmen (typesetters and stat camera operators) dared to enter the world of freelance.

Today, all it takes to call oneself a freelance graphic designer is to have a computer, preferably a Mac. Professionals are now forced to compete with self-proclaimed “experts”— students (both college and high school), and those who “dabble” for fun, plus let’s not forget nearly everyone in India — all willing to work for peanuts. 

Correct me if I’m wrong but the last time I checked, professional training, work experience, good judgment, and talent were not keys on a keyboard.

Inferior work, be it graphic design, copywriting or photography, that was once considered unacceptable, is now “okay” because it was purchased cheaply and created quickly. 

Marketing quality is declining and this is one of the reasons why. Sad.