Just One More Change

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Brian Rich is graphic designer with 25 years experience in Brand Design and Integrated Marketing who has worked on many national and global brands. As both a designer and marketing professional, he has an extensive knowledge of design, brand strategy, product launches and printed and digital design—with probably more PMS colors memorized than family birthdays and anniversaries. Brian resides with his family in Chattanooga, TN.

July 18, 2020

Can You Make One More Change?


It never fails—It doesn’t matter if the project is in the exploratory phase, minutes away from going live or if the printing press is about to fire up. It doesn’t matter if took 9 months to a year to get to the point where multiple teams or departments have fought victoriously to get to. Forget the hours of development, research, money invested on testing, focus groups and analytics –Someone will come along and make changes.

I used to think that there was some secret marketing or business class where this was taught. As a graphic designer now studying marketing, I was very much looking forward to taking this class—maybe it was called something like Marketing999: Arbitrary Artwork Changes.

Wanting to learn the nuances that drives client and marketing decisions, eagerly I waited for that class to show up in my syllabus. I imagined watching a lecture video of a wise professor with the personality and charm of Veruca Salt go on about how to become a great marketer with award winning ideas that aren’t your own, or turning to a page in my text that read something like…To be successful in marketing, one must be able to tune out everyone around themselves and rely on their own self-interests and goals—toss away all regard, and discount the countless hours and hard work that has been put in by the teams whom you now surround yourself with—BUT most of all, be willing to make knee-jerk decisions just because you want to.

But in reality, there is no such class. It is a learned response, but not one learned in a classroom. So, why do so many marketing professionals and clients think this way?

Maybe they don’t have the same love for a font that someone else did, or you do for that matter. Maybe they hated a specific color because it reminded them of that one time when they ate that truck-stop egg salad sandwich—that didn’t end too well. Is there an inherent belief that validation is needed so they can can say  “I designed that”, — or maybe it’s just ego?

Either way—go make that change.

Regardless of the reason—It doesn’t really matter because it’s all part of the job when you’re a graphic designer. And depending on your where you work, an In-House Design Group or an Agency, changes can be a blessing, a curse or both.

Graphic designers solve problems. It’s what we do. But it is also our Achilles heel. Sure, we can give clients our professional suggestions and solutions to their projects—what will work and what will not. That’s what we’re supposed to do. But it the end, it’s their call. These are clients who’s minds you cannot change. Whether, its filling that one last peaceful area of quiet space on a poster with a ridiculous graphic or using a font that everybody else stopped using 15 years ago, in the end, it’s their decision.

You will have pieces of work that you will treat like the Corona Virus – Social Distancing it as far away from your portfolio that you can. But it’s what we do, because in this industry, you’re only as good as your last project.

And as soon as you think you see the light at the end of the tunnel, you will hear this one little phrase…

”Can you just make one more change”?




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