Design Dilemma Archive

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Design Dilemma: Screwed by Art School

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Oh, my! Another complaint that an art school didn’t truly prepare a student to succeed in the outside world. For the serious student, too young and inexperienced to know what courses will strengthen their career chances and choices, a bad art school is a huge mistake. Today’s dilemma involves one of those people. What can you do when you wake up years after graduating and realize your degree isn’t offering the value you hoped it would?

Join us as we delve into another graduation party Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design.

June 25th, 2014 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: Who Owns My Design?

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Our designs are our babies, otherwise we wouldn’t care how clients change them. So, every now and then, the question arises between designer and client as to who owns the files and rights to a design you’ve done.

This time around Case: 123ABC sent a question about retail signage he did. The client wants to be able to own and modify it at will (without him), but he’s afraid it will look horrible and reflect badly upon his professional reputation. Naturally, the client doesn’t want to pay to buy all rights to the design… or do they already own it? Join us as we delve into another mistake-laden Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design.

June 3rd, 2014 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: Lots of the Wrong Experience

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Case: 11357 (we’re now not even using people’s initials because it’s a widely-read blog and we don’t want to cause trouble for anyone… except problem clients) wrote, asking for advice because he switched careers later in life and now wants to break into design.

He’s having a hard time finding a position and doesn’t know what to do. I could give him advice that will dash his hopes and ruin his life… or help him. This isn’t such an easy dilemma. So, join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design

May 13th, 2014 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: The New Designer in Town

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This one just came in from Case: 292PLUTO-X (remember, we’re using case numbers instead of names or initials now). He’s a young recent graduate who moved to the big city (Seattle, which is a big tech center) and is confused about doing print vs. digital and wants to know which to pursue (both, of course, but more digital in Seattle) and how can he make connections to find a job.

So, join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design

May 8th, 2014 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: Afraid to Start One’s Career

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When I receive a message, asking for help with a dilemma, I try to research the person’s background first. If they have an online portfolio, I check their work samples. If they have a LinkedIn profile, I look at their experience. It’s the best way to offer advice that’s not below their experience level, and avoid coming across as insulting.

Unfortunately, sometimes what I find is disappointing and shocking. It’s the same feeling one gets when you find a 1960s Playboy magazine at a flea market and you realize the centerfold is your grandmother.

April 23rd, 2014 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: Are You the Right Person for the Right Job?

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You show a prospective client your portfolio. They like it, hire you and the project starts. You deliver sketches and then, after everything is approved, the finished design.

The client then informs you the solution didn’t meet his/her “vision” and refuses all offers to adjust the work to meet his/her vision. Final payment and further contact from the client never happen.

April 16th, 2014 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: I Want to Be a Designer but My Portfolio Is Heavy With Illustration

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You’re just out of art school and have no idea where to turn. There were no courses on professional practices or career planning. (Or maybe there were but you slept through them…) So, where to next? Does your portfolio speak for itself and say, “I want to be a designer”?

David F. writes: “I saw your recent post to Fiona and I find myself in a similar position, though with some key differences.” Differences? We love different problems! So, join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

March 19th, 2014 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: Can I Fire My Client? (Again)

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It’s a popular question and one we covered at least once, but every story is different. How many ways can a design project go wrong, by accident or on purpose? Can I say it all starts with a contractual agreement in writing? Not often enough, I’m sad to report.

But let’s grab a few moments of schadenfreude at the expense of someone else’s career. Join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

March 4th, 2014 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: How Do I Become a Designer?

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I get several messages with questions on how to become a designer every month from varied social media sources, as well as through the Design Dilemma email link (listed at the bottom of this article). That’s it. No details or background. They just want to have me write an email instructing them how to become web designers.

It’s not really an easy answer… and some people get really upset when I won’t engage them in long email explanations of the steps they can take. The simple answer of “enroll in art school” doesn’t seem to be the acceptable answer. I gather that through their curt salutations…

February 18th, 2014 Posted in Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma: Are You Confused About Your Career Options?

Design Dilemma: Are You Confused About Your Career Options?

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The design industry has many levels of involvement. Some think you can be a designer, an art director or a creative director and that’s it, but there are so many more positions that make design part of business. Some people are not cut out for actual designing but are brilliant in certain support roles that are just as important as being a hands-on designer, and just as satisfying at the end of the work day.

A message from a confused designer begs the question of where he fits into the scheme of things in the design industry. Perhaps this will answer his quandary. So join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

February 11th, 2014 Posted in Design Dilemma
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