Category: design

The gig economy is killing us…

Not much to say about this picture really.

I’d let it speak for itself, but upon seeing some of the tweets from ordinary people that accept this kind of advertising and the attitude that it’s based upon, let me say a couple of things.

If Fiverr think we are ‘do-ers’, and are OK with working like this, then Fiverr are fuck-ers’.

Why don’t all us do-ers tell the talentless part of the population to fuck off and go and do it themselves?

If ‘do-ers’ have to literally work like this to compete, then they won’t do it. They’ll just give up this job and go and do something else more rewarding, like shovelling shit for a living.

But hey, the talentless gibbons running Fiverr don’t care. They’ve figured out a away of exploiting talented people to the point only the worst and most desperate can survive.

So this attitude doesn’t just hurt them, it hurts their customers as well.


Universal income turns humans into cattle…


Welcome to your future… Moo.

How being replaced by a machine turned this graphic artist into an activist | Ars Technica

Fascinating article from Ars that resonates with my own experience.

The sharing economy.

Or as I like to put it, ‘the giving away things for free’ economy.

Or the ‘exploitation of the talented part of our population by the talentless’, er, economy.

Isn’t quite as catchy though. Or positive. Probably a bit negative.

Sorry – anyway moving on…

Being a salaried designer has it’s problems, but I have been a freelance designer in the past.

And it’s wholly, completely, totally awful.

The worst period of my entire life  – where the value I give the world was questioned, trivialised, ridiculed and finally reduced to the lowest possible price.

And then invoiced – not that they ever paid the invoice though.

The ‘valuers’ in this equation were the people that paid me, and whilst they begrudgingly accepted that they had to pay a fair price for physical objects, they thought ideas were free.

Ideas weren’t my own, they were given to me for free by the client (or his wife, kid or dog), or environment, the internet, my camera or my software.

I didn’t actually do anything – I merely conjured into existence everybody else ideas.

So I’m not a fan of ‘sharing’ as in most cases its a code word for exploitation – from the article:

 He used to be a graphic artist. At one point, he had plenty of contracts and plenty of work. But increasing competition for fewer assignments made this an unstable profession. Eventually, Chabot was bidding against people who would churn out a logo for $5. Software and chatbots were created that could automatically design avatars and websites. So Chabot left the field and now works in a kitchen.

I suppose the talentless side of the population would say this is progress – get used to it.

He now works in a kitchen.

He can’t do the job he’s talented at, as nobody will pay him for it.

Artists used to be paid or commissioned by people because it was agreed that their art enriched the world – and it does.

We look back art’s rich history in churches, museums and galleries. That art exists because society valued it and valued the people who created it.

Now we’re competing for $5 logos made by a robot.

The article takes a more interesting turn however here:

That doesn’t mean Chabot is ideology-free. He wasn’t an activist until he lost his job (“I had to live the experience,” he said). That’s when he encountered the basic-income movement. This was hugely eye-opening for him, and he threw himself into activism. He created @BaseIncomeQuote and @BasicIncomeIMG with the aim of creating a hub of text and images advocating for a guaranteed minimum income.

A sad conclusion for a talented artist. Being paid by a benign government to exist – no strings attached of course.

Universal income – I’ve heard about this before, it’s been postulated by the EU and it’s the perfect solution…

…for a totalitarian society.

Put simply and as the title of this post outlines – universal income turns humans into cattle.

Why would government pay people, and then pay the people that those people produce?

Answer: they wouldn’t, why would they?

An economy cannot function if the amount of money entering that economy isn’t controlled.

They would put people on a selective breeding program, where the production of new people (and therefore the money they pay them) is strictly controlled.

How they then spend the ‘government’s’ money and licenses to breed are a few human rights violation’s away.

Once that happens government attaches a monetary value to a persons life.

That is officially A Bad Thing®.

Doesn’t anybody read science fiction anymore?

So this is what Apple has become…


Eddy Cue reveals ‘Planet of the Apps’.

So this is what Apple’s future is – a vaporous, content-free, air headed ‘game show’ where a serious job is trivialised into nothing more than a contest.

Featuring 4 of the most ‘culturally influential’ people that they could throw some of those Apple Billions®  they have in the bank at – Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gary Vaynerchuk, and

Switch your brain off, turn your social on.

There’s obviously a market for this tripe – the TV is full of it.

I just thought Apple was above all this, maybe a bit more refined, thoughtful, measured.

Leading the way, rather than following the popular herd.

Meanwhile on the ever increasingly excellent Netflix is a fascinating documentary series on what it is to be a designer – Abstract.


This programme is highly recommended – it gives everyone a serious, level-headed, but entertaining look inside the design process across several disciplines.

This is the sort of thing Apple ought to be producing, taking what it means to be an Apple user and well, abstracting it out.

Getting the message of the brand out there to the viewing public – well what the brand used to stand for.

I know Planet of the Apps is ‘just content’, but it’s Apple-sactioned ‘content’ and will be linked to the brand.

Eventually populist shows like this will damage the brand.

Apple used to be the choice of the designer (and still is in most cases), but we look at what Apple is morphing in to and it saddens us.

I would assume it saddens Jony, but I really think he doesn’t care anymore.

Still at least they’re not doing something even worse, like maybe a pointless, gum-flapping celebrity strangling a cat in a car with another pointless, gum-flapping celebrity, obsessed with the sound of their own voice.

Ahh right. I see.


Customers just don’t care…


Do you know what? I really don’t like that shade of blue today, can we make it 3 pixels lighter?

Another wonderful, effortless piece of analysis from Mr Trott. 

Customers really don’t care about your brand.

Or your extensive research.

Or your targeted direct mail campaign.

Well, 89% don’t, which may as well be all of them.

The only thing you need to remember is that the most important thing is too make your advertising memorable.

Remember – the first place your customer sees your advertising, is alongside dozens of other brands in the newspaper, or on the doorstep of their home.

Your first priority is to get them to notice you.

The only way you do that, is to make your creative memorable.

The creative idea has to be the most important part.

Not the data, or the sales analysis, or the channel you’ve chosen.

I have tried to explain this to managing directors, marketing executives, operational leads, sales executives and any number of very important people, for many, many years.

None of them listen.

They’re more concerned with the fact that they don’t like that particular shade of blue.

Or that picture just doesn’t communicate value.

Or that the design isn’t the right balance between masculine and feminine, whatever the hell that even means.

Or the logo isn’t big enough.

Or there’s too much white space.

Or that picture is just too many millimetres to the left and it’s a critical business need, to move it to the right, just a little.

What I’ve deduced over the years, is that running a company is hard – it’s really difficult to motivate your buying teams to purchase goods that your customers want to buy, at the right price, quantity and with the perfect profit margin, or to motivate your sales staff to recruit more customers, or to sell more of your goods.

It’s far simpler to concentrate on tiny, easy to change details that have absolutely no connection with actual sales success, but give you the illusion that you’ve made some really important business decisions today.

Creatives and marketeers


The Creatives versus the marketing team.

Great article –  it’s nice to have the point of view of a creative in this situation, instead of another marketeer hiding behind marketing-speak they only half understand.

I’m a trained graphic designer, from a marketing background and now work as a design lead of a design team in an in-house role which I’ve done for many years. So I’ve seen it all from both sides.

I’ve worked with dozens of marketeers, all with very impressive degrees and even more impressive job titles.

Most of them do not understand what marketing actually is, or how to do it.

Marketing isn’t design, or being creative or working with colours, or pictures or shapes.

It’s not using google image search to find a design you like and then telling my team to copy it (which happens constantly).

Marketing isn’t sitting with the designer and telling them where to move the mouse until you happen upon something marketing ‘likes’ by chance, days later.

Marketing is market research.

Really boring market research into the behaviour of those really boring customer we all have.

Marketeers should research the problem that the client (or boss) has presented to them to solve.

Demographics, customer data, focus groups – they can call it whatever they like – they’re the experts.

They should use that research to come up with a marketing plan, that will form a ‘brief’ to a designer, usually centred around one or more relevant advertising channels.

A brief – remember those?

This briefs tells the the designer THE PROBLEM, not THE SOLUTION to the problem.

It used to be like this in my early agency days – marketeers (or account managers/sales managers as we used to call them), would do all this and do it really well, and then leave it up to the designers to solve the problem creatively.

A designer used to present to the client directly along with the account manager – this way the idea could be justified along with sound design reasoning.

The account manager didn’t have to change the creative or tread on their toes because they didn’t have to justify it to the client – the creative did.

What happens now is that marketing thinks that they are the sole arbiter of the solution – marketing stands between the designer and the client – everyone else is simply a tool to be used in the process.

We all have a part to play in the process.

If marketing don’t like the design, (“it strays too far from the brand”, or “it doesn’t solve the client’s sales problem”, or “I don’t like the colour”), the problem is with the brief they briefed to the designer – not the designer.

Not that ‘liking’ it or not is even relevant.

It should solve the problem outlined in the brief.

Whether the designer or the marketeer like it is irrelevant.

A great designer can design something they don’t like. We are all solving the customers problem, not the designer’s, marketeer’s or the client’s.

It’s up to the account manager to explain that to the client, not to stand over the designer’s shoulder debating which shade of blue they like this week.

This is the reason why there’s so much conflict between design and marketing now – marketing have forgotten what their role and responsibilities are, they treat everyone else as a ‘service provider’ and they’ve forgotten how to write a good comprehensive well researched brief.

This is why the advertising we surrounded by is tepid, committee driven dross.