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Monday, April 6, 2009

It's never too late to learn new tricks

Please allow me to introduce myself: I'm Terry Rohrs, NICE Creative's Main Squiggler, or in plain-speak, graphic design/production artist. I wanted to take a moment to say what an exciting time it is to be a graphic designer, and explain a little about what I mean, lest you think I've completely gone over to the dark side.

There was a time in my career when I thought I was at the top of my game. That was just before design for the web had taken off. A few of my customers were hinting that I'd better 'jump on this web thing,' but I was still reeling from having had to learn to perform my creative tasks with a computer. I enjoyed the sense of control I suddenly had: with my little Mac I now could edit my own photos, set my own type, finish my own layouts, and even output my own film for the printing press. WOW! Why start over again with webdesign? I had just become a digital print design expert!!

Well then, being an expert lasted about as long as a ladybug's picnic. The pervasive growth of the web has created a wave of change that feels as though it will never crest. Since joining Robin at NICE Creative, we have learned about all types of new ways to do our jobs: from ordering custom printed balloons online, to deploying personalized microsites and variably printed digital postcards. We are Blogging, Facebooking, Linking-In and Tweeting. Outdoor billboards now change every few seconds, school buses carry advertising, and the study of human psychology is teaching us new things about how customers make decisions every day.

One thing doesn't seem to have changed: the need for quality execution. As computers gave everyone who owned one the ability to create his or her own marketing message on paper, on the web, over the airwaves or on video, the world of design was turned upside down. Everyone was a designer or a writer or a photographer. There was quite a mess o' ideas out there. With all that noise, the need for a clear, concise, and well executed message has become ever more important. There are so many channels for media and messaging that, without a well thought out and consistent campaign, your message will be but a whimper in a huge crowd of loud-mouthed blowhards!

It all comes down to creating a solid foundation. No matter what tools you use to create your message, no matter what the vehicle you use to deliver it, it had better be worth hearing--whether you've got a small audience or a large one, the need to pull together expertise on many fronts never goes away. I may have had to learn lots of new tricks over the years, but the fallout has been that there is still a need for experienced, qualified professionals in all the areas of marketing. Computers and digital media can help us create--no doubt about it. And that's exciting! But they still don't have the intelligence needed to get my attention on an emotional level without input from a human--a human who can still learn a few tricks. To me, that's even more exciting!

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posted by Terry R @ 1:04 PM


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