Garbage In, Gold Out
Let’s imagine a white wall in a dimly lit room and a subject standing in front of it (who was recently lying in bed and made it to the photo shoot just in time). Let’s further pretend that this photo will be taken on a cell phone or a point-and-click camera. Of course, the person taking the photo will have absolutely no training in photography, so the white balance will be off, the shot will be poorly framed, and of course it will have a nice flash starburst off some surface. Finally, that person will save the image as a 640×480 JPEG and email it to the designer.
And it’s supposed to be a cover image for a brochure. Or the key image in a website design.
Far and away, the easiest way to make a designer mad is by providing crappy content to work with. Sometimes this is “I’ll just write the copy later” or “here’s the photo you need to use, I hope it will work.” As they say in programming, garbage in, garbage out.
It seems that often design is less about accomplishing your communications objectives and more about pulling off a miracle. It is a testament to the skill of graphic designers who deal with this daily, and still manage to produce top-notch work.
So for all those times I (or any client) provided garbage and expected gold, I’m sorry.