“Been reading some forum stuff about designers ‘taking input’ from non designers and the majority is, “that’s how things work in an office. Suck it up and collect your paycheck or find another job.”

We don’t do this to other qualified professionals. We don’t do it with electricians or cooks. The only reason this can happen in graphic design studios is because nothing gets broken and no one dies when it happens. No one would think, “ok,” that soccer mom is gonna be under the hoist ‘sharing’ with the mechanic who is diagnosing their car problems, or that hospital admin is gonna be in the room ‘collaborating’ with the surgeon.

These are non-designers ‘playing’ at being designers by exploiting the technical skills of an actual designer to facilitate their affectation. This is why a lot of studios use, and get better work from freelancers. You give a professional their assignment and let the professional do their job. This micromanaging interference with all its pop psychology rhetoric and team-speak bullshit is unprofessionalism wearing a pretty dress.

And what can happen when a studio or art department is run this way is that everything takes longer and is terribly frustrating. And good creative people leave. And dull, unimaginative robots stay. And that affects the work.

And it is not ‘different’ because it is ‘creative.’ Indeed, good creative actually depends on people being free to work creatively. Imagine Picasso working if a committee of his art buyers sent a delegate to his studio to day-to-day ‘collaborate’ with the artist to ‘help’ him to produce more marketable stuff…

This is in some very real sense a garbage-in micromanagement style. One I was very familiar with in the early ’90s. It is not a productive model. The only thing it serves is the ego of the people playing at being ‘creatives.’ And this structure to some extent guarantees garbage-out.

What you read on forums illustrates this beautifully. Does “that’s how things work in an office. Suck it up and collect your paycheck or find another job,” sound like a creative, productive workplace to you?

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I am an experienced freelance graphic artist and sometime canoeist. I feel strongly about the quality of professional work and like sitting by a remote lake on a sun-warmed rock.

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