Some thoughts on print design agencies

January 22, 2007

Is it any wonder that web developers look upon traditional marketing agencies with such distaste. Many of them pitch web work to their clients without so much as a basic understanding of the web, and come from a background in print media, which is very different from interactive media. Every web developer working in a digital agency has had to work with a traditional agency at some point, and looked at their web designer’s work with utter dismay.

Marketing is bullshit. Let’s make no mistake. If you’re one of those people who most print adverts (magazines, billboards, etc) don’t make sense, you wouldn’t be wrong. In fact, an intelligent individual has created a website to randomly generate print adverts, which are scarily realistic. As Techcrunch describes it:

The Ad Generator is a simple site that’s kind of fun to watch. It’s not a business at all – it was created by Alexis Lloyd as part of her thesis project at Parsons The New School for Design.

She’s taken “words and semantic structures from real corporate slogans,” and remixed and randomized them to generate new ones. She then takes “related” images from Flickr (I assume using Flickr tags) and generates fake advertisements.

Her goal is to “show how the language of advertising is both deeply meaningful, in that it represents real cultural values and desires, and yet utterly meaningless in that these ideas have no relationship to the products being sold.”

When the kind of work being produced by the designers we have to work with can now be done by a computer algorithm, who can blame us for disliking them so much? It just shows how little creativity is really required in their work. I’m yet to work with a capable designer from a traditional agency. They simply don’t understand the media, and make no attempt to learn, instead applying their skills from one industry to another and sweet-talking clients into accepting substandard work.

Call me a bitter developer if you will, but I’ve worked with too many dumbass designers on too many projects, to realise that the majority of them just don’t get it. If traditional media agencies are selling web work, they need to get web designers, or allow their digital partners to handle the creative element too.

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