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  1. #1
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    problematic design requests

    over the years I've come across some strange design requests/briefs.
    I'm not talking about the subject matter.

    Designing a machine that skins live babies and and uses the scrotum skin to make coin purses for robots that live inside giant spiders under the ocean, well that's all fine, if the brief is clear about what the look should be.

    I'm talking about wierd requests like >
    eg: I was asked to design a mech once (reference was Mech warrior)
    spent a long time designing mechs.

    feedback was - too robotic, needs to look more like a man in a suit.

    WTF? why reference mech warrior then.......any one else get some wierd design requests?


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    It probably needed to look more like a man in a suit because they wanted to merchandise the design for something like a power rangers television show. In which case the mech would look like a guy in a mech suite, dig?

    Not such a weird request.
    At least Icarus tried!


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    tell me about weird briefs dude!
    what do you say for this heh:
    `it should be something like the death star`
    this is alright as I love master Ralph `s stuff, but we were talking about a public square like meeting place... so
    Last edited by mr. m; September 18th, 2008 at 11:02 PM. Reason: misspell

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    I was lectured when I was still in school by some guy who owned a T-shirt company. The client wanted me to E-mail the T-shirt guy vector art ... so I sent him an adobe illustrator file of the final artwork... .AI Days later I was brought into the office to come face to face with a very distraught looking client and t-shirt guy. He got very angry and said he needed 'vector art' (which is what I was pretty sure I had given him)
    Long story short he gave me a good 20-minute talk about how Corel Draw is the industry standard and how 'adobe illustrator' is 'a piece of shit.' and that if I was serious about being a designer I should go get a Mac, put corel draw on there, and not bother with 'adobe'.
    Last edited by kennygeeze; September 19th, 2008 at 04:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. m View Post
    `it should be something like the death star` [...] we were talking about a public square like meeting place...
    I would definitely go to a public square if it looked like the DEATH STAR. That would be AWESOME. In the meantime, I guess there's Epcot?

    Quote Originally Posted by kennygeeze View Post
    if I was serious about being a designer I should go get a Mac, put corel draw on there, and not bother with 'adobe'.
    How did you keep a straight face?

    I had a client that was doing comics of classic children's stories. I got assigned a book I was very familiar with. It was traditionally a "girls" book with about 3 "action" sequences (more climactic, than action). The writer they set up cut ALL three of those scenes (too "scary" perhaps?) and wrote "comic" pages that would consist of 1-3 panels per TWO pages. Okay, cool...whatever they want.

    A few days after they sent the script they told me that the publisher wanted a comic that was geared towards boys, with really dynamic, action-packed panels. Sure, that works with Robin Hood or Treasure Island. Not so much with Black Beauty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirana View Post
    How did you keep a straight face?
    I'm not sure if I did. These days I'd probably laugh ... but back then I remember being very worried that I'd have to locate a copy of corel draw and/or learn how to use it to complete the project. -- plus he was yelling at me in front of several teachers and an office bustling full of various students who I knew. I probably had a big frown on my face.

    Black beauty though... hahaha, wow. Yeah, I wouldn't really think of that as an action-packed story for boys

    I was asked to do some children's stuff a while ago as well. The client wanted it to be very 'politically correct' in that there would be an appropriate amount of characters in the illustrations to represent ancestry from each of earth's continents.

    I remember getting my roughs back one day and either they forgot to remove their post-it notes from my pages or maybe they wanted me to see. There were lots of very non-'politically correct' terms used. One funny blurb was what seemed to be a brainstorming session between two of the people who were making the decisions. It was something about a 'ginger girl' interacting with an 'eskimo' girl, but then roughly scribbled out with ballpoint pen (although still readable)

    There were other notes next to my character designs such as "not american enough", "not asian enough" etc... as well the request to include a 7th character who was "visually australian", but distinguishable from the "north american girl"

    I also wound up with an odd design brief one day where the client wanted an editorial illustration of a woman having sex with a giant cheese-burger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kennygeeze View Post
    I'm not sure if I did. These days I'd probably laugh ... but back then I remember being very worried that I'd have to locate a copy of corel draw and/or learn how to use it to complete the project. -- plus he was yelling at me in front of several teachers and an office bustling full of various students who I knew. I probably had a big frown on my face.

    Black beauty though... hahaha, wow. Yeah, I wouldn't really think of that as an action-packed story for boys

    I was asked to do some children's stuff a while ago as well. The client wanted it to be very 'politically correct' in that there would be an appropriate amount of characters in the illustrations to represent ancestry from each of earth's continents.

    I remember getting my roughs back one day and either they forgot to remove their post-it notes from my pages or maybe they wanted me to see. There were lots of very non-'politically correct' terms used. One funny blurb was what seemed to be a brainstorming session between two of the people who were making the decisions. It was something about a 'ginger girl' interacting with an 'eskimo' girl, but then roughly scribbled out with ballpoint pen (although still readable)

    There were other notes next to my character designs such as "not american enough", "not asian enough" etc... as well the request to include a 7th character who was "visually australian", but distinguishable from the "north american girl"

    I also wound up with an odd design brief one day where the client wanted an editorial illustration of a woman having sex with a giant cheese-burger.
    I would have told the client that I was unable to meet his request as I worked in Adobe Illustrator and did not have Corel Draw. I then would have recommended that he specify file types in the initial design document as to avoid this hassle with future work for hire artists. Were you paid for work ahead of time and was it set up as hourly or a per piece basis? If you weren't paid and there was no review process or contract involved I would have politely excused myself from his belittlement and wished him the best of luck.

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    "Long story short he gave me a good 20-minute talk about how Corel Draw is the industry standard and how 'adobe illustrator' is 'a piece of shit.' and that if I was serious about being a designer I should go get a Mac, put corel draw on there, and not bother with 'adobe'."

    If it had been me, approximately 30 seconds into that discussion, the "client" and his buddies would have been eating each other's body parts, witnesses or no witnesses.

    "I also wound up with an odd design brief one day where the client wanted an editorial illustration of a woman having sex with a giant cheese-burger."

    Damn! I wonder where that note went...I got a lot of hell because I have a lousy memory and ended up doing a Caesar Salad instead of a cheese-burger. No wonder he was pissed...
    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary

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    Quote Originally Posted by Undertow View Post
    I would have told the client that I was unable to meet his request as I worked in Adobe Illustrator and did not have Corel Draw. I then would have recommended that he specify file types in the initial design document as to avoid this hassle with future work for hire artists. Were you paid for work ahead of time and was it set up as hourly or a per piece basis? If you weren't paid and there was no review process or contract involved I would have politely excused myself from his belittlement and wished him the best of luck.
    Hi Undertwow That's some good advice.
    This event occurred years ago, a few months after I graduated from highschool, but before I started art school -- so as you can probably imagine my ignorance back as then there was no contract.

    I was originally never to speak to the t-shirt guy, (the client said in their e-mails they only needed the vector art of the logo I sketched up for them)... but after they became very frustrated with e-mail attachments they asked me to deal with the T-shirt guy directly to get the problem sorted out.

    And of course I would know now none of that would have ever happened if there was an actual contract that outlined my responsibilities.

    I just solved the issue by finding some illustrator file to corel draw converter on download.com or similiar site.

    The client wound up paying me a few weeks after the corel draw episode in the office.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kennygeeze View Post
    I was lectured when I was still in school by some guy who owned a T-shirt company. The client wanted me to E-mail the T-shirt guy vector art ... so I sent him an adobe illustrator file of the final artwork... .AI Days later I was brought into the office to come face to face with a very distraught looking client and t-shirt guy. He got very angry and said he needed 'vector art' (which is what I was pretty sure I had given him)
    Long story short he gave me a good 20-minute talk about how Corel Draw is the industry standard and how 'adobe illustrator' is 'a piece of shit.' and that if I was serious about being a designer I should go get a Mac, put corel draw on there, and not bother with 'adobe'.
    I worked for a newspaper doing ads for a while, and despite that I tried very hard to give clients a high quality product (well, as high quality as you can when clients insist on filling their ad with useless crap and clutter). I worked mainly in Illustrator, and occassionally in Photoshop. Most of the people at the newspaper used something called "Multi-Ad".

    After a few months there was an email circulated to my boss and the heads of other departments from a guy in another department talking about how I was being difficult by refusing to work in Multi Ad like everyone else. I fired back with Adobe is the world wide leaders in design software, that every design studio in the country, if not the world, use Illustrator and Photoshop, and that I was trying to work up to a professional standard. I then suggested that the head of that department train HIS people on the better software, because we should be working UP to a standard, not dragging people down to a lower one. He came to my desk and quietly asked for a truce, stating that I wrote much better than he did haha.

    Of course I think I would have been a little less harsh for a freelance client rather than an internal department butting of heads, but still, it's ok to defend your position and point out when someone is obviously wrong. Clients, especially small ones, have crazy ideas and they sometimes need to be set straight.

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    i love it when clients have no clear vision as to what they want. which makes everyones job difficult seeing as the client is always right. what..? who made that rule?


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    Quote Originally Posted by stoph View Post
    i love it when clients have no clear vision as to what they want. which makes everyones job difficult seeing as the client is always right. what..? who made that rule?

    On the flip side is the artist who takes direction poorly which stretches out the time it takes for the job to get done, and then the artist complains that a project is taking too long to complete.

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    I have a bajillion of these. One favorite though was, "Make a dinosaur like creature, but not really a dinosaur. Like this this lived fifty years ago instead of a 150 million years ago." I worked out this feathered thing that was prehistoric looking, but maybe could have survived the ice age. It was apparently way off the mark. "Could you go in more of a classic direction, like a t-rex? Maybe it's like a rhino slash t-rex." So I drew a T-Rex with a horn. BINGO!

    The other was to make a 'realistic' skeleton warrior. Everyone thought the real skull was silly, because it looked like it was smiling (someone said it was too cartoony). So I gave it an angry eye ridge and made it's mouth frown (a skull, hard rigid, usually non frowning...keep that in mind). BINGO!

    The worst are storyboard pages, especially when you charge per frame. "Show --PLACE EPIC SPACE BATTLE HERE--in two panels, then...." or if you get a thirty page script and they want it in five frames. Luckily I hardly ever do those anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougbot View Post
    I have a bajillion of these. One favorite though was, "Make a dinosaur like creature, but not really a dinosaur. Like this this lived fifty years ago instead of a 150 million years ago." I worked out this feathered thing that was prehistoric looking, but maybe could have survived the ice age. It was apparently way off the mark. "Could you go in more of a classic direction, like a t-rex? Maybe it's like a rhino slash t-rex." So I drew a T-Rex with a horn. BINGO!

    The other was to make a 'realistic' skeleton warrior. Everyone thought the real skull was silly, because it looked like it was smiling (someone said it was too cartoony). So I gave it an angry eye ridge and made it's mouth frown (a skull, hard rigid, usually non frowning...keep that in mind). BINGO!

    The worst are storyboard pages, especially when you charge per frame. "Show --PLACE EPIC SPACE BATTLE HERE--in two panels, then...." or if you get a thirty page script and they want it in five frames. Luckily I hardly ever do those anyway.
    And this my friends, is why it pays to have an artist as the Art Director and not a writer/idea man.

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    Kev - it was for a Pc/Xbox game. not power rangers. which I worked on by the way, fabricating props, like those silly motorbikes they ride about.

    I have to revive this thread as I had another weird request lately. asked to design a "unique" hero, enemy and vehicle. In every case the feedback was - "we like this but can it be more like that guy from that movie, or those bad guys from that very popular game. why put the request for unique in the brief, just ask for a clone. not that I really mind, I get to draw, I get payed, I can get drunk every night. but it would save a lot of time if they just put their clone requests in the brief and left out words like "unique"

    I love the Adobe - Corel insident. I've had a guy tell me he was a proffesional graphic designer, an all in one man. He'd never even tried any of the adobe suite. then he kept asking how I was managing to pump out work in photoshop.

    at animation school the 3d classes were told to use gimp, and that it was industry standard, coz the school didn't want to pay for PS. us classical animation guys were giving ps 4 or 5 I think. on one computer for the whole class. this was in 2003 when cs was coming out I think.

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    I was thinking about this thread the other day. I had to design a really sexy, powerful femme character. The client loved the rough I sent and I got to work on the final. A day later they emailed to say they sent out the rough to get opinions from a test audience and their "best reviewer" had thought that she wasn't sexy enough in the face (basically she was more "ethnic" looking and the reviewer wanted more white girl). The client really liked the character as she was, but decided to have me change it anyway for this one reviewer.

    How qualified was "best" reviewer making the client change things about what was sexy? He was a 16 yr old kid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirana View Post
    I was thinking about this thread the other day. I had to design a really sexy, powerful femme character. The client loved the rough I sent and I got to work on the final. A day later they emailed to say they sent out the rough to get opinions from a test audience and their "best reviewer" had thought that she wasn't sexy enough in the face (basically she was more "ethnic" looking and the reviewer wanted more white girl). The client really liked the character as she was, but decided to have me change it anyway for this one reviewer.

    How qualified was "best" reviewer making the client change things about what was sexy? He was a 16 yr old kid.
    This is precisely why I laid off commissioning for so long. Not only do the weirdos leak out of the woodwork if you're affordable enough, but the children too. That is to say, nothing wrong with "children" commissioning character concepts and whatnot, but the worst thing about it is what you stated... No appreciation for a different take on the word "sexy" and thinking outside of the stereotypical model-esque, stripper look. I'm surprised they might not have commented about breast size, and only the face.

    I'd like to tell them to trace their favorite comic book character in that case. Silly kids.

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    I don't do private commissions (I don't have time and yes, unfortunately they tend to be more hassle than the small money is worth). This was for a book company and the client had multiple young "testers" (I think the book was supposed to be targeted to the teen/tween age range). He actually did mention the breasts. He told the client that "she doesn't need to have big boobs or anything, though." Thaaaanks bub.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirana View Post
    I don't do private commissions (I don't have time and yes, unfortunately they tend to be more hassle than the small money is worth). This was for a book company and the client had multiple young "testers" (I think the book was supposed to be targeted to the teen/tween age range). He actually did mention the breasts. He told the client that "she doesn't need to have big boobs or anything, though." Thaaaanks bub.
    Lol good to know they're targeting teens with repressed sexual urges in that case. Yeesh... creepy much?

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