Thursday, July 11, 2013

KR Castlemaine RIP OFF

This is sneaky, rude and just not right and stuff.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

1 Designer + 98 Losers = 99 Designs

When I first heard about on TwitTV's iPad Today netcast, I thought it sounded like a great idea. As a freelance designer I saw it as a possible source of income.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, 99 Designs is a site where clients post their design jobs as a competition with a set prize. People submit ideas and, at a set date, the competition is closed and a shortlist of designs is chosen. There is some communication back and forth with the finalists and completed artwork is produced. A winner is chosen and they get the prize as payment for their work.

I joined up, picked something that I had an immediate idea for with a prize of $819. I spent most of a day realising my concept into a polished design and submitted it. So did nearly 500 other people.

Nearly all of the submissions were truly awful. Clearly there were a lot of people entering who were not designers. This made me feel better about my chances of winning. The competition was closed so the client could choose the finalists and then… nothing. Weeks of nothing. Then an announcement that the client had failed to make any choices so nobody would win. The end.

I mentioned my having entered the competition on Twitter and was bombarded with messages from strangers telling me that 99 Designs was evil and killing the industry and that I should have nothing to do with them. I read some articles and decided that they were right, although some of their reasoning seemed a bit "The Sky Is Falling!" I've come up with my own argument on the topic, based on hypothetical figures chosen largely to make the maths easy, which is as follows:

Let's say a client wants a logo, for which he is willing to pay $500.
Graphic designers charge $100 per hour when dealing with direct clients, so that's 5 hours worth of work.
501 designers submit designs for this job.
One design is chosen, the designer collects his $500. He's happy.

OK, but what of the other 500 designers? They get nothing. If each of them have also spent 5 hours on their work, that's a total of 2,500 unpaid man-hours that have been thrown at this client's job for free.

That is $250,000 worth of work that nobody is getting paid for.

Look at the design industry as just that, an industry, and consider the above figures. Could any industry sustain itself by providing over $250,000 worth of work for a mere $500 return? No.

Is it reasonable for a client to expect 2,500 hours of work to be provided to it for a mere $500 outlay? Of course not.

But that's exactly what is happening.

Yeah sure, we're not an organised industry, many of the people submitting designs aren't even designers, but so what?

The issue is that this sort of site completely diminishes the perceived value of what some of us, as professional designers, do. There is, well there should be, a lot more to creating a design for a client than fulfilling a typed out brief. The solution is only ever going to be a bit generic. Unfortunately most clients won't care or wouldn't know the difference. And why wouldn't the bulk of uninformed clients love the idea of having so much to choose from without having to commit to anything?

Ideally, designers will shun sites such as these. If we cut off their source of well designed material they will become known for what they basically are, an amateur design competition site, and genuine clients will continue to seek out real designers to achieve quality results. Yeah right.

We're all doomed.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Transient Ischemic Attack

If you've read the last post and been wondering what the results showed, it was probably a TIA, Transient Ischemic Attack. It's like a mini-stroke caused by a blockage in blood flow to the brain.

Apparently my CT head scan showed some narrowing in my cartoid arteries, which are in the neck, that feed the brain. So if there's a blockage you get a thing much like a mini-stroke, but it doesn't cause any permanent damage because it breaks up and flows away.

So that's good!

I've had to go and have a scan of my cartoid arteries, which was no big deal. You lie down, a woman (in this case) puts gel on your neck and pushes a thing around for a few minutes while you get to listen to variations on the sound of your blood pumping away and making squishy noises. Unfortunately I can't get a digital copy of that either which sucks. It sounded cool, I wanted to sample it and make something. Oh well.

Results from that will be ready in a couple of days and then I might have to see a neurologist - so more to come later!

But at least I can now confidently use Arnie's line...


...and later:
My arteries aren't blocked. My doctor said it must have been one of the smaller blood vessels further up in my brain. He also told me to "forget about it!"

"I could have one right now, sitting here talking to you," he said, "there's nothing you can do. I suggest you just move on..."

Um. OK. *Shrug*

Monday, February 04, 2013

Who am I? Don't even go there!

Sometimes it doesn't pay to think about certain things, like who you are.

I realised that this morning. This very weird morning. I was having enough problems with external stuff, the very idea of failing to know who I am was too scary to consider so I decided, quite deliberately, not to even try to remember my own name.

I'd woken up after a late night. Not a boozy, party night - just a quiet, wide awake, brain ticking over with unpleasant stuff I have going on, couldn't get to sleep before 3am night. I wasn't especially tired but I felt kind of blank. Went about the basic morning stuff on auto-pilot. Toilet, shower, washed hair, dried hair, got dressed. And then I realised I didn't know where to go. I couldn't remember where I worked.

Having discounted previous jobs and self employments of the past, I knew where work WAS, just not what it was called. This isn't good, I thought, but since I now knew where to go, I set off on foot in that direction.

Half way there (it's under 10 minutes stroll away) I went into the cafe where I buy coffee. The usual girl was there, I said hi, and totally blanked. Coffee. I know I want coffee. There's the 3 different size cups. I want the middle one. What does this place call the middle one? It's not a "Grande", that's the servo. Isn't it? "Um, sorry, having a brain fade day!" Um, it's got writing on it... medium! It's a medium. Medium what? White. I want white, and sugar. 1 sugar. "Ah, medium white, 1 sugar please." "Flat white?" Yes! "That's the one, thanks."

Back on auto pilot, walking to work. Why can't I remember anything? Test yourself. Who do you work with? Um... Margi! The boss is Margi. And the rest of the Margi family, husband, son... Names? Um... Oh! and that girl. Pretty. Sits next to me. We work together, She's been there for years. What's her name? Jess! No, that's the receptionist. She's on holidays. Argh.

So I stop, sit on a wall and light a smoke. Drink some coffee. Look at my watch. I have 10 minutes to get it together. Start with something simple. What's my name? Shit, don't even go there, if you fail at that you'll never get off this fucking wall... Maddie! The girl I work with is Maddie!

Pleased with this breakthrough I get up and go to work.

"Good morning Derek!" says Maddie. Derek! Yeah, I'm sure I knew that. Right?

Margi comes in. "Morning... a funny thing's already happened, wanna hear? You know that job last week, where blah blah blah happened and you blah blah blahhed?"

"Um, not really, no. I seem to be, sort of, missing this morning." And I started to cry.

There must have been more conversation. No idea. Next thing I know Margi's run off and sent Geoff, her husband (Geoff!) to drive me home. I don't remember much about any conversation with Geoff in the car. I do remember him offering to drive me straight to the Medical Centre but I wanted to go home first. Try to get myself at least a bit together before dealing with that.

Anyway, he dropped me home. I finished my coffee, had another cigarette and walked to the Norwood Medical Centre to see my doctor. "Need more prescriptions?" Yep. I have a few things to talk to you about today though. "OK, let's do these first..." Well, while you're prescribing, I have this rash on my hands... "*looks* I'll give you blah blah." And it's on my scalp. Half my hair's fallen out in the last couple of months, I'm pretty worried about it. "Ah, OK *looks* hmmm... yeah, I'll give you blah blah blah." Thanks, and I couldn't remember who I am this morning, or where I work, or what coffee I buy or the names of the people I work with. And I cry again.

"I think you're alright really, just suffering from stress. To be safe though, go over to that section and they'll take blood for these tests *gives me form* and then go to the other section and they'll do a CT brain scan *gives me another form*. Come back Wednesday for the results. Take time off work until then *gives me yet another form*."

So I did all that and I feel normal again now. By lunch time I felt like me and I knew what I know. So that's good. I'm writing this down in case, for whatever reason, it all goes again.

Let's see what Wednesday brings.