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Graphics and Design

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I have a few clients that, in meetings, call me the "graphics guy". Or, he "does graphics".

 

It's always bothered me a little, and I've not been able to put my finger on why. It feels like someone mispronouncing my name. I try to quiet that voice in my head with the argument that semantics are just semantics, and in the end what matters is what I produce. However, I feel like "graphics guy" characterizes everything I don't like about this industry: using canned ideas, presets, backgrounds, Jumpbacks, free fonts, vecteezies, hoolanders, and other miscellaneous clichés; the things that I've grown to despise from working the corporate side of things with a company that laid me off, but still uses all my work as their animation demo.

 

This morning I was reading an article from Creative Cow Magazine (why? I dunno), and I was struck by several things that resonate with this feeling. The article is called "Workflows for High Impact Graphics". Reading this article, I noticed a few things. First, the words "designer" or "design" were not being used (or even.. avoided?). I finally did a search, and found "designer" used once in the article, and that being in a paragraph that talks about "recycling old work for new jobs" might exclude one from being a designer and how that is hogwash.

 

Of the 12 tips listed in how to make such high impact graphics, only 2 go into the creative process ("start with the music" and "animate the logo"). Now, I don't want to go into tearing apart someone's article, but I am free to disagree and I do disagree with most of it, (including a paragraph suggests the reader render to a 1-image-per-frame image sequence for interlaced output, which I maintain is incorrect). But deeper than that, my problem with articles like this is that it further cheapens what we do, and turns the process into a bag of tricks, and that we should somehow pick 3 tricks, then mix and match to "make a graphic".

 

I would think "Step 1" of how to making a high impact visual would be to get inspired; to throw away your bag of tricks and try something new. Get outside of your old process and reinvent yourself on every job. Scrap your first knee-jerk reaction idea and create permuatations of your ideas to land in a truly unique place in terms of creativity. Then explore your tools. By tools I mean color, space, time, motion, texture, type, rather than "gradients" and "motion blur switches".

 

I don't want to quixotically babble on about how what we do is "art" and not a bag of tricks. We all pretty much make visuals to sell sugar water, shoes and butt toners. But I think something happens when we start seeing the switches and modes in front of our eyes as our "tools", rather than the vast visual universe that is available to us.

 

I suppose there is no answering of a question that, at its core, is an issue of defining a malleable (almost slang) word like "graphics". But, for every article like this, and every starglow-bling-reality-show-open, and for every Jumpback library that is produced, and every corporate piece that starts with "a generic blue background", I see a need to need a delineate the boundary between "design" and visuals that are just "going through the motions". Maybe that's where the more generic word "graphics" steps in.

 

I'm curious as to how the rest of the community feels about this.

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This is definitely a great write up as well as a valid subject. I've been referred to before as the "graphics" person and it too makes me hurt a little. It is a generic term and it generalizes our profession and all we've worked for. It makes me feel like the guy who buys clip art and uses it in Page Maker brochures. I would assume it's the same for a quantum physicist being referred to as the science guy.

 

But, the people usually calling us graphics people are usually the same people who tell us to "jazz it up" or make the logos bigger... I don't expect them to know what our proper and in some cases well deserved titles are.

 

In this industry though, a lot of us do more than just designing or animating so sometimes it can be hard to put a specific title on someone. For instance, if someone refers to you as the designer, but you're also animating and compositing you still feel like you're being jipped.

 

In my opinion, the term "graphics person" is what non-design industry people use. The best thing to do is laugh it off and file it under the "jazz it up" and "make our logo bigger" archive. Even the word "graphics" makes me think of high chroma shiny pixelated low-budget local used car commercials. "Design" sounds much smoother and delicate..

 

But all in all, semantics are what they are..

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"Graphics" are the things that producers or editors need, while Graphic Design is a practice or process.

 

It's ALWAYS bothered me too. Even the term "Motion Graphics". As if there are multiple "Graphics" that we're spinning around ... These days I much prefer "Motion Graphic Design." Or "I am a Motion Graphic Designer." That way it seems to read / sound like we are involved in the process of Graphic Design which also involves Motion (or film-making).

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I would think "Step 1" of how to making a high impact visual would be to get inspired; to throw away your bag of tricks and try something new. Get outside of your old process and reinvent yourself on every job. Scrap your first knee-jerk reaction idea and create permuatations of your ideas to land in a truly unique place in terms of creativity. Then explore your tools. By tools I mean color, space, time, motion, texture, type, rather than "gradients" and "motion blur switches".

 

well said.

 

as far as "graphics guy". i think anything with the extension of "guy" is kind of insulting. but obviously not intentional. just an annoying generalized term. we have to start a PC movement and set these people straight. we should all make a pact to reply with.. "EXCUSE ME?!" anytime someone calls us the "graphics guy".. would be fun. ^_^

Edited by rubbersquirrel

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in reference to the "graphics guy" I hear what you're saying but it sounds to me....well like Marcellas Wallace said "it's pride f#ckin with ya". Who cares what other people refer to you as so long as you deliver a good product & recieve a nice paycheck.

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Harry, your point about "Graphics guy" is great and I think it needs a good discussion. But as far as getting mad at an UnCreative Cow article, that's like when I get mad at YouTube comments. It's a bunch of trash written by the lowest common denominator and it's a waste for talented people like you to even scan with your eyes. "Graphics Guys" and "Videographers" hang out over there.

 

 

In many ways I think the position should be called "Motion Design Director". Many of you guys are directors of your own piece the way I do film. Only difference is the originating medium. But at the end of the day, especially for independent artists who do a lot of the piece themselves, they are taking a huge part of the work into their own hands like a normal film director would. "Graphics Guy" sounds like you come in at the last minute and stick some clip art on the screen.

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Regarding the cow article- I skimmed it myself and was pretty turned off- but it is written for the target audience which I'm assuming is primarily newcomers and dabblers in the Mograph world. Looking at the typical posts on the Cow it seems like a fitting article for this audience. It's not going to help anyone create "high-impact" graphics but may get someone pointed in the right direction.

 

I think the labeling of what we do is inadequate because there is a such a broad spectrum of what 'graphics' means. I would be curious to see what people's impression on the label 'graphics guy' or similar is... to us it seems inadequate because we know the different degrees of the work. No one knows what a 'motion graphic designer' is so it seems an inadequate label as well. It would be similar to one person calling a song techno, whereas the electronic music fan would label the song acid house. Does it make a difference?

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"Graphics Guy" reminds me of freelancing at an editorial facility. Now, I work under the title "Compositor," and some of the people I work with are the Lighting Technical Director and the FX Simulation Artist. To call us all "The Graphics Guys" kinda reminds me of how they used to refer to all non-white people as "colored people."

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Guest Sao_Bento
in reference to the "graphics guy" I hear what you're saying but it sounds to me....well like Marcellas Wallace said "it's pride f#ckin with ya". Who cares what other people refer to you as so long as you deliver a good product & recieve a nice paycheck.

Now there's a reference I can connect with.

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It's ALWAYS bothered me too. Even the term "Motion Graphics". As if there are multiple "Graphics" that we're spinning around ... These days I much prefer "Motion Graphic Design." Or "I am a Motion Graphic Designer." That way it seems to read / sound like we are involved in the process of Graphic Design which also involves Motion (or film-making).

 

Motion Graphic Design feels ok to me too.

I'm back to using "Graphic Designer", and if they want to know specifics then I can explain.

Broadcast Designer never bothered me, but feels very 90's now.

Can't stand the term "mograph"... sorry.

 

"Design" is tricky word in itself to throw around.... especially since many people in our industry are more of a "motion illustrator" IMO.

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Lots of good things said here already. One thing that strikes me about our line of work is that there really isn't any tradition or "counsel of elders" if you will to define and remind us what it is that we do. I've always found that the print world seems a bit more in touch with this stuff, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that you have a tradition established by the Paul Rands, Milton Glasers, etc. that have defined and articulated these things over they years, so people who came later learned this as part of their education, whether it be at an art school or on the job. In our industry, who are the Paul Rands? We can all probably think of a few people like Harry Marks who represent the foundation of our industry, but there isn't really the organization and tradition passed along that we see in the print world. Most of the books and articles that claim to discuss design in our field come off as the motion equivalent of a "Photoshop Wow!" book, or a tutorial for editors looking to add some design skills to their game tarted up as a field manual for broadcast design. (If I see another article that tells me to use serifed fonts for old things and sans serif fonts for new things I'm going to take a hostage.)

 

I speculate that part of the reason we get called "graphics guys" among other less than flattering terms is that we came along after there were already directors and producers who had control over the creative end of the television and film worlds. That is still where most of the creative control lies in our business. So, most directors and producers don't really think of us as designers in the sense that they come to us to conceptualize a design since they feel that is their turf. In their minds, we're the pair of hands to execute their vision. The fact that our line of work is so tied to computers adds to this problem, since it gives the appearance that computer skills equal design skills. I've noticed that my friends in the print word, while they have their own issues along these lines, don't get asked to simply execute their clients ideas in the way that we often do. There seems to be a better understanding in the print world that you go to a designer for their creativity as much if not more than their technical ability. I'd be interested to hear other people' experiences with that.

 

We should also consider the fact that we all probably contribute to the "graphics guy" misconception from time to time. I know when I'm disinterested in a project of the client turns out to be a pain in the ass, I have to fight the urge to roll over and put Shine on their logo to make the project go away.

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Lots of good stuff to read !!

 

- Mograph is "slang" for us.

 

- Motion Graphic Design is best i think.

 

- Broadcast Designer yes you are right... a bit 90's like when i started.

 

- Graphic Designer is general and very correct.

 

- "infographiste" like sometimes people say here in french .. I just hate it, make me angry!

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Harry, your point about "Graphics guy" is great and I think it needs a good discussion. But as far as getting mad at an UnCreative Cow article, that's like when I get mad at YouTube comments. It's a bunch of trash written by the lowest common denominator and it's a waste for talented people like you to even scan with your eyes. "Graphics Guys" and "Videographers" hang out over there.

In many ways I think the position should be called "Motion Design Director". Many of you guys are directors of your own piece the way I do film. Only difference is the originating medium. But at the end of the day, especially for independent artists who do a lot of the piece themselves, they are taking a huge part of the work into their own hands like a normal film director would. "Graphics Guy" sounds like you come in at the last minute and stick some clip art on the screen.

 

Exactly!

Look at the "High Impact Graphics" they used in the header ... :blink:

 

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/cu...itle_banner.jpg

 

I like the term "Motion Design Director" but it doesn't necessarily apply if you're only one part of a team ... designer, animator, compositor, etc.

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For me, Graphic Designer works, although that does seem rather limiting in description, and if the person feels the need to shorten that title, then Designer works as well. I kind of like Motion Graphics Artist as a title, an if someone feels the need to use slang in order to feel hip then thay are welcomed to use Mograph artist. But graphics guy just feel like a news station editor, rock'n the effects presets, to me(prepare for dramatic logo fly-in..NOW).

 

 

 

 

 

 

edit:typo

Edited by RustyAce

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I'm a "Motion Graphics Artist."

 

It says all the things I need it to say without having a single "slash" in it.

 

It says "animation", it says "design" and it says that I don't fuck around.

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I have thought about this for years, because I have been called lots of different things because I do print and motion design. I have notice people saying "I'll let you talk to my "graphics guy" a lot more and it does bother me because the image it puts in my head. I think we need to be careful because I don't think we want to create that negative image, "designers are touchy" we already have the image somewhat. Every time I see or hear someone get so bent out of shape because of a word thats what gets me. Someone calls me a graphics guy, big deal. I know the truth. Now, every time I get a chance (and its not weird timing) I say "as a designer" or whatever you want to be called. I just leave it at that and if they want to ask what kind of design then I tell them Motion Design or whatever.

 

This is my first post on here so feel free to disregard my post as a stupid newbee!

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Graphics guy - i think the correct academic title, imprinted in proud letters on my university diploma, used to be slightly different. But my memorys might have been a bit blurred out since the day i last looked at it and for years now i've mostly been the graphics-, after effects-, 3d-, animation-, video-, pixelmover-, whatever-guy. I'm afraid this is where it ends for most of us. Next time our it-guy pops in i might think twice how i call him :huh: .

 

Only Mom still thinks i'm an artist...

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"Graphics guy" reminds me of skeezy mobsters chatting about how they got a 'guy' to do this and that. Or someone who does work for you for a lower price because you know them.

 

I speculate that part of the reason we get called "graphics guys" among other less than flattering terms is that we came along after there were already directors and producers who had control over the creative end of the television and film worlds. That is still where most of the creative control lies in our business. So, most directors and producers don't really think of us as designers in the sense that they come to us to conceptualize a design since they feel that is their turf. In their minds, we're the pair of hands to execute their vision. The fact that our line of work is so tied to computers adds to this problem, since it gives the appearance that computer skills equal design skills. I've noticed that my friends in the print world, while they have their own issues along these lines, don't get asked to simply execute their clients ideas in the way that we often do. There seems to be a better understanding in the print world that you go to a designer for their creativity as much if not more than their technical ability. I'd be interested to hear other people' experiences with that.

 

I was freelancing at an editorial facility and this happened a lot with directors and creatives from ad agencies handing me storyboards and ai files of what they wanted exactly, and told to make it glow here and come up here. At the end of the project I would feel like I went to 4 years of art school so I could be someone else's hands because they went to advertising school.

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"Graphics guy" reminds me of skeezy mobsters chatting about how they got a 'guy' to do this and that.

 

Or worse, the producers and directors that refer to people as theirs. As in "This is my editor, this is my director, this is my graphics guy".

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