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  1. #91
    Certified Circle Designer Rick's Avatar
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    I should have added this... I mentioned this on Letterville once.
    A very long time ago, I had a few books of letters and doodles
    I made through high school. I always showed family members.
    My mom and dad would always tell me they looked great, my
    brother couldn't draw a straight line so who cares what he thought.
    I started painting car club graphics on car windows and there was
    a sign painter who lived close by. Never trusting my parents praise
    I went to this sign professional and showed him my stuff. He
    rummaged through one doodle book that had a few pics and grumbled
    "What do you want me to say, you're good" I was devastated...
    I really wanted some criticism or tips. Si Allen was the neighbor, and
    he must have been in his mid to late 30's at the time... Never bugged
    him again... but secretly I wanted to grunt for him at the time.

    I got a few tips from other sign painters in the area at the time and
    when a sign painter who worked at a theme park started going to my church,
    I jumped on the chance, worked as a grunt and basic signs. But paying
    attention to how they obsessed over layout was the biggest thing that stuck
    to me... and a few for their love for the art of letter form or the reproducing
    of it. At the same time, I was learning tradition print design.

    I have only received harsh criticism a few times, but usually from
    people I had no respect for or had no clue as to what good design was.
    The ones I did respect, I paid close attention. I always asked people
    better than me or people who will not hold back. I occasionally ask a muggle
    (non-design folk) simply if it's effective or attractive. I did go to school for
    a little bit, but my education was mostly through apprenticeship/mentoring.

    What's great about this site is you get it unfiltered. You may not like the
    delivery but quite a few of us really care about good design and layout.

    To me, newbies come and go, they don't bug me all that much because
    why care too much about a newbies idea of what good design is if they spew
    out the same poor layouts I have seen for 15 years on sign/design forums.
    It's the designers and sign people doing this for 5+ years who still design
    (and price) like a newbie that tick me off. Some of this work should never
    be on a website portfolio. Been looking at the local competition and quite a bit
    of the work is basic sign shop to really poor examples of a good layout, or the
    new thing is "brand intergration". Overly worded websites with very bad examples
    of graphic design and branding. I live in the sticks and I halfway expected this,
    but most of these places have been around for years. I never thought of them
    as competition before, but now that we are going after local work, they
    suddenly are. It will be interesting to see how I adjust to criticism from
    a small business owner... guess I'll have to read Dan Antonelli's new book again.

  2. #92
    College Freshman Kaiser's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
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    Nice post.

    A little on the harsh side but then again. Ive always been a little soft at heart, nonetheless, well said.

    I have had similar experiences as a photographer.
    Once I started working with one of the best, I had to forget everything I knew and start from scratch all over again. 3 years of thinking I was a big shot and BAM. Right in the kisser.

    It all boils down to visual education IMHO. I still have a VERY long way to go before I can fill my mentors shoes, but then again, by the time I get there, he will be far more advanced. You see, this is the kind of chap who was practically born with a camera and hasnt stopped researching even in his 40s. My analogy on all this: today we look at the number 10 and we want it but by the time we get there, we see number 20 and we still feel like sh!t, we want that too. There will always be someone better than us. Might as well take advantage of that and learn from them.

  3. #93
    Certified Circle Designer Rick's Avatar
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  4. #94
    Preppie
    Join Date
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    Good design

    Dear Sign Maniac (and others).
    I've just joined this Forum and the first post I read was about the quality of work performed and criticism of your work. It must be said that "Constructive" criticism, whether from others or yourself, is the only way your work will improve.
    "Destructive" critcism on the other hand usually comes from people who are either jealous, or feel threatened by you!
    I had worked in metal fabrication since my teens and got into signage later in my career. I bought a Roland PNC100, some software and a few rolls of vinyl. I then proceeded to churn out signs for friends and family...until one day, I bought a copy of Signcraft magazine. I was astounded at the quality of the work on display and at the same time, embarassed and somewhat ashamed at how amateurish and poorly laid out my stuff looked! I still have one of the first Corflute signs I ever made, and whenever I'm getting a bit carried away with my own "cleverness", I take out the sign... see how bad it is... and come crashing down to earth again!
    Mike Stevens book and Signcraft magazine are of infinite value to aspiring Sign people but we really need to be our own worst Critic! No matter how good our work is, we should all strive to make the next job better than the previous one: and look back at previous jobs to see what could have been done differently.
    If you come to the point where you feel you couldn't improve on your last project, then maybe a career change might be in order. An old guy that I worked with as a teenager once said to me, ..."don't ask me if it's good enough, ask yourself "have I really done my very best?"
    Regards Chuck



    Quote Originally Posted by SignManiac View Post
    Lately there have been many post proudly showing your work and then you get upset when the more experienced veterans here try to help you with suggestions. Instead, you get your feelings hurt because not everyone believes your work to be as good as you think it is. You come here seeking praise but when you hear the truth, you think we're all being mean on purpose.

    The fact is, the majority of people in the sign industry today have no proper education with regards to design and layout. You have not been trained or taught the art of graphic/sign design that is necessary if you are to be in the sign business. Just because you can execute and stick letters on a board does not make you a talented designer or artist. Even if you are not a natural artist, it is still possible to become a great sign designer if you take the necessary steps to learn the basics.

    If you are really here to learn then you need to start with the fundamentals and most important of all, learn to take constructive criticism without getting you panties all wadded up.

    Let me tell you a little story. Thirty years ago I was going on my sixth year in business being entirely self taught. Everything was hand lettered then because there was no such thing as a computer. Also there was no such thing back then like Signs 101 where information was offered among your competitors and peers. You have no idea how lucky you are that these professionals are taking time out of their busy day to offer the help they do. All the knowledge back when I started was a closely guarded secret. Hell most competitor shops would not allow you inside their buildings for fear that you might see what they were doing. It was damn near impossible to teach yourself but it could be done as I proved it myself.

    One day I was off to Riverhead N.Y. a town about fifty miles from where I lived and I thought I would stop and visit a local sign shop of I guy I had run into one day.

    His work was some of the best I had ever seen. He had a real sign shop with employees, tools, showroom, the real deal. I brought my portfolio along and wanted his opinion of my work. He was busy at the time but told me to show it to his young hot shot design guy in the next room.

    Well this self proclaimed design god proceeded to rip me a new *** and told me I might as well quit and find another job. He said that unless I worked for another sign company I could never learn how to properly design and make signs.

    My guts felt like they were ripped right out of me. My mouth hit the floor and I was flooded with emotions I'd never known before. I was devastated and crushed. I left his shop and got back in my car. My wife at the time took one look at me and said what's wrong? I told her what Jimmy Hotshot as said and that I was going to give up and enlist in the military.

    She was silent a moment and then said to me, if Jimmy Hotshot is so damn good, why is he working for somebody else? She said to me, for the past six years you have done really well in the sign business and provided for your family all of those years. Why would you want to give up something you love doing so much?

    Well after looking at it that way, I decided being the stubborn ***** that I can be, that I was going to prove that know it all wrong. From that moment on I became obsessed with being the best damn sign maker I could.

    I read and studied every article in every sign mag, tried every new technique I could learn and most important of all, I never, never could be satisfied with any of my finished signs. Even when they were done and gone I would critique and analyze every single one trying to find ways of improving my work.

    To this very day, thirty six years later after picking up that first brush, I'm still never satisfied that my work is good enough. Every once in a while I get a critique or suggestion from somebody and it may sting a little but, over the years I have developed elephant hide and take it as a way to continue improving.

    The one thing that disturbs me most is the planetary infliction of visual pollution that has ruined our communities. I'm all for laws that will punish the graphically challenged because it has gotten that bad.

    So if you aren't pissing and moaning by this post then I suggest you focus your education on design and layout. For those of you in the business ten years or more and never heard of Mike Stevens book "The art of eye appeal" I suggest you pony of a few bucks and invest in your future.

    Good design isn't just a tool, its the key to your financial success as well. When you can design with the best of them, you can command premium prices and who the hell here doesn't want to get top dollar for your talent and skill?

    Something to think about....

  5. #95
    Premium Subscriber Gino's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Solid View Post
    Dear Sign Maniac (and others).
    I've just joined this Forum and the first post I read was about the quality of work performed and criticism of your work. It must be said that "Constructive" criticism, whether from others or yourself, is the only way your work will improve.
    "Destructive" critcism on the other hand usually comes from people who are either jealous, or feel threatened by you!
    I had worked in metal fabrication since my teens and got into signage later in my career. I bought a Roland PNC100, some software and a few rolls of vinyl. I then proceeded to churn out signs for friends and family...until one day, I bought a copy of Signcraft magazine. I was astounded at the quality of the work on display and at the same time, embarassed and somewhat ashamed at how amateurish and poorly laid out my stuff looked! I still have one of the first Corflute signs I ever made, and whenever I'm getting a bit carried away with my own "cleverness", I take out the sign... see how bad it is... and come crashing down to earth again!
    Mike Stevens book and Signcraft magazine are of infinite value to aspiring Sign people but we really need to be our own worst Critic! No matter how good our work is, we should all strive to make the next job better than the previous one: and look back at previous jobs to see what could have been done differently.
    If you come to the point where you feel you couldn't improve on your last project, then maybe a career change might be in order. An old guy that I worked with as a teenager once said to me, ..."don't ask me if it's good enough, ask yourself "have I really done my very best?"
    Regards Chuck

    and you think all the millions of hacks in this industry today give two hoots about what you just wrote ?? All the wannabees who can't draw, spell or compose care ?? Not a chance. It's like the gun laws..... they're only written for the people who obey, not the deviates who don't care.

    Knowing the basics and how to execute those elements, matters only to a select few. Honing one's own skills and turning out good, only matters to those who care.

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