Certified Circle Designer
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.
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.
Certified Circle Designer
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?"
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