Thoughts of another Art Director

Marlboro to Mocha

The ashtray is piled high, room for just one more. The art director takes advantage of that fact as the suits appear with knitted brows and armfuls of files. He puts down the stack of five fours and the chinagraph next to the Barely Beige Magic Marker gently evaporating, lamenting the loss of its lid. Perhaps he’ll fill me up with lighter fluid later, it muses.

“Your desk is a shit hole” a suit opines.

 

walker_robert-article“Thank you, I always value your opinion” responds the already mildly annoyed creative, it’s only 9.15 and he hasn’t had his second coffee yet. “Anyway, what’s the panic – and why do you always travel in pairs?”

As you may have surmised by now, we’re ‘back in the day’.
There are no Macs.
There’s a Grant enlarger instead with a stack of font books next to it.
There’s a light box well past its colour correct view-by date, piled high with two-and-a-quarters. There’s another ashtray next to it, spilling out and adhering to the sticky-with-spraymount cutting mat.

“We’ve got a rush job” the suit announces “here’s the brief”. To put that in perspective, a rush job back in the day meant there’s probably only a month to get the job out. But then, things took far longer to put together.

“We need some ideas by Thursday, just scamps, we’re going to fax them over to the client”. No you’re effing not, thinks the AD, we’ll get in your Escort XR3i and sell it face to face – and I’ll be there to field the questions. But that conversation can wait.

The brief has been in for a week, the planner’s given it some thought, the media department have bashed the Brad and called in favours to get the back page, we’re ready to go.
There are holes in the brief; Who are the competitors and what ads are they doing? The KSP is too vague, we need to tighten this up. This will need a shot, I’ll have to call round and see who’s available. Library shot? Not keen but maybe at a push, depends on the idea, I’ll need circulation numbers, they charge per square inch multiplied by the number of mags, and then stick a nought on the end, so it won’t be cheap. Anyway it’ll take a day to search through the dozens of photo library books heaped in the cupboard, and then they’ll be full of holes where ref pics have been scalpelled out. And half the books are just full of wildlife.

No, we’ll shoot it.

“I’ll get back to you on Wednesday with some thoughts and a ball park for photography.”

The studio is piled high with Macs. It’s quiet. The creatives are all frowning at their screens. One desk is piled high with paper and markers. There are a few grey hairs scattered around too. The art director takes a last pull on his choca mocha double shot as the suits appear.

“Your desk is a shit hole” a suit opines.
“Thank you, I always value your opinion” responds the already mildly annoyed creative, it’s only 9.15 and he’s still smarting over paying three quid for a shit coffee. “Anyway, what’s the panic – and why do you always travel in pairs?”

As you may have surmised by now, we’re ‘back in today’.

“We’ve got a rush job” the suit announces “the brief’s on your email. The client forgot to tell us they booked an ad through Acmedia and the deadline’s tomorrow. Artwork’s booked for this afternoon so you’ve got all morning. We’ll email scamps over about lunchtime.”

Again, there are the usual holes in the brief, the key one being the budget – there isn’t one.
Again the client is expecting us to come up with a great ad and find free images to make it work.
Shitterstock beckons, perhaps this time there will be a little gem hidden away?

But then, perhaps I’ll do something typographic instead, I can try out loads of options really quickly, it could be good.
He boots up the Mac.
Christ, remember how long this would take back in the day… spec it up, send it out to the typesetters, get the galley back, chop it up, stick it down, spec it for colour; wouldn’t see what it looks like til Cromalin. If I don’t like it, it’s back to square one and the budget’s out the window. Mmm, love the Mac.

Shame about the photography though, maybe that food ad next week – won’t find a royalty free of that!


Photo: Robert Walker – copyright