Boss Advise

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by 7on, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    So I work for a web marketing company as their only full-time designer. Love the work and couldn't ask for better coworkers.

    Now occasionally it'll get to one of those times were the bosses feel it's necessary to stand over my shoulder and point at my screen while saying "move this here, then move that there". It's only happened a couple of times since I was hired back in November and I can't really tell them off (bosses and all) but what would be the tactful way of handling this situation?

    What I have been doing up to this point is implementing these changes until they have to leave and then I throw away whatever we've been working on and design something in a totally different direction. One time they loved the new direction the other time they weren't thrilled with the design but the client liked it.

    It's always been a HUGE peeve of mine just being used as a puppet who knows the software.

  2. jbennardo macrumors 6502a


    Jun 16, 2009
    You just described something I'm very familiar with. I used to feel the same way as you - I'd get really angry too. I don't have much advice unfortunately aside from not letting it get to you. Pick your battles and don't go against the grain just for the sake of doing so. Watch that rogue behavior when waiting until the bosses leave - it's a bit insubordinate. Now, I don't really know the dynamic of your particular position - just an opinion.

    I've done plenty of layouts I didn't agree with but the suits and the marketing department wanted it that way. At the end of the day, they are the client in some form and you have to give them what they want - even if it's ugly to you. At some point, perhaps you'll be calling the shots and some younger artist will have the same complaints about you. ;)

    I don't really have a good solution for you regarding the standing over your shoulder problem. Happens to me too and it's one of my peeves as well. And it usually involves the least creative person in the building barking stuff out. I think people get carried away and forget they're yelling commands at a person using a mouse. Tell them politely to spec out all of the changes and leave it with you to make the changes - and to go have a seat.
  3. heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    When that happens, I tell them my computer is acting up and I'll make the changes when I restart my computer. They leave mea alone and tell me Mac sucks. :D
  4. MattSepeta macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2009
    375th St. Y
    Does not

    Does not matter!

    Your boss is your client. He can hire/fire you, HIS clients cannot.

    It is not wise to "redo" the changes after the boss checks out.

    If you feel that your word is the ultimate and final word on design, then you should go freelance and be your own boss.
  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Um, clients can fire the firm (aka not pay) for bad jobs.

    The problem is most of those "managers" have no clue. Of course, not saying everyone should doing things different than what the boss suggests, but think about whether it'll make it better.

    If you keep doing what people who don't know design tell you to do, this is what happens:

    Can potentially lose future clients. No clients = no job.
  6. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2004
    That's touchy. I direct my employees, but I've been doing this for 7 years and it's MY business after-all. I appreciate it when my employees give me their opinions and reasons behind their designs. 1/2 the time I say, OK go with it, and the other 1/2 I make the call. I would say speak up though because I want to know their reasoning behind what they are doing. Maybe it was something I didn't think of.

    But me as the manager, have spent all the time with the client, so I have a good understanding of the creative direction they are going for.

    Clients on the other hand you have to tell them your opinion, but ultimately they are the one paying the bill. You can't just tell them no. If that effects your ego you should become an artist because you're not going to make it very far with just doing what you want to do.
  7. design-is macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2007
    London / U.K.
    I, as I'm sure most designers do, also have this situation sometimes, but you just have to act reasonably and professionally.

    Think about what's happening.

    Something you've done hasn't quite satisfied your boss, who wants to satisfy your/their/the company's client. Your boss may not understand design as much as you, but is giving you directions in a way that he/she thinks will improve things.

    You can do a couple of things (not an exhaustive list):

    1/ Make their changes, make it clear that you're doing it quickly to get what they want included and that you'll tidy it up later. 'Tidying it up' can improve things a lot. If they say a colour, try different variations. A typeface, mess with it a little to make it nicer or try different weights etc. Design to their revised specs.

    2/ Make their changes. Do your own version in your slightly different direction. Present both to them and explain why you think yours is better suited. If they still prefer their suggestion, that's just how life is sometimes.

    3/ Politely stop them and ask them to give you feedback, not direction. Try to get them to explain what's not working for them so that you can think about how to fix it or come back explaining why they are wrong. Try to get them to realise they should be pointing out the problems and letting you solve them - that they shouldn't be trying to solve design problems.

    But at the end of the day, until you're the boss, you need to do what you're paid to do and sometimes just 'do as you're told'. We're all just mac monkeys sometimes.

    Also, its always good remember that you don't know everything... consider that maybe your boss could be right. There's a reason they are in charge. They must have experience which is at least vaguely relevant to helping you improve a design.

    Hope that helps a little...

  8. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    You need to present yourself as the expert.

    Finally, if him working over your shoulder is making you uncomfortable, tell him that his working over your shoulder is making you uncomfortable. Offer up an alternative workflow, such as welcoming his input once you present some polished concepts to him.

    Defend your decisions. Explain why you placed that block of text where you placed it. Questions your boss' decisions when you disagree and explain why your existing design is better.

    But this is also important - don't be afraid to admit your boss is right sometimes. Because chances are, he will be some of the time.
  9. usclaneyj macrumors regular

    May 1, 2005
    This is all good advice ^^^

    Personally, I'm in a similar situation except my boss dictates every little detail of every single thing I create (I'm the sole designer, with the Creative Director title!) to the point where I truly feel like I'm just a pencil. We've talked. It's not getting better. I'm leaving on good terms as soon as the opportunity presents itself. In the meantime, I just give him what he wants and stay quiet.
  10. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Do what your told then if you have the time do a version you prefer and offer that AFTER showing them the other. Make sure you explain your work and if it truly is better than the first one it will win out. Also make sure that no errors exist in the first one as this can leave them thinking that you spent more time working on your ideas than the ones you were told to.

    Being a designer is not as glamorous as people think it is. To have true autonomy you need to do what your told in the beginning to be trusted enough to get the freedom later on in your career.

    My first two jobs I walked out of because I was being used as a Mac Monkey. While I haven't regretted the decision it was not wise at the time as it took me a while to find more work.

    So suck it up, do you what your told then blow them away with 'proper' design.

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