Design Restrictions?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Topher15, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. Topher15 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2007
    I was recently doing some posters for an old colleague, whose communications dept. later informed us that, aside from corporate colours, specific fonts, etc, they do not allow any bold or italicised type on any posters (which I though was a bit of an unnecessary restriction), and the posters must follow a specific layout.

    If you're just virtually filling in a template why bother hiring a designer? Why design something almost the same irrespective of the target audience/objective? What's use of having a poster for football sessions in the same layout and style as a poster to remind people not to smoke inside a building!

    It's a bit annoying after I've wasted my time designing posters and flyers only to be told the day before print that they must redone as per their template.

    Anyone come across restrictions like this? What did you do? Obviously there will often be in-house guidelines that you have to follow, but it seems like they can sometimes be too restrictive and ultimately override material that could be more successful.
  2. heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    Corporate wants everything to have the same look and feel. Just like Porsche ads you see in Germany will have the same look and feel as you see in the US.
  3. hobbbz macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2005
    That's the point of design.

    You have restrictions and goals. If it you had no restrictions it would be art.

    Design is not art.

    I almost always find the restrictions to be overwhelming at first, but once I overcome them, the result is quite satisfying.
  4. Topher15 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2007
    Obviously... I alluded to this in my post.

    However, different objectives create distinctions in the design, right? But if the guidelines tie everything too close together you will loose that distinction and thus the individual audience. You can be quite diverse in the design and still keep a corporate identity intact.

    I think the problem with my case was their design examples and guidelines were simply not very good. It looked quite amateurish.

    Edit... I guess my question should relate to bad guideline, rather than guidelines themselves, which are of course as you said the point of design.
  5. Nicolecat macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    This is the daily, ever heavy problem that designers have when working on corporate art.

    Every large corporation is going to have guidelines/rules/restrictions as to what they want to see from you as a's your ability to pull it all together and make it sync and work as a whole with a slightly new flair, as to why they hired you to do it instead of having it done in-house (at least in my experience).

    If they didn't put their foot down...somewhere, well then they would get all kinds of stuff they didn't want to begin with.

    Good Luck...and try to be slightly more upbeat, that they're giving you oodles of direction as opposed to none. :D
  6. Topher15 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2007
    Cheers. Your right.

    The guy who I'm working directly for preferred what I originally did, and agrees with me, but obviously his hands are tied.

    In the end I think you just have to distinguish the work that is fun and portfolio worthy and those that simply earn you money. If the client is happy then thats all that matters really.
  7. Abraxsis macrumors 6502


    Sep 23, 2003
    In the packaging design world, there are TONS of restrictions, especially for licensed properties. Often times I found them to be droll and boring, especially given that the supplied graphics always seemed to be over-the-top gaudy. I usually tried to get away with a "slight" change to get me past the feeling that it was cookie cutter, and 99% of the time I succeeded. Several of the ideas were later incorporated into that license's styleguide.

    Except for the Japanese, man are those licenses real sticklers on form and templates. Sheesh.

  8. RainForRent macrumors 6502


    May 31, 2006
    Greenville, SC
    Yep. Corporations spend lots of money to develop identities, and don't need another designer destroying that image they spent waaaay too much money to build. Look up corporate ID manuals, some places specify even how far away from the corner logos ought to be, it can get really intense.

    Just roll with it- it's frustrating, but hey, get a beer on payday and say to hell with em. We as designers provide service, just like a barista. We decide what is best, but at the end of the day, if someone wants maple syrup in their latte, the barista gives it to them. Eh, best analogy I could muster off the cuff.
  9. Nicolecat macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    I use the "Hairstylist" analogy a lot...

    You may not want to give them a mullet, but if all else fails...and they are still adamant...then they're going to get the best 'Mississippi Waterfall' you can muster. :D

    Redneck apologies.

    *No offense to Mississippi was intended
  10. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    As someone who works in the department of a corporation that actually imposes design restriction upon people, there is something to be said for a unified and consistent look across the board.

    In theory.

    In practice, people will do whatever they want, regardless of design restrictions.

    I guess it boils down to what's more important to you - playing along with the company's corporate image, or creating your own bastardized version. And frankly, there are pros and cons to doing it either way.

    Use your judgement and choose your battles.
  11. a cat *miaow* macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2007
    ... because they've probably spent thousands getting a designer to create the style in the first place. A brand is worth nothing if it doesn't have recognizability.
  12. fallingman macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2008
    if you're unlucky you can end up working on a brand with strict guidelines for years :(
  13. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2004
    Been there done that. That's why it's important to gather correct requirements before putting pen to paper. I've seen some that have EXACT measurements, colour builds. It puts a small box on the designer, but corporate needs to carry the same look and feel!

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