Overdue Casualties of the Recession

Over the last year, a lot of the way we promote ourselves has changed. The latest casualty in this transition is Creative Hotlist, a paid service provided by Communication Arts.

As you probably remember from previous posts, I’ve whittled my periodical subscriptions from six down to two: HOW and Step Inside Design. Other than the recession itself, there are numerous reasons for this decision. Ultimately the choice was made based on one simple word: value. Read more

AIGA New York – ERA404 gets a new barker!

Fig. 01: AIGA barker on the ERA404 site

A little while back, Tina Roth-Eisenberg (known far and wide under the blog moniker “SwissMiss”) tweeted about an extra ticket to see the AIGA NY event with Ji Lee speaking about inspiration and the nexxus between gratification from work and gratification from personal projects.  For those that don’t know, Ji is one of a dozen or so creative directors at Google Creative Labs and the father of The Bubble Project.

The ticket, provided by the generous and inimitable Cameron Koczon, of Fictive Kin, opened up a world of creative thinkers, social drinkers and networking opportunities for design and development. We’ve had the honor of working with Ms. Roth-Eisenberg on various projects, including the MoMA staff site and I’ve followed SwissMiss‘s career for a half decade now, as well as the guest speaker and other participants in the event. And while many in the audience appeared to be students or those embarking on new careers, it was refreshing to see so many people passionate about design. Working in the vacuum that is ERA404 can sometimes feel devoid of creative ideas, especially when members of a project are on the other side of the globe.

So, part of this year’s resolution was to create a stronger bond with members of the creative community in NYC and, with four days to spare, we joined the AIGA. The last professional organization I’ve been a part of was back in college (the American Center for Design‘s “Students in Design” and our chapter’s “Design Works” student organization) as well as participating in the Grand Rapids Area Advertising Foundation (GRAAF)’s annual “Addy Awards“, in which a colleague and I won a Citation of Excellence.

It is my secondary hope that, just as being members of NYPHP as brought us design opportunities among the developer network, being a member of the AIGA will bring us development opportunities among the designer network. First and foremost, however, we’re glad to be part of such a prestigious and reputable organization that shares membership with some of my greatest heroes in the design world: Paula Scher, Michael Beirut, Stefan Sagmeister, to name a few.

What are your experiences with the AIGA, or other professional organizations? I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!

Win without Pitching

I happened upon Swiss-Miss‘s site, which occurs regularly when I’m seeking inspiration of biding a 5-minute break between projects or calls, and fell upon/inlove with “The Win Without Pitching Manifesto“. Here’s a sampling, but you’ll need to read the full twelve proclamations to truly appreciate it:

The forces of the creative industry are aligned against the artist. These forces pressure him to give his work away for free as a means of proving his worthiness of the assignment. Clients demand it. Industry associations deride it but offer alternatives that are just as costly and commoditizing. Agencies resign themselves to it. Search consultants, business development consultants and out-sourced business development services firms all earn their living by perpetuating it. And business development conferences put the worst offenders from all sides on stage and have them preach about how to get better at it.

It is a mistake to look to the industry to deal with this issue. Speculative creative – free pitching – will only be beaten one agency at a time, with little help and much loud opposition from the creative industry itself. This battle is but a collection of individual struggles, the single artist or creative services firm against the many allied forces of the status quo.

But while collectively the battle may seem lost, some individual firms are fighting and winning. What follows are twelve proclamations of a Win Without Pitching agency – a manifesto for firms that have made the difficult business decisions and transformed themselves and the way they go about getting new business. These firms have resisted the industry-wide pressure to tow the free-pitching line; they have gone from order-takers to expert advisors and then forged a more satisfying and lucrative way of getting and doing business.