Typography, advertising and favoured clients

Typographica has run a design nugget that hits upon a pet peeve of mine: the tendency of graphic designers and ad agencies to run with tried, true and often boring formats and designs. Their interview with Phil Martin, the designer of a number of fresh variations on older typefaces, prompted this comment about a favoured client.

toohot.gif ... “It’s too Hot to cook” is as nice a design as I have ever done. It was an ad I did for Dallas Power & Light. Oh, what memories. Every time I had a new face ready, it would become the look of my next DP&L ad. It gave Martin Studios a city-wide showing of a look you could get only by hiring Martin Studios ...

[There's] somebody else to thank for helping me become a type designer: Ray Ward, the DP&L company spokesman and ad man, gave me free range to give the ads any look I chose. [One of Martin's sample books] shows ten DP&L graphics!

I admit many corporate communicators may not have the leeway to allow this sort of creative input. Branding guides and corporate messaging are an important part of defining and sustaining a corporate identity. Graphic designers, however, are still an important part of the creative process - and if they don't volunteer new ideas on an old theme, should be pushed and prodded to earn their creative premium.

Otherwise, I can use the corporate PowerPoint template and Photoshop to set up my new ad.

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