Rejected / by Rebecca Tillett

I don't often blog about my design for a multitude of ambiguous reasons, I suppose. Most notably, probably, is that it's my bread and butter, and also because it seems unlikely that anyone outside the audience of the piece I've designed would find it particularly interesting.

But sometimes, as a professional graphic designer, the knowledge of all the pieces I've designed that have and will never see the light of day because the client didn't share your vision or embrace something maybe a little bit edgier than they're used to can feel absolutely defeating. And this certainly isn't an issue exclusive only to me. All graphic designers, and in fact all creative professionals that have worked in the industry understand this struggle. Everyone doing something creative to make a living is an artist. Whether you're a writer or a videographer or a photographer or graphic designer or an interior designer, it doesn't matter, you put a little piece of your heart into everything your create — unless you've grown bitter or burned out or are simply tired of the fight. And I can undoubtedly attest to have fallen down that dark hole a few times in my career but thankfully, I always seem to heave myself out (which typically requires big life shifts, in my case anyway, but moving on...). It's extremely rare you meet someone in a creative profession for the money (I mean like, Sasquatch rare), because it's simply not there. We choose to forgo a comfortable lifestyle in the noble, and perhaps sometimes naïve pursuit of doing what we love, wrongfully assuming that we will indeed get to do what we love. And it's true that sometimes, less often than not, I do get to design and create what I love. It's true that every now and then I get a client that trusts me and has faith in my abilities and aesthetic, a client that wants something new, fresh, interesting and maybe even something they would have never considered, a client that gives me a little direction and then says "GO!" But that's so rare it's depressing. An old boss of mine used to always say "Everyone's an art director!" and it's true — well, it's kinda true anyway. Everyone thinks they're an art director and when everyone thinks they're an art director, it surely makes someone like myself ponder why I went to school for such a thing in the first place, because apparently I'd have more creative power to yield as a client than a designer. With that said, I suppose that means the only thing I really went to school for was to become proficient in using the programs needed to design, which doesn't make me a designer at all, it makes me a production worker. And there's a big difference. Really, there is.

So without further adieu and in effort to salvage a few chunks of my heart before they're tossed in the compost pile, below are two booklet cover designs I recently created for a client at work who deemed them "inappropriate" and instead opted for the safe and boring option. The option with the smiling graduates and the simple type treatment, the boring, snooze-inducing, straight-to-the-point-because-clearly-we're-allergic-to-fun-and-creativity-option. This is for 21 year-olds, after all and everyone knows those guys hate fun, right?