Seriously…where did it go? It’s not a rhetorical question. I really don’t know where it went. One day there we were, sketching mock-ups on an art board, providing hand renderings to clients and the next thing you know, we’re presenting full colour, near complete ‘ concepts‘!

What the bloody hell happened!

The answer? Computers. That’s right. That evil technology so many Baby Boomers in our industry hate with a passion. And why wouldn’t they? Hasn’t it removed the craft? The imagination? The mystic?

Well to be honest I’m a little split on the whole deal. The event of the computer and the range of high spec software available for our industry is in many ways a god send. The quality of work that can now be obtained is enormous and in many cases beyond what was possible in the ‘ stick and paste‘ days.

However, I must admit to being sceptical about whether or not we’ve lost the craft that is design.

In any case , that is blog for another day. Today the question is, how this phenomenon has affected the client. In my mind, the impact has been huge! The agency/client relationship of old was based on a foundation of trust. The agency took a concept to client that was just that… a concept. It may have been hand coloured at best but more than likely a simple hand rendered sketch would be the extent of the visual aspect, the rest was imagination.

On approval of this concept, the agency would go to work on creating the dream. How the landscape has changed.

Today clients expect that what is presented in concept is the real deal. A true life representation of the final product. Computers have allowed us to make things look so real that it is often hard for a client to comprehend why something on screen in the boardroom can’t just be pumped out of a laser printer and onto there desks by morning!

We’ve done such a good job of improving the quality and standards of our concepts and presentations that we’ve nicely painted ourselves into a corner!

The other ‘ mission impossible‘ is the fact that 9/10 we still have a vast amount of work to do on the artwork before it is ready to be produced. Tweaks, adjustments, final measurements – what we term as finished art – is still required along with ensuring that everything is in perfect order for the end product to replicate the concept.

Added complications of varying stocks and the colour reproduction along with various screen colours across every monitor only adds to the joy!
( See my previous blogs on these subjects by clicking the links above.)

So have these damn fangled new drawing machines really made our life easier? I’m not sure. In terms of design – most definitely. What it highlights is the need for strong, clear communication and a relationship that is founded on a solid foundation of trust and honesty.

The process may have changed but the fact remains that communication is king and no matter what happens in the future, the concept will remain forever an intrinsic part of our industry.