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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

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Professional Visual Communications

By vocation, my current job title is Graphic Designer. Unless you're in the advertising, marketing or publishing industry that really doesn’t mean anything. A graphic designer is a professional visual communications expert. In other words, one who marries copy (text) with graphics (photos, illustrations or other creative solutions) to present an image which communicates a response (or call to action). A graphic designer does not just sit in front of computer all day and play Tetris nor does a graphic designer merely print business cards (they don't--printers do).
Before I enrolled in the university where I studied graphic design, I had no idea what it meant to be a commercial artist or graphic designer. There were two options on the student application if I wanted to pursue a career in art: fine arts and commercial arts. The application form listed the credit hours next to each major and I chose the one with least credits: commercial arts. I soon realized that I really enjoyed graphic design. In part, because I like books and magazines. There is something about graphic design that is tangible, sort of an art object that you can actually handle.
I am in the process of completing an insert card that is bound into a magazine (you know those awful cards that fall out of The New Yorker or Newsweek when you're flipping through the latest issue). There is nothing really glamorous about these cards. They contain a message informing the reader of a special subscription offer. Also included: an image of a stack of magazines suggesting to the reader that they will receive a lot product for a minimum cost. The insert card provides a place to hand write the subscriber's name and address and return to the circulation department.
Like I said, it's not a very exciting job. But here's what I like about graphic design. Three million of these cards will be printed and inserted into this magazine in the next six months. Of those three million cards, somewhere between 1200 to 5000 cards will be returned to the circulation department. That means 1200 to 5000 people saw my art (or marketing message) and responded by handwriting their message and returning the cards. The irony of this communication is that they have no idea who I am. Nor do I read all 1200 to 5000 of their names. But anonymously we communicate.

  1. Blogger woody | 10:08 PM, July 30, 2004 |  

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Blogger woody | 10:11 PM, July 30, 2004 |  

    Belay my previous calculation. The proper ratio would be 1.7 per thousand and not 1.7 per centum, as I had noted. Good thing I'm not an accountant.

  3. Blogger woody | 10:13 PM, July 30, 2004 |  

    The numbers bother me a bit. Five thousand out of three million is (hang on while I get my calculator) roughly 1.7 percent. Of course you communicated anonymously. If they had known who you were, and were not themselves entirely apathetic, thousands more would have sent you a handwritten request to "cease and desist." Just kidding. But shouldn't we try to focus our effort in those areas where we have the greatest probability for success? Any of us may do as requested for an employer or client, but working for ourselves, we rarely have the luxury of those same deep pockets.

  4. Blogger mike | 1:16 AM, July 31, 2004 |  

    i think you should write all those nice people thank you notes.

  5. Blogger joy | supersiblings.com | 1:58 PM, December 30, 2005 |  

    matt, i like the new header image(s).

    thanks for the continued sidebar linkage
    i'm still fixing mine since a redesign - missing much

    2 questions:

    1. have you moved / where are you now? (geographical city/state-wise)


    2. will you email me your most recent email address? mine's still joy-karagraphy-com

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