Creatives…we’re the best, right? Art directors, designers, writers—we make pretty things. We write eloquent things. We help you proofread your wedding invitation.
However, fellow creative, I have some disturbing news. For every creative who is raising the roof to our collective awesomeness, there’s a creative friend/loved one rolling her eyes REALLY hard.
Ugh, malcontents, am I right? They’re probably just jealous because they don’t know how to design a beautiful brochure or write a pithy eblast.
Or they’re still mad about the time we ruined dinner because we were fixated on the restaurant’s use on Papyrus on the menu. Or when we made them rewind a bad commercial so we could fully articulate our annoyance with it. Or when we wrinkled our nose at their niece’s baby announcement because the kerning was off.
Let’s face it, creatives—some of the qualities that make us great writers and designers can also make us pretty annoying to be around. We’re picky. We’re persnickety. We notice the thousands of marketing messages that bombard us every day, while others blissfully ignore them LIKE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO.
As a penance for our oft-annoying ways, I have decided to catalog the five worst things about being friends with a creative. We’re sorry, friends and family. We’ll try to do better.
1. Endless complaints about critiquing of bad marketing and design.
We’re sorry, we can’t help it that the world is filled with so many bad commercials, ugly direct mailers, confusing signs and illogical promotions. We probably can refrain from endless rants about these hideous and confusing monstrosities, though.
I am notorious for yelling at commercials that don’t connect to the brand or just don’t make sense. Recent targets of my righteous ad anger include:
The Bud Light commercials that claim “we’ll never know if we can affect the outcome of a game.” (Yes we will. We can’t.)
The one Allstate “Mayhem” commercial where the flag falls onto a driver’s windshield. This commercial prompted an in-depth analysis of just how terrible of a driver you’d have to be to smash into the guardrail. You’re on a straight road. Just keep going straight and brake. DON’T veer wildly in the direction of the guardrail that was visible less than five seconds ago.
The AT&T Uverse commercials that pretend people actually go through the hassle of moving their entire TV setup because one component is now wireless. Yeah, that’s what was holding me back from moving the TV to the garage. There’s absolutely no other cables and wires connected to the TV, and it’s not heavy or anything.
I’m sure this is almost as annoying as the way I complain through every single episode of The Newsroom. (I’m sorry, Sorkin. That stupid Sex and the City bus video would not have gone viral!!!)
2. Rampant perfectionism.
We’re trained to make everything just so: the perfect alignment, the perfect spacing between letters, the perfect color scheme. A small error, like an en-dash where an em-dash should be, will give us nightmares for weeks. So it’s no surprise that our work perfectionism can bleed over into the rest of our life. And it’s the worst.
BatesMeron designer Todd recently annoyed the bejeezus out of his dining companion because of this perfectionism run amuck.
“We went to a restaurant for dinner, and I noticed that all the frames weren’t lined up perfectly straight. And they could have easily been lined up straight with a chalk line! Simple, simple fix, and it pissed me off to the very, very end.”
3. Desire to buy inessential items because of their branding.
On the flip side of #1, on the rare occasions when we like the branding or marketing of a product, we have an intense reaction. We must have it. It’s beautiful. It’s everything.
This can be devastating to a household’s finances. But—you’ll always have the coolest mint tins, cleaning products, shower curtains and snack foods!
4. Bizarre notes to self.
Creatives are taught to write down their ideas, wherever and whenever they come. After all, you can’t control when the inspiration for a great campaign will strike!
However, this habit also leads to not-so-good and not-so-important ideas being recorded. Woe betide the friend or loved one that comes upon these bewildering notes on our bedside tables—better have the number for the psychologist ready.
This is a real “reminder to self” I felt the need to record in the middle of the night:
Don’t get it? Me neither.
5. Need to proofread
This one is more particular to the writers of the bunch, but it’s still really annoying. We feel compelled to proofread everything—text messages, love notes, your excited email update about your promotion. We will grimace at your poor punctuation. We will judge you for your use of the wrong “there.”
Yes, we should be able to recognize the difference between an important marketing piece and a casual communication. We should be able to focus on the content of your message. But…but…the misspellings!
Authentic Gchat conversation between me and my boyfriend:
i guess thats how he buys his porches
Friends, parents, significant others, siblings—we’re sorry. We’re sorry that we yell at defenseless billboards. We’re sorry that we spent two hours trying to hang a single picture.
Thanks for putting up with our creative eccentricities. In return, we will help you redo your resume with the bare minimum of complaints.
But while we’re on the subject of annoying…there’s some things you non-designers and non-writers do that grind our gears. And we’d like to share our grievances, too. Next time…the creatives strike back!
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