Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Even great works of design can be ruined by committee thinking

Anatomy Of A Murder (Screenshot: Amazon)

There is one sentence guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of every graphic designer and commercial artist: “I have some suggestions to make.” That dreadful utterance usually means that a client has some ideas for “improving” a concept that a professional artist has labored over for weeks or even months. Just like that, a strong concept can be systematically weakened and watered down. Welcome to the world of “design by committee.” Writer and “all around design fan” Dom Carter decries this process in a piece for Creative Bloq. He explains:

The phrase ‘design by committee’, where lots of people chip in on an idea (often without any reason or authority), is a situation no creative director wants to find themselves in. It results in an original, eye-catching design losing its impact, becoming generic, and costing everyone a lot of time.


Graphéine, a real-life brand design agency based in France, has taken this concept to its satirical extreme with this series of images in which famous works of commercial art are augmented with fictional “client feedback.” To be fair, Graphéine admits that “clients are not always wrong.” In these cases, however, it’s clear that some great ideas could have been snuffed out in their infancy with a few well-intentioned notes. Back in 1959, for example, Saul Bass created a jazzy, minimalist poster for Otto Preminger’s thriller Anatomy Of A Murder. In this version, however, the client has some serious doubts.

Illustration: Graphéine

As an alternative, the client offers the bland, generic poster for Beneath The Darkness as an example of what a movie poster should look like, i.e., with big floating heads of the principal actors. And shouldn’t there be a QR code in the corner? Also, please add some blood splatters. This is a horror movie, right?

The client also has some suggestions for improving an iconic Bob Dylan poster. The singer isn’t black, say the notes, so the original poster is “deceptive.” Some musical notes and partner logos would help fill in all that white space. The client’s first name should be on there, too, and lose all that pink. “The target isn’t girly.”

Illustration: Graphéine

“The scariest part?” says Carter. “It’s very easy to imagine this happening in real life.”


[via Creative Bloq]

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