Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where this industry went wrong

Yesterday, because I had an awful lot of words to write, I decided to leave my glasses at home. As a result, I spent the day squinting at my computer screen as if it were the actual sun.

Oh how I yearned for yesteryear. You see there was a time, a happier time, when hacks like myself would simply handwrite their chosen clich├ęs for that day and give their scribblings to a secretary who would then type it up.

Which made me wonder, whatever happened to these typing angels? Were they all made redundant with the advent of the personal computer?

Well, a little research was very revealing. What in fact happened was, once their typing skills were no longer needed, these secretaries were increasingly asked to draw up the writer’s ideas.

Over the years, this role slowly evolved into what’s known today as Art Director.

‘So how did we end up with the shower of prima donnas and halfwits we have today?’ I hear you cry.

Well, as the first generation of secretaries retired, new art directors were recruited from art school under the misguided assumption they’d be better at drawing.

This had many drawbacks. Not only did this new crop bring with them massive egos and mediocre drawing skills, they also lacked the basic skills required to do their job – namely, making tea and answering the phone.

Which goes a long way to explaining the current malaise in the London ad industry. Whereas in other countries, industry institutions have addressed the issue and retrained art directors to make decent tea, D&AD has persisted with these ridiculous ‘art director workshops’ on typography or whatever.

As if that matters! Art direction really isn’t that complicated. Just get the photographer to take a nice picture then stick the headline in massive in a nice readable font like Times New Roman or Arial. Done.

Now go and make the tea and get it RIGHT this time.


  1. Hang on, wasn't it the secretaries who used to write the copy? Art Directors over the years have rather smartly restricted the dying 'text teams' to generating maybe one or two words. Which if my experience is anything to go by, is about their limit.

    Decent Art Directors are now evolving with an ability to write words too. Thus long copy will soon be provided by secretaries, or clients, and good solid convincing headlines will be crafted by the evolved Art Director V2 – doing away with old 'text teams' altogether.

    Phah! What utter codswallop (now there's a word). I presume this blog is like a release for you in this new age?

    P.S. Must catch up for a drink again soon. You can then wax lyrical about your gripe over a real ale instead of hiding behind this bloggers' facade.


  2. show us some of your work then mr real men write long copy...

  3. White, no sugar, if you're making, AD

  4. this is a funny post. im an AD.

    and the only problem I have is that times new roman and arial are not readable or nice. you should remember that sir.

  5. Just a couple of typos RMWLC:

    "get the (photographer) to (take) a nice picture"

    (getty) (upload)