DFDesign: bright ideas for design

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As a professional marketer, I was quick to recognise the power of social media in general and Twitter and Facebook in particular.

But here’s the thing…

To me, Facebook is a tool: a means to connect with prospective buyers, sellers and trading partners. And, maybe, a handy way to catch up with old friends (real ones; as in: people I’ve actually met!).

And that’s it.

Increasingly, however, it is also being used as a platform for multi-player gaming. And that’s fine too. But it’s not for me.

Which means the myriad messages I receive daily – inviting me to join otherwise intelligent adults in their quests to become virtual farmers, crime bosses and (most recently) gnome kings – are about as welcome as a student protester at a British Legion AGM.

To paraphrase the late, great Frank Zappa: if it makes you happy, and it doesn’t cause a murder, have at it! But please: don’t involve me in your insanity.

Fact is, if I wanted to run a farm, I’d buy land. If I wanted to head up a crime syndicate, I’d move to Sicily.

And if I’d wanted to become a gnome king… well, I’m not sure exactly what I’d do. But I imagine it would involve Huxley-esque quantities of recreational narcotics.

Oh, and if I wanted more friends, I’d go to the pub.


30 Second Interview

Martin Bates

My favourite ad is: My next one.

A winning smile: Winning? Didn't realise it was a competition....

I am always happy: See below.

My favourite journey: Sitting on the circle line, watching the people

I only lie: in..... on Sundays

I admire: anyone who can truly and honestly consider themselves successful and/or happy in life.

The words or phrases I most overuse are: 'no worries'.

My greatest talent is: watching pointless films and TV shows.

My biggest regret: not being a professional musician

If I was a biscuit: a freakish cross between a custard crème, bourbon and jammy dodger


worth a click...

  • July 2013

    "That’s good, but highlight it so it’s eye-catching. Just remember, the idea is to highlight it without drawing attention."

    Clients From Hell

    Click here for their website

    I did some work for a televisual design company that wanted to print a promotional brochure. I was tasked with the project because I come from a print background, and I was reporting to the head of design for the company. I came up with some designs with some images grabbed off the reel.


    Client: This is great, but the images that you’ve picked…well, they’re not very punchy.

    Me: Would you like to me pick some other images?

    Client: Oh no, these are perfect, it’s just that on-screen they look so vibrant.

    Me: Well, that’s because the images use backlit RGB and printed media uses CMYK, so they’re obviously going to look more muted.

    Client: What if we printed RGB?

    Me: Same result. Red is just a mix of magenta and yellow, green is cyan and yellow and blue is cyan with a touch of magenta.

    Client: What if we printed using fluorescent inks? Like used a fluorescent red, a fluorescent green and a fluorescent blue,

    Me: You’ll end up with brown, or something weird and ugly. You cannot create backlit colours on paper.

    Client: This is going to work, I cannot believe that someone hasn’t come up with this before.

    Me: It won’t work.

    Client: Trust me, get it done. Get a test printed, you’ll see.

    Me: So you want me to split RGB into three process special colors before I print them as plates? It’s going to cost a lot of money and it will look shit.

    Client: Do it.

    I phone a printer who I have used countless times because they will print anything and are great problem solvers. The print guy on the end of the phone laughs, but says he’ll only do it if the client speaks to him directly to give him approval. The test goes ahead and we get sent back a muddy, dull image with unreadable text.

    Me: Sorry, but print just doesn't work like that

    Client: You did the separations wrong.

    Me: The printer did them.

    Client: He doesn’t understand television.