Put down your weapons. Fight together with art.

More than once I’ve observed or been involved in the classic battle between a designer’s creative instincts and talents and the marketer’s guardianship of brand, strategy and goals.

I’m more than hands with Photoshop skills.
They’re crushing my ability to create with all these restrictions.
We’ve gone through 4 drafts and they finally like it, but it’s the worst it’s ever been.

He keeps doing things outside of our typical look, this won’t work for our audience.
She didn’t change the design how we talked about.
I just need it to work for our audience and he doesn’t get it.

This frustrates me for more than one reason, but the primary issue I see is this―designers and marketers fit together like musicians and producers, like models and photographers. Designers bring to life the visual communication marketers need to reach the right audiences with the right message, developing compelling pieces that at times exceed all dreamed of possibilities. Marketers give designers a creative outlet and purpose to work toward, enabling them to reach the world with their skill and craft at capacities not otherwise possible. Without each other they are staggeringly out of luck.

This reminds me of a quote I really been liking lately: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” (Google tells me Aristotle said this. When in doubt always ask Google.)

This truth applies to more circumstances than we tend to acknowledge―designers and marketers being no exception. Together they can move more people, accomplish more good, topple more misconceptions, and color the world more beautifully than they can alone.

With a nod to the beautifully interdependent relationship designers and marketers now and will always inhabit, I propose an agreement of sorts.

I, the marketer, faithfully commit to honoring the creative instincts and skills of the designers I work with. When I hire a designer with the intention of creating a truly unique, compelling project, all my actions and behaviors will be guided by intentions to utilize the full capability of that designer to create the right visual message for my audience, free from any unnecessary constraints. I will not see the designer as mere “hands to guide,” but rather as an important part of the collaborative process. I will disclose any and all pertinent information to help guide the designer. When I give feedback it will be in the form of logical reasoning, motives and an invitation to collaborate for a better solution:  “I don’t think this will work for our audience because ________, so can we try ________, or maybe find another way? What do you suggest?” I promise to trust.

I, the designer, promise to honor the marketer’s considerable experience and history with the organization, brand, and audiences I am designing for. When I work on a project, I will give full credit to the marketer as an authority on the history and future of the organization my work represents and the needs of the audiences I hope to move. I will strive to ask the right questions―helping me understand the uncharted territory I am adventuring into, and using the marketer as my guide. I commit to bringing all my tools and creative capacity to the table, consistently striving to deliver visual communication that effectively accomplishes its purpose while moving the audience with my artistic vision. I will set guidelines up front that help guide the marketer and establish an atmosphere of open communication. I promise to trust.

Amen.

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