Every single day, I get emails from aspiring writers asking my advice about how to become a writer, and here is the only advice I can give: Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.
Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself.
In his book Graphic Design as a Second Language, Bob Gill gives a peek behind the curtain of what it’s like trying to get a film poster approved. Below is his experience designing the poster for the Norman Jewison 1979 film “…And Justice for All” starring Al Pacino.
An ad for a film with an ironic title - that justice is not for all, but only for the rich. Solution: justice defiled.
The producers hated it. They felt it wasn’t commercial.
I got the model back, this time in a whore’s outfit.
Solution: justice can be bought. Again, the producers hated it.
"Okay," I said, "what do you really want?"
"Don’t give us justice," they said, "give us Al. Al Pacino sells tickets. Not justice."
Eventually I made another presentation.
Needless to say, they hated that too. And then, they got rid of me.
The final poster, by an uncredited agency, can be seen here.
Milton Glaser on the “big agency model”.
"If you’re trying to impress a client and justify the enormous fees that you charge, you want to have a good, as they say, a good front. Very much related to how you dress in the course of the day. The idea of coming to work in business suit with a tie is reprehensible to me. But so is the idea of public display as a means of enlarging your authority. In any case, the form always comes out of the intention. And the intention here is to impress or intimidate by the use of space. I don’t have that idea as part of my practice."
No matter how much experience you have, the blank page is still terrifying.Saul Bass
We are shut up in schools & college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years & come out at last with a bellyful of words & do not know a thing. We cannot use our hands or our legs or our eyes or our arms.Ralph Waldo Emerson
Killed thing for They Live from late last year. Still like this idea.
I haven’t looked for new business in a very long time. It’s probably a mistake, ‘cause I certainly am not, you know, pushing people away with a stick. But when you’re supposed to be such a big shot, it’s very inelegant to knock on somebody’s door and say, ‘Please, my children need shoes.’Bob Gill, in a conversation with Steve Heller from last year.
I am and always will be the optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes and the dreamer of improbable dreams.
The theatrical one-sheet I designed for Drafthouse Film’s release of Borgman.
We call a work beautiful when it supplies the virtues we are missing and we dismiss as ugly one that forces on us moods or motifs that we feel either threatened or already overwhelmed by.Alain de Botton