The difficult thing about being a graphic designer is that a lot of your work never sees the light of day. When you work at an agency, you’re not just pitching to a client, but generally pitching against several other designers on the same project — your design might not even make it in front of the client. And even when it does, there’s nothing to prevent the client from taking a project in-house or canceling it entirely.
Here are a few project I’ve worked on recently that failed to launch.
This logo concept was for an All-Star baseball game held in Fort Wayne at the new Tincaps stadium, so I incorporated the Tincaps logo into a stylized Fort Wayne skyline. I think they didn’t like that the logo was partially obscured (even though it’s obvious whose logo it is) or that I subtly red-shifted the linework to better blend with the skyline. It’s not my best work ever, but I do like the typography and the little star in “All Star.”
In my experience, nearly every client expects you to work for cheap (or free), and this is especially true when pitching to a new client. In those situations, you want to impress the client enough that they’ll hire you, but guard against racking up a lot of hours for a paycheck that will never come.
This billboard concept was for a B&Y pitch to the Fort Wayne International Airport. We weren’t supposed to spend a lot of hours on it, so I opted to let a humorous tagline do the heavy lifting, with a simple design and color scheme backing it up. (And if you haven’t seen Airplane, quit your job immediately and go watch it.)
This pair of logo concepts was for a race to benefit literacy entitled “Feel the Learn.” I chose to use a lot of fire imagery (tying in with the original Burn wording of the phrase) and tried to keep things fun — we didn’t want the usual lame-o event t-shirts as the end product. Unfortunately, this year’s race was postponed due to lack of sponsors, so hopefully I’ll get to pitch these again next year!
Persistence and perseverance are a big part of what being a designer is all about, and they are lessons I’ve certainly learned the hard way. Ah well, that’s how the business works — just shrug it off and move on to the next project!