Something utterly strange happened to me Thursday at work —something I would characterize as a random unexpected occurrence which left me feeling a bit mystified.
A piece of creative I had worked on the week previous for a [unnamed] client’s ongoing digital marketing campaign, came back to our team with zero revisions—as in, don’t change a thing, it’s perfect.
My project manager was utterly floored, dripping with giddiness and laughter. “Wow!” he said, “you’ve done it”, [this is] “really awesome; fantastic work Darryl!” After my initial euphoria had subsided I thought to myself, hmm… this is a bit perplexing. I was actually anticipating one or two rounds of the usual rudimentary changes with this [unnamed] client—be it copy tweaks, colour, make the logo…ehem, you know…, or the commonly neglected trademark legal/copyright symbol addition. But nope, not on this day. In this particular case the client had given us 100% sign-off and approval on the creative work I had meticulously prepared early last week, much to my delight.
When this occurs—and it has happened to me several times before in the past—it’s a nice little boost for the old ego not to mention a boon for the project as a whole.
Maybe on this specific project, with this client, and these particular account executives, everything just magically clicked. Then I wonder, was this maybe just a freak instance—after all, it doesn’t happen all that often. Quite possibly on this occasion a looming deadline has forced the client’s hand into hastily approving creative to meet an overly-ambitious launch date. Or maybe, just maybe, on this day my creative was just bang-on! I don’t know.
While I’d love to think the ‘first-round-bang-on-creative-thing’ is my über-speciality, it’s not. And I’d be kidding myself for thinking I —or any other creative pro for that matter—could realistically expect to deliver such creative work to a client on a regular basis. Acceptance of creative/design solutions at face value, sans revisions, simply does not happen very often—if ever—in our industry.
Sooner or later we all inevitably encounter a project in which the revisions seem to spiral uncontrollably beyond our grasp, setting forth a path of destructive forces that conspire to undermine the integrity of our creative contributions. Amidst these unfortunate circumstances our once pure ideas and well-intentioned concepts are broken down into a series of fragmentary, less coherent elements.
If it sounds as though I’m dwelling on the subject of revisions, well no, this is actually the first time I’ve actually felt compelled to explore this topic at length on my blog. Truthfully I feel this is a subject worthy of critical discussion if we are to effectively manage the sometimes negative consequences revisions can have on our work.
In part 2 of this post I want to examine some of the tangible factors influencing project revisions—creative, technical or otherwise in nature. Like many other creatives, designers and developers, I am curious to understand what motivates the revision process and what we can do to mitigate the apparent side-effects.
So what do you think? Where do revisions come from? —lack of communication—a poorly written brief—politics—personal subjectivity? I would love to hear your thoughts.