Friday, July 28, 2006

Sometimes, It's Not Art

Click me and I get bigger.The eternal battle of Sales vs. Creative rages on.

A long, long time ago, artists who wanted to make a living with their art had to find patrons. The noblemen and women would commission the artists to paint the family portrait or write the play that ridiculed their rivals. A subversive symbol inserted here, a knowing line tossed in there. The artists got paid, the rich royals got what they wanted, and everyone was happy. Few were the artists or writers who found the patron willing to say, “Do whatever you want, man! Here’s some money. Go wild!”

Today, the artist’s patron is the client. We have to do what they want, insert the call to action and swallow our artistic pride. Sometimes the “sale” really is the thing, and if your art isn’t ringing the register you probably won’t have a patron for very much longer. Sure, there are some of you in the big shops who get to play with big budgets and make some fantastic works of art, but for most of us toiling in the trenches, our clients want to see ROI. (I hate that term.) We fight with the Sales Folks who want to see bigger phone numbers, bigger fonts, louder colors, crazier calls to action. And if the work fails to bring in revenue, we hear about it.

There is a balance to be struck, and a good salesperson (unless they’re from the Direct Mail School) knows that art is oftentimes what catches the eye of the potential customer. And unless the modern artist has that rare and giant client who cares only that people saw their ad and remembered it, she’s got to be willing to meet Sales halfway.

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