The Designer’s Notebook

Fingerprints and Flashbulbs at RDC


Industry News

I visited the retirement swaré for a long-time client yesterday and it was a bitter-sweet experience. It’s sad to see friends retire, but it’s good to think of the times we’ve had working together over the years.

Redpoint bids a fond adieu to Lois McPherson of Red Deer College after 22 years of admirable service. Here’s looking for the third hole in one!

The laughs and smiles at events like that are always heart warming. It’s great to hear the stories and laugh at the tribulations people have endured. I was standing listening to the account of a woman who has had a large impact on my career (mostly by booking photoshoots that require me to sprint from one end of the Centrium to the other multiple times) and I found that as I wiped the obligatory tear, I was moved by the impact each person has in their careers, communities & colleagues. I don’t think we as designers, creatives, and communications people realize what we are doing most days. We are creating visual history every day we come to work.

Lois was presented with a simple board with the four, yep – count ’em – four RDC logos on it that have existed under her watch. Those logos are a part of the history of the college. Lois has had an impact on 22 years of the 50 or so years RDC has even existed. That’s almost half. How much can you see a person of such tenure’s fingerprints on an institution like that? One could argue – everywhere. But like the good soldier, Lois stood quietly in the background at her own party.

Where are your Fingerprints?

I’ve loved being a creative. It’s taken a lot of years to realize what I contribute to the greater whole of my community though. 10 years after my first real design job, I can see where I’ve been and what I’ve affected. I’ve been drafting a bit of a retrospective of my career and haven’t been ready to populate the images it would require, but I’m astounded as I look at my fingerprints on projects and programs around Red Deer and even Alberta.

I think we all too often de-value what we do every day because it it driven by deadlines and budgets. The pressure lessens the impact of what we do has on ourselves. We are visual philanthropists. We offer our services to improve the output of a product, program or service. Except we do like to get paid, at least a little bit.

A popular safety/climbing equipment manufacturer, Petzl, has a fingerprint cast onto many plastic and metal part of their equipment. Rumour has it, the fingerprint is the founder’s. I like to think that the fingerprint is the person who designed each piece. They are proud of their contribution to their industry – proud enough to personally mark their products.

So the next time you are dying trying to meet a deadline on a drop-dead ugly brochure for a product that stinks, remember that as ugly as it is, as terrible a product it is, it still will bear your fingerprint.

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