I had a really feel good poem I wanted to write based on a dream last night. It will have to wait. I found myself very upset this morning and I need to clear my emotions to feel better again.
This morning I discovered that the sign I drew up for the clinic was completely different upon installation.
It was explained to me that the one chiropractor had dropped the ball and the other decided to take over and have his significant other redo it all together.
I wasn’t so upset because it was redone by his girlfriend, that’s typical thinking with your penis response to Get-R-Done mentality. Fastest solution, and bonus it’ll make my girl feel good. Whatever, boys will be boys.
What I was pissed over is that both chiropractors sat with me and answered a gaggle of questions that I asked to make sure it was a good readable sign that met the needs of the clinic as a whole. The chiro that took over apparently forgot or didn’t care that I had done that, because the finished sign is not only unreadable from any significant distance, but snubs some of the practitioners in the clinic. That is what pissed me off. Maybe that wasn’t the intent, but that is definitely what came across.
But hey I’m just a dumb massage therapist right?! Nevermind that I have 2 years of actual work experience in graphic design having done hundreds of business signs and tee-shirts both of which readability is a huge concern. I left graphic design, not because I wasn’t good at it and got fired. No, I left because wages were too low and during the summer I worked 60 to 70 hour weeks and winter would only be 25 to 30. It wasn’t a good combo.
Now I simply don’t know: maybe the GF is also a graphic artist, but by the looks of the finished sign she has never done design for signage. I would have checked on that, or at least remembered the conversation where I asked all the myriad of questions. If she hadn’t done signs he could simply have said to her “the other designer brought up these things as concerns, maybe we can do something to check and make sure they are accounted for”. That way his girl could still have gotten the ego boost and a decent sign still could have been accomplished. The sign that is now up would have been a mostly okay business card or letter head or website header, but not a full scale outdoor sign. As for the mostly, I will get into that more in a few.
First, the sign was originally a discussion as an addition to current signage to catch more attention from traffic. It was requested to have some color to gain attention. Originally, it was just going to be one sign and thus needed to match what was already in place. I offered to use the existing logo for the color pop, but pointed out that for cost reasons it would be best to turn it from gradient fill to flat color. Both chiro’s initially agreed.
Next, I can easily tweak any design I do, so if speed was a concern I could have had quick turn around. Additionally, once a decision to redo all the signage was made, that too would have been a quick adjustment- copy, paste, resize to fit, add or remove text as necessary. At that point congruency only needs accomplished between the current edit and resized versions, so if a new font had been desired that too was a quick adjustment. On the original most of my time was devoted to rebuilding the logo as 1 flat color, but shit happens, if you changed your mind just let me know. It simply feels like a bit of a slap in the face that my work and knowledge on the subject was completely disregarded and ignored.
So here is the gist of what the final sign looks like.
Like I said, it’s a decent layout if the printed material is close to your face. But when your goal is supposedly to claim passing cars, you’ve completely failed. All of the fonts could have been larger and more bold, but especially the acupuncture line.
Here’s the deal, from years of experience and education I know how to tell if something is readable at a distance. The easiest would have been just ask me. But, you could have said “I’d really like to get in good with my girlfriend by letting her do this, do you have any tips?” I would have replied with the following. Put the text full screen on the computer, set your monitor brightness to the max to simulate a sunny day, then step back at least 10 feet and see if you can read it. If not, it’s not readable to passing cars. The further away you can get the better, because that would give a driving car more time to notice, read, and process the information. As it is, the installed sign is barely legible across the street.
Now, where I continue my upset is over the way the font size prioritizes the modalities. As a business owner and one that has dreams of having a clinic even better than this one, I see immediately how this sign snubs other practitioners. This version is saying I have the PhD, so I’m more important. However, you wouldn’t own a business with multiple practitioners if it didn’t benefit you. Every practitioner helps pay the bills and without them you would flounder, everything would be on your lonely PhD ass to pay for and keep open.
When you have multiple services, it is to catch a wide array of needs. So the person driving past with an aching back, but who might be wary of chiropractic, could still note massage therapy and schedule with the LMT’s. The guy that just talked to his sister in Maine who told him she was wary of acupuncture but tried it and it did wonders, would maybe see the sign and call and find out more info.
This sign is more akin to if Target did this:
Obviously that would be a huge costly error, underselling their other products. That is why Target and Walmart call themselves “super centers”.
AND I never put my two cents worth in on any other aspect. Like when I did the design I wondered if there was any intent for additional locations or franchises in the future. If there had been, a well placed colon would have done wonders, and enabled those kinds of thoughts and plans to be a potential reality. I also had thought about possibility of expansion and adding other services and had contemplated layout options for being able to easily add other modalities. I never said anything, just did what the consus request was.
So yeah, my business mind saw broader perspective, potentials, and ramifications of decisions being made. It is partly from my experience in design and collegiate training, and partly from my real world experience as a self-employed massage therapist. I could have done amazing things. I could have simply helped them avoid this costly fail. But when those with letters behind their name disregard anyone with less education it’s their own loss. At this point the clinic now has several upset staff members that don’t like confrontation, so the downside is knowing that if any of them suddenly have better offers the clinic could shrink quickly. I even had that thought myself, knowing my skills are not respected in the way I deserve, and that’s design or massage.
May you have better days and know your skills are honored and respected. May you see your work as mattering. May you know how to take good advice when it is available. May you know how to meet your desires without offending those around you. May you see the broader perspective in a variety of ways and sense the best decision for all elements. May you have less costly mistakes. May you honor those around you for their skills and knowledge regardless of how many years they spent in school. May you make good decisions in business so that you can work less and make more. May you know that God supports and guides you if you let it flow.
Siva Hir Su