I think this takes the cake

The ad on the left is the July 4th ad that my former team and I produced for the 2021 year.  The ad on the right is the July 4th ad that was produced by my former employer for the 2022 year.

Now I understand that there’s little sexy and glamorous about newsprint, especially considering the world has such a collective boner about digital-this, omnichannel-that, social, influencers and other forms of marketing approaches that constant insists that the print medium is dying or already dead, but I will fight you if you tell me this to my face.

What good is your digital medium if the internet goes down?  Or you can’t connect to the wi-fi and your 5G can’t make it through the concrete and medal coliseums of the stores you’re in, needing to access the internet?  Or you catch me on a bad day and I slap your phone out of your hand and break your phone for telling me that my occupation is obsolete?  Alright then

I’ll be the first to admit that the 2021 ad isn’t necessarily mind-blowing, or remotely close to the best work that my team has ever produced.  We were still amidst pandemic-this and supply chain-that, not to mention that my team was forced to work in a program that was the equivalent of a Chevy Cavalier trying to compete with NASCARs on the track.  But compared to the ad on the right?  Suddenly the 2021 Cavalier looks like a spaceship compared to the stone and chisel produced ad in 2022.

In short, my old team was completely gutted, laid off and the company’s newsprint was outsourced to an agency in Austin, Texas; literally a week after I had my final day with the company.  I was pretty upset about it despite having dodged a massive bullet, because I still had and have a tremendous amount of care and shits to give about all the people on my old team, because there’s a ton of talent and good people there who were put into a horrible situation.

Fortunately, almost all of them have landed on their feet since, but the point remains that the old newsprint team was effectively killed, with our primary task being outsourced; in my opinion, one of the biggest professional insults to anyone who’s ever taken pride in what they do for a living.

I blame my old boss for all of this.  I’ve made no secret of the disdain, contempt and general hate I have for her, and how they were easily the #1 factor for why I decided to leave the company.  I could list of numerous things I hated about being under their thumb, but I’d be better off saving those 50,000 words for November and completing NaNoWriMo with them instead.  However, of all of the horrible shit she said, did and behaved to me that made her a horrible Bronn of a boss, I genuinely think this is the worst thing she ever did; as the title of this post says, I think this takes the cake.

This piece of outsourced shit,  the July 4th ad for 2022, is a goddamn joke.  The photo does no justice to how poor the entire ad is, because all throughout the circular are errors, alignment and consistency issues, bad crops, obviously distorted images, and zero quality control.  A hundred things I caught in a hundred seconds of scanning through it, that would never have made it past mine or any of my team’s eyes on our numerous proofing rounds.  Ancient Egyptians pounding hieroglyphics on reeds had better brand standards than this sad circular.

She killed our medium.  No matter how hard my team pushed back against evolving trends and proved our positive ROI year after year, she came in and killed us, because no team in the world can survive in the league when their own coach is deliberately and determined to kill them.

Continue reading “I think this takes the cake”

WTF is Capcom thinking with Street Fighter 6’s logo?

When I started seeing people posting about the recent Street Fighter 6 teaser, the very first thing I thought was that it was a fake and/or a joke, because there’s no way that this was going to be the logo for one of the most iconic franchises in video game history.

Ohhh, but it turned out that it really is.

Honestly, I couldn’t give two shits about the game itself, I’ve been so long out of video games in general, much less Street Fighter, that there’s a very high probability that I’ll never even play it in my lifetime.  I never played SFV once, and I only played SFIV a handful of times before I got pissed about there being a quick released SFIV champion hyper turbo or whatever new edition that made my version obsolete, so I never played it again.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I can’t sit on my pedestal and judge logos.  And SF6’s logo is fuckin’ godawful, and it really makes me wonder just what the fuck Capcom is thinking when they phoned it in and “designed’ this shitty piece of clipart and decided it to let it represent the franchise that basically made them who they are today.

I couldn’t even get home from work to point out how turrible the logo is before other sites had already sunken their teeth into the same observation, and a few have already gone as far as to call out the obvious low-effort low-key plagiarism Capcom has done in creating this “logo” that basically says all the same things that I would say.

Seriously though, this isn’t just another case of resisting change for the sake of resisting it.  Street Fighter’s general wordmark has been recognizable and iconic throughout every iteration of the series, and there are common elements and a color palette that continuously make it work no matter the number of sequels they put out.  The gritty, violent-looking delivery of brush strokes to create the words, to the signature yellow-to-orange gradient palettes used in every iteration up to SFV.

And then SF6 phones it in with this lame rip off of some Adobe clipart, and then typing out “Street Fighter” in a jersey typeface that appears to have been modified slightly so they don’t get sued to oblivion by the original font creator.  It’s a sad and insulting edition to an iconic franchise that doesn’t look like it’s real, but it is.

I know I already said that the likelihood of me ever playing SF6 isn’t very high, but I most certainly judge books by their covers, and seeing what is becoming of Street Fighter from the logo alone, would probably give me pause to give it a whirl, even if I were still avidly gaming.

What I feared might happen, happened

I’m sad.  One of my former reports from my old job texted me to let me know that they, and numerous other members of my old newsprint team from my old job were all being laid off.

This is something that I figured could eventually show up on the table, but seeing as how over the last six years I was there, I never saw, or heard of anywhere in the company that did any sort of laying off, I didn’t think that it would actually happen.

It’s funny, when I had planned on leaving the company, my ego and I had hoped that it would get a modicum of respect and acknowledgment.  I’m not saying I was ever the most important cog in the machine that was my team, but I did design the work process that kept us afloat throughout the transition into the Ford Pinto of software we were forced to use.  However, when I had announced my notice of resignation, we were already in the first week of a two-week notice from one of my production counterparts, and unbeknownst to me, my other production counterpart was a week away from announcing their two-week notice.

Suddenly, I was the Stephanie Tanner middle child of resignations, doomed to be unnoticed, and worse off, I begun feeling concerned that this power vacuum that was forming due to the departure of 3 out of 4 managers on the team was going to no longer put the team in a defensive mode until they could staff back up, but now put them at risk of being potentially liquidated, and the work outsourced.

Ever since the pandemic rose and my team specifically took some lumps throughout the last two years because the print medium isn’t as agile and adaptable as digital ones, there was concern throughout the team about the security of their jobs.  I had, honestly opined that I felt that everyone was safe, solely because of the ironic fact that we all had knowledge of the aforementioned Ford Pinto of graphic design software, so it’s not like any joe-schmoe could be hired off the street to do our jobs.  And for the last two years, in spite of how much of a pain in the ass it’s been, our team had navigated the bumpy waters of pandemic retail, and come out no worse for wear at the end of it.

But now, with the Great Resignation™ hitting our team specifically and creating such gaps in the team, I can’t say that I’m surprised to see that liquidation and outsourcing has begun.  The company as a whole clearly soured on the print medium, which was my impetus for starting to look for a new job, aside from the fact that I hated the fuck out of my boss, but none of it changed the fact that I still cared about my team and that all these talented designers all deserved better than they’ve been dealt.

I do feel a little bit of guilt that there is the possibility that my departure, along with the departure of the other managers made this happen, although I have no clue to whether or not this was always on the table in the first place regardless of if we were there or not.  But when the day is over, I still have to, and I did, put myself and my family above all else, and it turns out that I dodged an extremely close bullet.

It’s just that as an empathetic person, it kills me that people that I cared about are put in this unfortunate position.  The saving grace is that they still have nearly nine weeks notice, which gives them fairly sufficient time to begin looking for new jobs, and with the cards all out on the table, it’s not like anyone has to be discreet about it.  In fact, as long as they’re not insubordinate shitbags, all my old team that’s on the block doesn’t even really have to put up the front of being friendly or overly professional anymore, because the company is still going to rely on them to put out all the scheduled advertisements all the way up to Memorial Day.

And then they get a severance package, and fortunately the timing of it will still allow all of them to partake in the company’s semi-annual profit sharing bonuses which usually take place in March.

At this point, what I’m most curious about are the future statuses of other individuals on my old team, namely my old boss.  I don’t get the impression that they’re on the block like my old reports are, and I have this pessimistic suspicion that they probably didn’t fight very hard, nor are they remotely anything close to the type who would go down with the ship.  They have another channel under their umbrella, and I’ve long known that that one was their true passion, while my team was kind of the bastard they had to manage in order to have their role.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they in fact initiated this liquidation, because often said that their life would be peaches if they could get rid of newsprint, and could focus solely on catalog.  But these are things that I’ll never know, but the result of it all is still feeling terrible for a lot of talented designers who will soon be out of a job, and not help feeling a little bit guilty for helping push the boulder over the edge.  I don’t regret anything I’ve done in regards to seeking greener pastures before the shots were fired, but I’m still allowed to feel empathy for those I used to work with who were saddled by this unfortunate development.

I sometimes think only I can find the negative in a really great deal

So in my last bitchy dad post, I mentioned that some really great news came my way, that I couldn’t really feel happy about because I was too busy being a bitchy dad at that moment in my life.  But to any of my zero readers who read my shit with regularity might’ve seen a post a little while back that mentioned that I was in the hunt for a new job.

Well, I succeeded.  An offer came my way, that I’m 99% certain that I’m going to accept, because it’s a higher title than where I’m at now, a fairly substantial raise from what I make, and if/when the day comes when we have to occasionally go into the office, it’s actually a closer drive than my current job, and I wouldn’t have to get on a single highway.

All things considered, it’s a win in every aspect.

So why am I writing about it as if there was some sort of questionable catch?

The thing is, there really are none.  At least from most normal standards.  The only reason I’m not completely gung-ho about the whole opportunity is that in spite of all the wins, this wasn’t my first pick in my job search.

Continue reading “I sometimes think only I can find the negative in a really great deal”

No, it wasn’t

By the graciousness of my nanny, whom I excused from being on time to check at a QT for me, was she able to procure a reprint of the November 3rd commemorative Braves World Series victory edition.  This, was the highlight of my day.

So, I’m happy that I got the one thing that I had really wanted to commemorate the joyous occasion of the Braves reaching the top of the mountain and getting to be World Series champions, a sight and notion that is still hard to digest two days later, but I’m still peeved at just how hard it was to get a small piece of history to remember it by.

I’m pretty sure there’s something in the Constitution that says something along the lines of that news shouldn’t not be available to those who seek it, and it’s a stretch, but the AJC, whether it was deliberate or stupidity, suppressing production of the one and only obviously high-demand edition of their shitty paper, I would interpret as being fucking unconstitutional. 

As relieved as I am to have my own edition, predictably, the well-publicized high demand for these editions has created the dreaded and insufferable secondary market for them, and I’ve seen them on Facebook Marketplace going for at least $10 a pop, and mythical wife, after hearing me bitch and moan about it the night prior, spied some on eBay, going for around $27 a pop.

I’m not going to be a hypocrite about it, because I’ve definitely purchased extras of things before, with the intent of trying to flip them.  But whenever I’ve done that, that makes me an asshole, and what people are doing with these fucking AJCs, are making them assholes too.  I’m just glad that I didn’t have to pay a second-hand price for this, although I would have done so in order to get one.

The irony is that, it’s not even that good of a commemorative edition.  The AJC’s aesthetics and design has always been sixth-rate as far as major market newspapers go, and this commemorative edition doesn’t do the Braves justice.

The newspaper industry took a lot of flack over the last few decades over many publications taking cost-cutting measures and eliminating photographers, and instead tasking reporters to take pictures on iPhones.  I don’t know whether or not the AJC was one of those publications, but based on the shitty photo quality of my collector’s edition, I’m inclined to believe they are.

The photos are out of focus and have been enlarged way past the original resolution, and whatever staffers they have pretending to be graphic artists apply a bunch of high-pass filters to try and sharpen them, but instead make them look all posterized and pixelated.  I’d almost be embarrassed to actually display it after I frame it, but it will eventually become artwork for lack of a better term.

Anyway, I’m just glad I got my copy regardless of all the bullshit and hoops that had to be done in order for it to happen.  I just wish what seemed like a simple thing didn’t have to become such a joy-suppressing ordeal.

Fuck the AJC.

A fate worse than death

Over the last few months, among the few things that I still do pay attention to outside of my own little world, professional wrestling is still there.  Normally, I’d cite sources or link to the things that inspire my writing, but frankly the brog’s sense of time is pretty warped as it is, and my zero readers will have to take my word on the things that I’m talking or referring to.

But long story short, over the last few months the WWE has been firing an alarming amount of talent and personnel, AEW has been more than happy to pick up the crème of the crop, and there’s all sorts of panic and wild rumors flying around scuttlebutt and I’m taken back to 1999 when I wish wrestling chatter on the internet could all collectively stfu because it’s kind of ruining everything when everyone’s so astute to backstage happening.

Among the fallout, Triple H, whom most are aware is the head cheese when it comes to anything NXT-related, has been given the lion’s share of the blame when it comes to the fate of the short-lived Wednesday Night War, when an arriving AEW was met by a nationally-televised NXT.  After about a year and amidst a pandemic, NXT decided to move to Tuesdays, in a move widely seen as hoisting a white flag and surrendering.

And supposedly, Triple H is the fall guy in this scenario, and as a result of it, regardless of the corporat-ese used to describe it, has been basically demoted and alleviated of the reigns of NXT.  Vince McMahon and one of his lifer-stooges, Bruce Pritchard will take over the production of the show, which basically means that NXT is going to be run a lot like RAW and Smackdown, which for the better part of the last 2-3 years has been the very definition of mediocre and hardly watchable.

Needless to say, this is basically a fate worse than death for NXT, which is restructuring under new management, naturally accompanied by, a rebranding, complete with new and questionably horrid logo.

A long time ago, I read some adage about how fewer things attempt to smokescreen mediocrity more than a rebranding, and from the looks of things, this is going to be a textbook instance of something once good, headed down a very slippery slope, with the rebranding and restructuring of NXT.

Continue reading “A fate worse than death”

Professional crossroads

I am somewhat at a professional crossroads currently, and I don’t particularly know how to approach it.  Actually, I do know how to approach it, it’s just unfortunately I’m realizing that so few out there seem to be able to understand much less comprehend the choices that I’m willing to make in order to change my career path, which leads me to wonder if I’m really that unorthodox in my approach, or if the world around me is too inside the box thinking.

Basically, I am a graphic designer with 20 years of experience in graphic design.  But I’ve grown unhappy with the direction of my general career, and am seeking to pivot my career, preferably into user experience.  However, in spite of the course that I have recently completed where I think I did a pretty good job based on feedback and reception, I have zero years of experience in UX.

In my mind, the most logical thing to do is to try to get in on the ground level of wherever would hire me as in a UX role, and prove my worth and work my way up, and re-build a career in a different discipline.  Frankly, this would be the normal course path of trying to switch to any job outside of what I’ve been doing over the last 20 years, regardless of if it were UX or going into construction or working at a restaurant.

However, there are large camps of people out there whom I speak with that basically make me feel like I’m crazy to be willing to walk away from a managerial position and going into an entry-level position, regardless of the difference in growth potential as well as just career potential in general.  And it’s these conversations that make me feel kind of sad but mostly frustrated and disappointed at the things that I hear, and gives me more reluctance than I should logically feel about the choices that I’m willing to make.

I tell people often that I’ve left a job that paid well and had a great commute, simply because I was miserable at it.  The company hierarchy sucked, and people were playing professional games, and job titles dictated on whether you were right or wrong.  I left the company and went to where I’m currently at, in spite of lower pay and a shitty commute, because I was pursuing sanity and happiness, and I have zero regrets on making that move.

I’m kind of in the same boat all over again, but the difference is that I’m currently in a managerial role, and I’ve been speaking with more people, on account of the delicate circumstances in which I’m working in, and as a result, running into more resistance and questions rather than support and empathy for the simple fact that I’m miserable with my current job, and am wanting to make a change.

When the day is over, I’m going to do whatever I want to do, but my concerns are that the roles and places I apply to in the future, the people that make the hiring decisions, will also be hung up on the narrative that I’m a manager wanting to walk away from management to go into something entry level and then assume some bullshit conclusion and pass on me.

Frankly, I have a hard time understanding what is so hard to comprehend about sometimes needing to go backward in order to move ahead in careers and life in general, and it’s because so many square pegs like this exist in the world that really makes me feel like traversing these professional crossroads is going to be way more difficult than it really should be.