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Yes, I was a Web Designer. No, it wasn’t pretty.

Adam Bullock • April 1, 2014 • 3 minutes to read

As part of our MKG 2014 goals (Mike's specifically), we were tasked with getting out of our professional comfort zones and living in one of our team member's shoes for an hour or so.?

I chose to put on Kerry's web designer hat. I mean, how hard could designing a straight-forward 120x90 banner be?!

In reality, really super freaking hard.

I fancy myself a Photoshop novice. Basically - I'm self-taught and learned my tricks of the trade during the big "All your base are belong to us" period in 2000 / 2001 when it was fun to photoshop that phrase to unsuspecting places.

So naturally, when Kerry asked if anyone wanted to try to "live in her shoes" by creating a simple static banner image, I jumped at the chance.

Phrases like, " No sweat. ", " easy-peasy! ", " hashtag done!! " came into my mind as I loaded up Photoshop and took instruction from Kerry (who I dubbed as "Client Kerry") for this exercise.

I was tasked with creating a static banner for a social cause. Basically, in the teenie-tiny real estate of 120x90, I had to convey:

  1. A company did a wrong
  2. What that wrong was
  3. That there was a petition for users to sign

My first attempt looked like this: MY EYES!!!

Super happy with how that looked (never mind it took me like 30 minutes to do!), I took it to Client Kerry. Needless to say... she had some feedback for me. A lot of feedback.

I liked this because it invoked more feeling for those who remember the 2010 pipeline explosion that happened in San Bruno. It was a tragic event (eight people lost their lives and over 60 were injured) and I felt like pulling a screenshot in from Google Maps (first attempt) didn't help invoke the anger and rage that San Bruno and other nearby citizens have for the company responsible for the pipeline explosion.

I sent along this version to Client Kerry, saving all the files necessary and closing up Photoshop for I was sure I would get a "job well done" from her and that would be that. Not so! Even MORE feedback was received.

So I took some more time, implemented her feedback items, and came to the final version:

Pretty decent little banner!

This little 120x90 banner took me, well, more time then I'd like to disclose. But the important thing that came out of this exercise (aside from the feedback that I don't have to "flatten image" whenever I want to save it as a PNG or JPG - doh!) was:

Web designers have it tough!

What did I learn from this exercise?

Banner ad creative definitely have some best practice principles that needs to be incorporated into every design. But I think what sets Kerry apart from me and what really drives her success as our resident web designer on the team is her critical eye for design and just really knowing what works. She's also incredibly gracious and receptive to feedback; I received two rounds of feedback and I could already sense myself grumbling about it.

Moving forward, I think whenever I need to review banner ad creative, I think I'll put my designing critical eye more into the background and look at it from a casual observer perspective of "Does this banner ad make sense? What is it trying to make me want to do?". I'll leave the design components to the design pros.

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