In this episode, ENX2 Photographer and stalwart podcaster Keith R. Stevenson sits down with ENX2 Junior Graphic Designer Nick Insinga to discuss the intricacies of design, navigating the minefield of client expectations, and the future of graphic design.

Keith R. Stevenson: Hello and welcome to Five Questions With ENX2. My name is Keith R. Stevenson, photographer and designer and a newcomer to the world of digital marketing. I have a lot of questions about the ins and outs of the business, so I’m sitting down with a member of the ENX2 team to pick their brains and learn more about this dynamic industry.

My guest today is Graphic Artist Nick Insinga. Thank you for joining me today, Nick.

Nick Insinga: Thanks for having me.

Keith: I’m never going to say your last name again. All right so we got five questions, you know the format of the show? Basically, I got five questions about what you do here at ENX2. And every so often, I throw you a curveball to see if you’re listening.

Nick: So you’re going to ask about the janitorial services?

Keith: Exactly. Now what brand of mop do you use, Nick?

Nick: Swiffer.

Keith: All right, well obviously you are a graphic artist here at ENX2. And you do a lot of beautiful, beautiful work. I’m always impressed with what I see coming across your desk. It’s always different, it’s always good. So what do you think is good design? What are the hallmarks of good design?

Nick: Something that definitely gets the message across easily. Something that can convey emotion, get the viewer thinking about it. Definitely something that makes them stop and think and catches their attention. Sometimes something very simple where the message is clearly seen.

Keith: So clarity and conveyance of emotion?

Nick: Yes.

Keith: When you are making these designs, I often wonder this, where do you get your inspiration? Where does all that come from?

Nick: Just either viewing clients’ websites to get the feel of what their whole vibe is. I also will look on blogs, design blogs, to get new ideas of what other people are doing, seeing the latest techniques that make something really pop in design. Also past work that has been done for the client by other designers here at ENX2. Little bit of everything, you know?

Keith: A little bit of everything that you kind of mix it all together to make it your own.

Nick: That’s right.

Keith: Cool. So obviously, you’re working with clients, the client is always right.

Nick: Correct.

Keith: I did something earlier today, I knew it was wrong, but I had to do it that way because that’s the way they wanted it.

Nick: Got to love it.

Keith: How do you handle criticism from clients? What do you do to handle that?

Nick: Well, like you just said, the client is always right so I think it’s always a good perspective from a different eye, I guess. Because I’m looking at the same thing throughout the entire process of the design, maybe I’m missing something, maybe I’m overlooking the message that is getting portrayed there. Seeing or hearing from the client what their view on it is, I guess you take it with a grain of salt because they see it differently. Maybe your message isn’t getting across the way you wanted it to. So it’s helping you rethink how you’re going to execute it.

Keith: Maybe the client has a different message in mind. Maybe they don’t want to have this part of their business highlighted. And we might not know that going into it. That’s a good answer.

Goo number three question here. So we often talk about the future and design has always been one of those fields, like design and photography, one of those creative fields where it’s difficult to automate. So if you were building cars 20 or 30 years ago, you might not be now because robots are doing your job for you. But do you think that AI and computers can somehow replace you as a graphic artist?

Nick: Yes and no. There are already programs out there that do eliminate the simplest of designs like where they are already programmed. Like here’s your layout, put in the information and it’s going to pop out something for you. But the no part would be getting a message across that really sends home an emotion. The computers can’t achieve that, no matter how much programming you put in there. There are going to be elements that a human touch needs to be there.

Keith: I feel the same thing with photography. There’s a company that’s making cameras now with AI-infused cameras, essentially, that they’re trying to build and work with. And they are taking all this input from all these other photographers who have to come up with a way for the camera to help decide how to take the picture, based upon other people’s work and the input of other photographers. And they’re creating algorithms to help create good photos where it might be adjusting the focus, adjusting the f-stop, so it sees a face, it knows it’s a face, focus on that, blur out the background. It tries to decide what kind of picture you’re going to take and then of course, you put the button. Or maybe the camera pushes the button.

But one of the problems with photography, which is kind of related to graphic design in many ways, is that the threshold for photography has fallen dramatically. Back in the early days of newspaper photography, even into the 80s, you had to have a bunch of specialized equipment to be able to produce photos for a newspaper. Now, anybody with an iPhone can go out and take a decent photo, maybe not as great as a professional photographer but passable. And so people’s expectations have fallen as far as what they deemed good photography. And they’re ok with it. So it’s a rough time to be a photographer.

But it’s also very interesting because a lot of our creativity can be freed up from some of the more technical aspects of photography and focus more on the creative side. But this isn’t about me.

Nick: Are you sure?

Keith: All right, so our fifth question here, Nick, is kind of a weird question, I have to tell you. Is the devil really in the details?

Nick: Well I would say absolutely. Details are very important and you have to put a lot of time and effort into them because they may be overlooked at first but if you see that design without that detail, it all falls apart. From something as simple as maybe you’re trying to make something more three dimensional on your page by adding a slight shadow or overlaying something and showing that there is dimension there, that’s a slightest bit of detail without that, the whole thing would fall apart. Definitely, the devil’s in the detail.

Keith: So I find that especially Mike is actually a very good designer as well, and he works on his websites. And when I was doing some design work earlier, he would always point out where things didn’t line up just right. It’s actually better to have it way off than almost, that’s what he told me. So if you had a line of text on top of a logo, and it’s off by a quarter inch, it looks bad. If it’s off a lot, they say it looks intentional. But if it’s off by just a little bit, it says yeah you tried to line it up but couldn’t. So you have to line it up that close.

Well this was a very quick interview. Here’s a question for you though, what do you think the future of AI and computers, stuff like that, what do you think is the future of graphic design? Where do you see things going?

Nick: There’s definitely going to be more competition. I feel like there’s going to be less and less need for them, just like you said, as computers come out and do the work for you. You’re going to have to be really good at it or you’re not going to have a job at graphic design.

Keith: And you are very good at it. So you don’t have to worry.

Nick: Oh thank you!

Keith: Thank you for answering my five questions today.

Nick: Well thank you, Keith, for having me.

Keith: And that’s all we have for this episode of Five Questions With ENX2. If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe and leave a nice review on wherever you find your podcasts. And be sure to join us next time when our next guest will be ENX2 SEO Specialist Jeff Mirro. Until then, thanks for listening and see you later.