When others control your art marketing

In today’s post we’ll look at what happened to Lorrie Grainger Abdo when someone else controlled her marketing materials. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you WHAT you learned–or what you should have learned. Or you can guess by leaving your comments below.

Laura writes:

Boy, did your newsletter regarding brochures hit a nerve with me. I've had an experience lately with an art venue for which I will be teaching a workshop. I sent them digital samples of my work and copy for the class/bio. A flyer was done for mailing and website usage. Oh my, yuck!

1.  I believe that the main reason it looks terrible is that they used clip art, abbreviated throughout when there was room to spell things out (Sat. instead of Saturday, Jan. instead of January, etc.), and manipulated a background technique of mine into the shape of a cheesy-looking heart.
2.  They didn't have me proof it despite me asking specifically for that chance. After realizing this I did go through it with them and had them change copy-related issues but the “flavor” of the flyer really can't be altered much without a designer making the corrections rather than the eager and accommodating, but unqualified assistant, that did the work in the first place.
3.  The identical flyer was used on the website and for mailing. This doesn't always work because a flyer needs specifics like phone numbers and addresses whereas when going to a website the audience may already know those important identifiers.
4.  It looks terrible and now my name is on it.


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9 thoughts on “When others control your art marketing”

  1. I feel for Lorrie… This must be quite frustrating! “Taking control” can apply to so many areas of our art careers and Lorrie’s bad experience is unfortunate and should serve as a lesson to us all! I’m thinking of going down the workshop route myself, and while I’m very happy with my brochure, it is quite general and will not be sufficient to advertise a class. Should a new flyer be created by the person giving the class? Or perhaps an explanatory A4 sheet along with the artist’s brochure? Looking forward to read what you have to say Alyson…!

  2. Yes this must be frustrating for Lorrie. I’ve faced similar problems before. It is a tricky situation when an artist works with an outside institution- inevitably the institution people have their own ideas about what publicity should look like. It takes tact and artful consideration for the artist to negotiate the best possible outcome. The artist has to be willing to compromise somewhat even in the best situations as she/he is the “guest” in their house. Do what you can to fix the situation, but pick the battles wisely.

  3. I had this happen with a gallery. A postcard for an opening was awful. The background image was some sort of nondescript airbrushed pink and green thing. I tossed them and made and mailed my own for my people, but I couldn’t do a thing about the gallery mailing it to their people. Arrgh.

  4. I had this happen at a gallery. They had actually combined the work of three artists on the front of one postcards as a striped abstraction. Their intentions were good, but luckily I had made my own invitations and sent them to my list myself.

  5. Alyson Stanfield

    Amélie: I think you need a separate brochure for classes and workshops. They’re services rather than fine art, so your audience is different. You can include your fa brochure with them, but you really need to plug the workshop with its own brochure or flyer. Philip: Yes, it’s key to pick your battles. Mira and Tracey: Good for you for taking control and doing your own mailing.

  6. I think the main lesson is that if it is going to have your name on it, you need to be 100% sure you are happy with what is being done. It’s your reputation on the line. A bad first impression is hard to repair…

  7. The lesson I’ve learned from this… 1. Provide a flyer to fit within a flyer. I’m sure they will have their own branding image (maybe) so I can provide a flyer information jpeg that will fit below a their masthead. 2. I can offer/require/insist that I provide the entire flyer citing my own need for branding my own image. 3. It’s worth the extra effort/cost on my part to be able to control the image I am associated with. 4. Visual artists have a higher threshold of design acceptance than non-designers so anticipate it, plan for it, and explain that. This was good for me to read about. Look forward to tomorrow’s post about it.

  8. This is the cost of collaboration – having to share control. I do a lot of collaborative events & used to get bunched up about the details. Over time, though, I’ve found it’s much easier and more fun to just be thankful for the help & support I receive from my collaborators in whatever form it takes.

  9. This is the cost of collaboration – having to share control. I do a lot of collaborative events & used to get bunched up about the details. Over time, though, I’ve found it’s much easier and more fun to just be thankful for the help & support I receive from my collaborators in whatever form it takes.

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