The graphics artist you hire for your case is your doorway to a sleeker, more comprehensible case. Crafted carefully and creatively, the graphics you present to the jury will play a central role in juror comprehension and retention. So the more talented, knowledgeable and flexible your graphics artist is, the more value he will add.
Finding the ideal graphics artist means taking the time to vet candidates in search of particular characteristics. The following qualities are critical.
Trial Graphics Artists Should Be Knowledgeable
Skilled. This one’s pretty basic. They’ve got to know their stuff.
Make sure they’re proficient at multiple software packages (Illustrator, Photoshop, PowerPoint, etc.) and have a balanced skillset so you feel free to experiment with any promising ideas that come to mind.
Equally important in this field is “attention to detail” – it’s not just a bonus, it’s a necessity. Mistakes and typos in your graphics are disproportionately harmful to your credibility in a jury’s eyes.
Experienced. Your high-stakes case is probably not the time to bank on the graphics intern. With or without raw talent, experience is an essential attribute. True mastery takes time.
Experienced artists come prepared for just about anything. They don’t just know graphics; they know the field as a whole. They don’t need to reinvent the wheel; they know what works and, in an unfamiliar situation, how to figure out what will.
As a practical matter, an experienced graphics artist will also be able to document a track record of successful work, so you can be more confident you’ve found someone on whom you can rely.
Always Improving. Even the best can get better. Your ideal graphics artist will never be satisfied with her current knowledge base. Nor can she afford to be, given that her chosen field is constantly in flux: new tools, new software, faster computer speeds, better techniques, not to mention an audience with ever-changing expectations. Her passion and drive keep her on the cutting edge. Like the computer on which she relies, a stagnant or complacent graphics artist will quickly become obsolete.
Even within a current project, your graphics artist should periodically revisit each graphic in search of any improvement that could make it more effective.
Creative. Of course, all the technical skill in the world can’t save a flat idea. Without creativity and problem solving, your artist – and therefore you – will miss out on the kinds of novel, off-the-beaten-path graphics that may ultimately prove most successful. A creative artist can supply multiple solutions to the same problem and think on his or her feet to adapt to changing circumstances.
Here is where the graphics artist’s abilities as an artist will prove crucial. It’s one thing to be a Photoshop whiz and quite another to be able to sketch out, mock up or otherwise theorize each graphic in multiple ways—the two are surprisingly different skills. Our graphics team, for example, is comprised of artists that can draw equally well on paper as they can on screen. We find that this skill makes it much easier (and quicker) to take a rough client idea, visualize it and represent it for all to see.
Trial Graphics Artists Should Be Organized, Calm and Flexible
Deadline-Oriented. Cases can get crazy, so your artist should be somewhat of a savant at prioritizing and managing time effectively. With multiple projects and multiple deadlines, he or she must be able to differentiate what can be pushed for later and what requires immediate attention. Otherwise, you may end up seeing a rushed or less-than-satisfactory product.
Positive Attitude. Generally speaking, you’re looking for a confident, motivated and alert personality who can remain upbeat and positive, even when – especially when – confronted with a tough challenge or a short, stressful deadline.
Effective Communicator and Team Player. An important part of being a strong contributor is communicating clearly and frequently. Graphics artists should not only be good listeners, but they should be comfortable taking the initiative to ask the right questions: When are the deadlines? What are the goals and case themes? What should the jury take away from this slide?
They should also be comfortable working as part of a group. They should be open to others’ ideas and know how to divide and conquer larger tasks.
In other words, graphic artists shouldn’t just hunker down in a dimly lit room, alone with their designs; they should be keen to incorporate concepts and feedback into their work through constant dialogue.
Takes Criticism. This one’s similar to attitude and teamwork, but deserves special mention, because, well…
We’ve all met a few artists in our lifetimes. Let’s just say that some have such a “passionate artistic spirit” that they seem to have misplaced all remnants of humility. Your ideas, goals and methods for the case at hand suddenly take the backseat to their lofty vision.
Talent need not beget arrogance. This is why the best graphics artists never presume to know best in every situation. They can acknowledge better ideas than their own and graciously accept what they do not know – no stressing, sulking or taking offense. They are open-minded and appreciate that not all of their suggestions are solid gold. They embrace and process feedback, then come back with new and better ideas.
Moreover, as cases develop, so do the graphics. Each graphic will likely require multiple edits or iterations before it is ever considered “final.” Artists must adapt to new circumstances without clinging selfishly to their current product.
Remember: their work should serve your needs, not the other way around. Their attitude should leave you with no doubt in that regard.
Whether directly or indirectly, the qualities described above play off each other like a feedback loop, each enhancing the others. Over time, these skills and behaviors coalesce into a truly seasoned trial graphics artist – just the person you’re searching for. Meet our team of graphics artists when deciding who should be the team to design and create demonstrative concepts for your case.
By: Adam Bloomberg, Managing Director – Visual Communications