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mario garcia

Working with consultants Most of the projects I have ever been involved in included highly skilled art directors in residence who were more than capable of leading the effort of a redesign. And, in some cases, the art directors themselves probably wondered why an outside consultant was needed, although, by the end of the process, most agreed they h ad benefited from the interaction and the learning involved. In most cases, the consultant also learned much from the art directors and editors in the project. However, the role of the consultant has to be clearly defined and outlined at the beginning. Everyone has to know what his or het responsibilities and contributions will be to avoid misunderstandings later. A redesign project is a major enough undertaking, with major obstacles to overcome, without having to deal with personality problems. What can the role of the consultant be? 

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To define key points of the project: briefing, sketching, prototyping, researching, implementing To guide the designers through the sketching process with concepts that the designers can use to develop their initial ideas

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To guide designers and editors to resources that may prove helpful, from website to books to other publications. To identify talents in the various areas needed in the redesign process: journalism, production, marketing, and advertising. To help with the creation of a stylebook. To teach throughout the project. This is perhaps the consultant’s most important role, that of nurturing the staff, imparting knowledge through seminars, discussions, and sessions in which the specific redesign project is momentarily put aside, talking about the craft, design, trends, and, in a sense, bring the classroom into the newsroom. To foster team effort and to alert everyone to the benefits of working as a team: we all shine if the project wins. This is everyone’s project, not anyone individual’s creation.

When the art director and the consultant “click” everything else in the project falls into place quickly. Everyone benefits, but especially the readers, who gain from the experience and creativity of a team. 

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Pure design: Working with consultants