Unsigned work

Every designer comes across a job where they say, “Don’t tell anyone I did this project.” The project becomes about getting the job done, but the designer doesn’t like the end result.

This was totally the case a month or two ago when we did a new stage design. We had some challenges and goals to work with:

1. We had one afternoon to do the entire design and light it. (We had a service that evening and my schedule did not allow any time before that day to work on th e stage.)

2. We had no budget to purchase any new materials so we had to use what we had already.

3. We needed something super simple so we could have a bit of contrast when Easter came along.

Voila! Thus you see the design below.


The original design I had in mind didn’t work at all — the material we were going to use was way too small. So we dug around the store room and the only fabric that was wide enough was a piece of gold fabric that we hung as a backdrop to the cross.

Then we hung white voile fabric on either side.

Unfortunately, gold fabric is really hard to light, especially if it has white on either side.

When we used any light gels other than reds, oranges or yellow, the gold fabric turned into a yucky dark color.

When we used yellow light, it looked like a dog peed on the white fabric.

When we used red light, it looked like the fires of… er, well… let’s just a say a very hot place.

In the end we used some orange/pink gels to light the white fabric. It was about all that worked.

I totally hated it. Every week I felt like it overpowered the speakers on the stage and just put my head in my hands and groaned at how awful it was.

Yes, I was the designer who came up with the idea and I couldn’t stand the design. But there was no time to do anything else, so I just lived it with for a few weeks. The main thing I was thankful for those who scrambled to help make this happen in time. One of the best parts of my job —the awesome people I get to work with!

In times like this, you just remember that it was the best that could be done given the constraints, and that as a designer, you’re about getting the job done and meeting the requirements, whether you personally love it or not.

A number of people said they loved it.

Just goes to show everyone has different tastes. So maybe it’s good once in a while to put up a design I don’t like — it will be enjoyed by those who like the opposite of what I like!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — angelayeedesign.com) and teaches leadership skills at strategysketchnotes.com.

2 comments to “Unsigned work”

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  1. Glen Nielsen - April 6, 2013


  2. Carmen Lin - April 6, 2013

    Hey, I liked it.
    That first Sunday when I went into the sanctuary and saw it, I just thought, “A new design or an old one recycled?”
    Every Sunday when I saw it, it just reminded me, “Christmas was over, and spring is coming.”
    So don’t be so hard on yourself. You did your best, and I’m sure God accepted it as your offering.
    So praise the Lord and enjoy it! Satan just wants us to hate ourselves! Don’t give him any joy!

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