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All that glitters is not gold eye shadow

All that glitters is not gold eye shadow.

Have you ever been in a situation and faced with an impossible decision? I was last week. I was offered a role straight from LinkedIn and offered a house to live in, 6 figures and a car to use. I had never met the people who ran the business, but wanted to believe them, their generosity and passion. It was also in Melbourne. I live in Sydney. I also have a family, so we would need to relocate.

The job was in an area that I loved, beauty. I live and breath beauty, love the packaging, smells, formulations and the almost magical qualities to transform a woman.

All looked great. Except it wasn’t.

As a test of my “abilities” I was asked to design artwork for a box for lip gloss (using their colours and patterns), retouch a stock image (see above) with a lot of fly away hair, create an A4 press ad and EDM (digital newsletter) for the product (coded in ) within 3 or so hours, everything.

Firstly it is obvious to me (and I am guessing you) that this is not a 3 hour job, if to be done professionally, when done from scratch. Secondly this doesn’t take into account brand guidelines (of which there were none documented to work from), brand strategy or target market, when the information was being released or to whom.

Suffice to say that the first attempt I missed some vital information as I was in a rush to get it done, creating a conceptual die line isn’t hard and neither is superimposing art to that dieline, but it takes time. The same goes for designing, cutting up and implementing the EDM for HTML.

So I stayed up till midnight reworking the design, then woke up at 5am up to create an animated .gif (which the owner pronounced jif – red flag) for the EDM.

I honestly don’t know why I did, I should have called it off then and there, because I knew it wasn’t a good match for me. It was obvious to me, that the company didn’t share my definition of Art Director (ie concepts, strategy, photo shoot direction, casting models product packaging cohesion and updating the look and feel of the company, from the logo upwards. They said they shot their own beauty however all I saw was stock, which was another red flag.

The fact that their logo kept bothering me, as it wasn’t a balanced design should have waved another red flag. They wanted me to replicate what they were doing which was cross between three other competitors and their own thoughts and direction. They have a great business and are obviously doing well, but it wasn’t for me.

I no longer wanted the job, it was not feeling “right”. You know the “ick” factor you get with a new boyfriend or girlfriend when it isn’t right? I was getting that. It may have had something to do with the dinner conversation the night before. Basically it was a “slam Caitlyn Jenner” session, mixed with a rant against political correctness and blatant sexist comments (and completely unaware of it being sexist). They were on the surface very nice people, but their values, morals and idealogy didn’t mesh with mine (and my values and morals are vital to me – compassion and tolerance coming at the top).

I knew from the minute I got into the car from the airport. Which is probably why I couldn’t design for them effectively. That and trying to do a week’s worth of worth in 3 – 5 hours.

The upshot of it was that I called my current boss and told her the story and I accepted a different role with the company where I am currently working, for almost the same money and we don’t have to move to Melbourne. I was 100% transparent along the way, so my new boss now knows I chose her and her company, for the creativity, philosophy and culture.

Before I left, she gave me some sage advice from her father: “If there is confusion, there is deception” and in this case this held very true. I also feel that if you are with someone and you feel like you are crazy around them, it is probably the other party that is crazy. In this case it felt like that.

Anyway, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Realised what I have here and plan to treasure my good fortune.

(Image courtesy of



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