Graphic Artist Burger Flippers

There are some amazing graphic designers / graphic artists working in the marketing world today. Thier work creates the bridge that pulls the market in and allows delivery of the message.

And then there are some Graphic Burger Flippers.


My personal definition of a “burger flipper” is someone who just knows how to do the job they’ve been assigned to do. They can turn on the grill and have enough manual dexterity to hold the spatula. They see that the end result of their job is that they have to flip the burger or drop the fries. They seem to be oblivious to the fact that someone on the other side of the counter has paid for and will consume this food. The end of the journey is getting the burger in the wrapper.

Compare this to the master chef…or the maternal southern lady who owns the best restaurant in town. The dining expereince of the customer is their final goal. They want the person they’re cooking for to have a delightful meal. The end of the journey is a satisfied customer.

There are “burger flippers” in every industry….and in every job. You’ve met them. Clock in….clock out…where’s my check.

Lately, for some reason, I’ve been running across alot of “burger flippers” in the graphic arts arena. I’ll get proofs from a YellowPage publisher or a printing company that would fail any basic graphic layout class. Fundamental items like kerning and basic spell check are blatantly wrong and should have caught before they were sent for me to proof.

The reason for this is a burger flipping graphic artist in a cubicle farm somwhere. My client has paid either hundreds or thousands of dollars for space in a publication or a Yellow Pages. And yet, their ad is only one item in a “”generic template–jam-in-the-info–where’s-the-next-one”” mindset of a burger flipper graphic designer who is doing 50 ads today. He knows how to make Quark/Pagemaker (the grill) work, but he has no idea (or doesn’t care) about how marketing works.

Demand better from these people. You’re making the investment in advertising. For it to work, the ad must be put together well. The best thing to do is to circumnavigate the cubicle farm and hire a good graphics person that understands your entire marketing plan and not just the quick ad copy that was scribbled down by a salesperson who probably didn’t have any idea about what you needed…(see this post about the dangers of marketing salespeople)

If you are a burger flipper or better yet…if you employ burger flippers, start thinking about the end results for your customers. Or, at the very least, have a little pride in your work.

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4 thoughts on “Graphic Artist Burger Flippers

  1. Tim

    I definitely agree. As a photo rep, many of my clients are YellowPages designers. They are paid to pump out as many ads as possible. Creativity, marketing, and good design are not a priority for these guys and many other shops I have dealt with. I would suggest employing smaller hungrier designers.

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