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Where’s the Next Top Graphic/Web/Motion Designer?

Reality TV for the rest of us.

top designer?

I just watched my very first episode of Top Design, the latest in the list of design-related reality shows on Bravo. Watching the usual inter-personal drama ensue made me think, Are these shows really about searching for the next best thing or is it only about entertainment? I used to like watching Project Runway, not just because it’s name didn’t involve the word ‘Top’ in it, but also because I found myself learning about Fashion design and as a result, gaining a new found respect for the people on the show and fashion designers in general. It also helped that my wife’s a fashion designer and she gave her stamp of approval on the skill level of the participants. But that aside, I began to think that maybe these shows could serve an educational purpose and further the design IQ of the couch potato public, instead of furthering the impression that all designers are egotistical prima donnas. (Even if it’s true we don’t need the public thinking that).

Maybe it was just the episode I saw and I need to give it a second chance, but I came away from that episode thinking that the Interior Design theme was just packaging for the same ol’ fight of the egos schtick. Maybe that’s what makes it good TV. But that got me thinking:

Who’s Got Next?
I have to admit that fashion and interior design seem like such exciting disciplines that they might lend themselves better to entertaining the masses, there’s even one called Shear Genius dealing with Hair design. But what about Graphic Design, Motion Graphics or Web development? Are there any shows slated for production (or that exist already)that tackle the high-velocity world of press checks, client pitches, lens flares or server crashes? They could have group challenges to launch an e-commerce store in 2 days, or produce, shoot and edit a show open for the Academy Awards in a weekend. I’ve seen challenges in The Apprentice where the teams had to conceive and execute an advertising campaign so why not expand that into an entire show?

But who would they get to host them?

Are there any respected graphic, web or motion designers that have the time and narcissicistic tendencies to flaunt in front of the camera for a couple of months giving young hopefuls the chance to become America’s Next Top [fill in the blanks]? Who would you like to see host a show about your field?
And of course you have to have a catch-phrase. Project Runway had “You’re Out,” Top Chef had “Pack your knives and go,” The Apprentice has “You’re Fired.” What would you tell a rejected contestant of Top Web Designer? “Hand in your Mouse”? or “Error 404”?

Passing (serious )Thought
One of the judges on the show disagreed with a contestant’s decision to give up fighting to be heard on his team and just be a team player. The judge’s reasoning, as far as I understood, was that to be a (there’s that word again) “Top” Designer you have to fight to get your voice heard and your vision realized. To which I responded; When you have deadlines looming and teammates bickering would it help to add to the bickering or to suck it up and get the job done?

Andrew Davies

Drew's degrees in Illustration, 2D animation and Broadcast Design, and his volleyball skillz mean he can get your design done and play well with others at the same time. He’s the Creative Director at Paragon and will call you out if you start hanging out with shady-looking fonts and messing around with whacked-out color palettes.


5 thoughts on “Where’s the Next Top Graphic/Web/Motion Designer?

  1. MiniMUM says:

    Your show may not be far off – I see Fox is planing/shooting a reality show for aspiring movie directors…

    Pitch it to a network now, before someone else does!

  2. Drew says:

    You know what? I heard about that show because a friend of mine was interviewed last Thursday in Atlanta to be one of the contestants.
    I dropped a post in a motion graphics forum about the show idea and got a general “nobody’d watch it” response there. ( But I did get a link to company that might be doing the same idea on their own blog. It’s a company called Ghost Productions.

    I’ll try a graphic design forum and see what they think.

  3. MiniMUM says:

    I think those who say “nobody’d watch it” are missing the point of these shows. We watch, not because we really care deeply about cooking or fashion, but because of the drama created by placing people in a pressure cooker and having them battle to come out on top.

  4. Drew says:

    The Graphic Designers seemed to have the same impression (nobody’d watch it) with a little more sense of humor about it. My favourite rejection tag line was “You’ve been dropped like a shadow.”

  5. MiniMUM says:

    Funny indeed… I still say they wrong… Give it some time. I bet a network runs with this one. One day…

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