10

People surprise you

It's been a rough year, but July had an especially low point. I discovered that a friend/former client had posted photos of my design work on her website without crediting me. From all appearances, I was intentionally uncredited. The text accompanying the photos inferred that the design and creation of the invitations and various wedding paper accessories was solely the work of my friend. There was a small blurb that she hired a graphic designer, but I was left unnamed. The initial work on the invitations was a collaboration between the two of us, but the design was my work. In all of my blog entries, I made sure to give her credit for all of her hard work in printing and assembling the pieces. I was stunned to see the photographs of my work with a credit for the photographer, but not for me, the designer who spent hours conceptualizing it.

My creative policy

I was a big ball of emotions. I was angry. I was stunned. And I was hurt. She was my friend... close friend even. We were heavily involved in each other's lives. I felt betrayed. I didn't want to write a horribly rude letter in that moment. I decide to wait to contact my friend.

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In the interim, I vented on Twitter. I am aware that it was an immature thing to do, but I had enough presence of mind to not name my friend or her website publicly. I asked for advice on how to deal with this situation. The support that I received from other designers (specifically other invitation designers) and creatives was overwhelming. I was reminded that competition does not mean taking advantage of others and that most creative professionals have profound respect and admiration for their peers. A few people offered to draft letters for me. I declined these offers.


I received especially useful advice from Jennifer Berson of JenerationPR. Jennifer frequently posts info regarding media, marketing and tech info on Twitter. I have been corresponding with her for months. So, I wasn't surprised when she asked me for my mailing address. I jokingly told her not to send me junk mail and assumed she was going to send me additional info regarding copyright issues. Instead, this arrived via Fedex.

DSC_6029

I cannot blog the package's contents, lest I get Jennifer in trouble. Let's just say that I will not have to buy any high quality hair care products for a very long time. I messaged Jennifer to thank her and ask why she sent me the package. She simply said that she felt that I needed something nice and that sometimes the people who deserve to win don't always win. I was moved beyond description. I know it was just some beauty products, but the gesture and the thoughtfulness are priceless. This little box saved me from sliding into such a low. I don't even think that Jennifer fully realized how a small thing could make such a big difference.

After receiving Jennifer's package, I was able to compose a simple letter that addressed my issues with the my friend's website. I asked to be credited or the photos removed. The photos were removed and I received a short, terse message notifying me of such. I have not heard from my friend since. I suppose is safe to assume that our friendship is no longer. I am disappointed and saddened by this, but what can you do?

A friend hurt me deeply and a total stranger lifted me up. People really surprise you sometimes.

10 more coherent thought(s):

Carly said...

Hey Anne, I'm so sorry this happened to you. And also sorry to read that you've been having a rough year :( You are so sweet and talented. I know that good things are in store for you!! Bravo to you for sticking up for yourself in a rational and very professional manner. Stay positive! And that package must've meant so much. I guess the kindness of strangers does exist. I'd all but given up on that concept after living in L.A. :) My best to you - Carly

julianne smith said...

this is a great post! thank you for sharing your story. i'm sorry that this happened to you, but i'm so happy to see that jennifer lifted you up. hang in here!!

A.Kirkland said...

wow, your last paragraph is so paradoxically profound!

johnwaire | photo said...

the power of twitter -- there are some really genuine people out there. sorry about your 'friend' anne...but it looks like you gained one in the process.

Mlackey said...

Unfortunately you're right, the people who deserve to win sometimes don't, and it's a devestating and very disappointing feeling. But this goes to show that there are great people in this world and they tend to show up when you most need it. I've tweeted with Jen and she's such a great person. It's easy to tell even after only a few months. It's sad that you lost a friend over this but I think you handled the situation very well and I'm glad you stood up for your work. You deserve to be acknowledged. I hope you're continuing to have a great week!

jen said...

Stumbled across this today - thanks for sharing - it is a bummer to see how *friends* can let you down....but what a WONDERFUL surprise it must have been to open your *care package*. I love to hear stories like this....

jen :)

Amy I. said...

I'm so uplifted to read about the kindness of strangers, love love love it! Sorry to hear about the loss of a friend, but I'm glad that it seems like you've made peace with the situation and moved on.

Mrs. Masters said...

Isn't it amazing how the world finds a way to balance itself out sometimes?

Sara | Stinkerpants! said...

OMG, that's awesome! Jen is super awesome. I remember when this happened, and it really really sucked. I'm sorry to hear that it didn't work out with the friend. That seriously sucks.

karri said...

Every person you encounter will either teach you how "to be" or "not to be." I am so sorry to hear this happened to you. You are so tremendously talented and do not deserve to have been treated like this. Thankfully you are surrounded by good people! And good hair products! : )

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