Budget, schmudget

Budgets: who needs 'em?

black.jpgIn today’s <shameless self promotion>mb interview with Roger Black</shameless self promotion>, Black says:

I’m sure the reason I was a successful art director as a staff guy was that I knew how to run budgets. And it was not so much that I kept within the budget, because they never really reward you for keeping within the budget. It was that I was able to get more money the next year, and build up the art department.

From a November 1999 Roger Black profile by Michael Wolff:

the goal [Black] seems to have set for himself is to design, practically speaking, all magazines. And, to a large degree, he has succeeded—certainly he has designed more magazines than anybody else; he may also have made more money from magazines than any nonowner…What Roger’s vast success says about the people who hire him is more complex. In some sense, the very thing that is annoying about Roger when you’re paying him (that he is off in Milan at the Principessa or in Paris at the Ritz) is what you value him for, too: He’s taken the art out of art director. He is the antidote to Fabien Baron and Tibor Kalman and Neville Brody—the temperamental and unpredictable designers. The fact that Roger himself is not there doing the job you’re paying him for is, in some ways, a relief; you get the name without the ego.

Black obviously knows something we don’t. We haven’t yet figured out how to get people to value us for being off in Milan with the Principessa while they’re paying us. Or for going over budget. And we’ve definitely tried.