Fri 14 Nov
Rarely can one can equate anything that a designer does during the course of a normal workday with a potentially prosecutable offense, but Mitch Mosallem, a former executive vice-president of graphic services at Grey Worldwide, managed to confound that common sense by landing himself in jail for about six years. According to Adweek’s account of the affair: “Mosallem pleaded guilty in April to conspiring with former salesmen at The Color Wheel, a New York-based print production house, to rig bids and overbill Grey clients such as Brown & Williamson on print work.”
It’s weird to see something as basically innocuous as graphic design have such disastrous consequences, isn’t it? What’s so disconcerting about Mosallem’s situation is that it’s almost the stuff of made-for-TV movies, and yet imagining designers in any scenario worth of popular entertainment — whether a life-threatening situation or a weepy melodrama — is generally an exercise in absurdity (all apologies to Mosallem’s family for the very real misfortune they’ve suffered). Take a graphic designer out of the context of graphic design and place that person in a much more serious context — like corporate embezzlement — and it somehow becomes difficult to take him or her very seriously. Why is that? Is there something inherently ridiculous about the job I’m showing up for every day? Should I become a fireman?