Volume 8, Issue 4, July-August 2004
The Habits of Our Eyes
by Brigid O'Leary
I am, by education, a journalist. In college I was a communication major. One thing that has stuck with me from my days of study is a quotation by rhetorician Walter Lippman that “the facts that we see depend largely on where we are placed and the habits of our eyes.”
What does this have to do with window film? Well, since I started working at Key Communications, and for Window Film magazine in particular, the habits of my eyes have been changing. Let’s face it. I’m a girl. While I was never a girly-girl growing up, cars were not my thing, and until recently I probably wouldn’t have noticed much about the car beside me on the street. Unless the windows had that very dark tint that limos often have, I wouldn’t have noticed a bit—and even if that was the case, I only noticed enough to think to myself that the occupants of said vehicle were probably nefarious characters.
That’s all changed. Now I can look at a car and tell if an aftermarket tint job didn’t go as well as planned. Why do I think I can tell? Because the other day on my drive home from work I looked over at a car in the next lane and the first thing through my head was “Wow, what a bad tint job.” OK, so the tint had numerous large bubbles in it, which were very, very obvious, but I was placed in such a way that I could see it and, most importantly, my eyes now have the habit of looking for things such as that. Having said that, I would like to say for the record that I am well aware that I couldn’t do the job even half as well as the poor bloke who left so many bubbles on the back of that car; but you don’t have to be a football player to know when a place kicker misses the field goal by several yards.
I’m sure it’s happened to you, too; one day you’re just living life as you normally would, when BAM! You see something or notice something related to window film that five, ten, 20 years ago you wouldn’t have even known existed.
Now, my habits have been formed by my job—editing Window Film and learning about the industry. I see things in the world and relate it back to my experiences with the magazine. There are, however, habits that our eyes form with regard to the work we do, not always in relation to the rest of the world. When I read magazines, the subconscious red pen clicks on in my head and I immediately start editing, noticing grammatically incorrect sentences, improper attributions and poor sentence or story structure in general. I try very hard to make sure that those same gaffes do not turn up in Window Film.
This brings me to the actual point of this month’s column. Being in the business, you know what a good tint job looks like and what a bad tint job looks like. If you see someone else’s work and think to yourself that you could do better, make the conscious effort in your next job to prove that you can, indeed, do that job better than your competitor. Try to get your eyes in the habit of seeing imperfections not only around you, but in the work you do so that you can correct them rather than letting them go out in the world (where other people will see them and think they can do better). Your clients may not know, but they will appreciate a job well done.
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