A quick but important detour into the graphic design world: Over at imprint, a design blog associated with Print magazine, art director and writer August Heffner has taken the Art Directors Club to task for promoting a culture that he argues exploits young designers by equating long hours and an all-consuming approach to work with professional toughness.

Of the ADC's annual "Young Guns" competition for designers under 30, Heffner writes, "Each year the competition’s marketing materials are more and more offensive as they rely on common themes of 'staying up late,' 'drinking coffee,' 'eating take-out,' 'wearing headphones,' and 'working on the weekends' ... The message appears to be: To be the best you must work long, hard hours (thus reducing your entry-level wages even further), eat free meals (Thai again anyone?), and only socialize with your co-workers."

This criticism no doubt sounds familiar in the architecture profession. Just look at some of the comments around this site (start in the Practice section) for a survey of designers pointing fingers at firms for valuing obsessive labor over creativity and taking advantage of a culture that glorifies all but burning out. But what should be done? Can you envision an architecture profession that cultivates rather than exploits recent graduates and young architects? Where does the best work culture exist now? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

The offending ADC ad is below. And the full post is very much worth reading: Who Are We Fighting For?

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