At my work several months ago I pitched a new project which got accepted; the owners, bosses, and management loved everything, from the clean designs to the detailed work that went into designing everything.
Part of the proposal was a complete brand design, from colour pallets to imagery specifications, business/personal messaging, etc. Everyone unanimously agreed that the brand was 'spot on' and signed off on it. Since then, I designed everything to specs and standards, and everything synchronised beautifully.
Now we're about to physically print off a huge number of advertising assets, including magnets, pamphlets, and other marketing materials; but one of the co-owners (the one in charge of my division) has gone off and rejected some of the carefully branded materials, and has had new materials made with generic clip-art and completely off-brand design. It can't even be identified as 'belonging' to the product, and to make matters worse the re-branded assets are what the world will see first. Not even the designer that made them likes the new assets, and my direct managers are complaining that the materials will just be thrown away since no sane person would want to keep them.
How should I approach the situation, and get that boss to back down on their decisions before we roll out hundreds of thousands of mistakes?
I've selected the answer I think is best (see below), but I'm posting the ultimate resolution here as it played out, as I feel it gives good insight on a managerial level
The "brand correct" designs were discarded in the end; the co-owner just hated the first designs, and my re-pitch was declined when I spoke to her directly.
At this point, I spoke with my manager and advised that I would no longer work on brand-related materials from home, on effort that had no guarantee of being used. They know I have an aggressive time-line on the core product, so it essentially offloaded all design work to our graphics department. I should note I'm also the most experienced graphic designer in our office, so my manager considered this a significant loss.
Knowing how dissatisfied I was, my direct manager stepped in and she did her job very well. What she proposed and worked towards was a modifying the ad to more closely follow my brand guide. My manager knew I wasn't interested in approving the new designs, but still included me in the process so I would at least see the progress despite my disinterest.
My manager not only accepted my offloading of the art design, but also encouraged it; the project was becoming personal and that I shouldn't attempt to shoulder everything. My manager also pointed out I probably would never be satisfied with anything but my own designs, and admitted that even though she agreed they were a step down - this is still closer to having a 'brand' than any of our products have ever been, and did express it was well done.
So my boss is still happy with the revised materials, I'm not red-in-the-face upset at the materials, and there's less pressure on me to both please everyone, myself, and finish the project. Advertising materials will still pass thorough me and I'll point out anything glaring, but I'm not to intervene and do the work myself.
Overall, it's important to just get the managers active; it can be easy to forget that managers don't just push down, but they also exist to push up as well - and that it's their job to facilitate communication between both sides. The only comment I would leave is that the manager was aware of the issue, but only acted after I had decided to stop all extracurricular work, which could have been avoided