Glory and Sacrifice

Whenever you see a successful person you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them. Anything worth manifesting and creating inherently comes with it all the obstacles needed for its conception.

Everything that is built in our world has been designed. It’s this design process that is mysterious and misunderstood–a process often grouped in with the fine arts. Although there is an art aspect to what designers do, there is an intense discipline to doing things right. We design for an audience of thousands, not for an audience of one (which is one of the inherent differences between design and art).

We see the results of great design but keep in mind the hundreds and sometimes thousands of hours visualizing, concepting, and prototyping before we actually start testing and production. From something as simple as a poster or a business card, the choices of composition, color, fonts, substrates, etc… had to be researched and decided upon if it had to be done right.

Keep in mind the sacrifices that were made for a simple smile on our client’s faces. The simple glories we take away from a project are private and lonely. So next time you experience a design you like, make sure to thank a designer (if not in person, in your thoughts).

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Successful

Successful entrepreneurs are often givers and not takers of energy. They have an almost magical ability to bring out the best in us and in so doing bring out the best in the organization. They create a continuous supply of motivation and energy. Motivation begets energy and energy begets motivation. The formula is easy, but the execution is complicated.

Designers are often faced with that task as well. Our design solutions must give energy to the person experiencing the design. The composition, components, and concept work together to motivate the viewer to expend energy to experience the piece. Once the viewer is in the design experience and it resonates with the person, he is motivated to share it with the world. And, if it is very good, it can become viral.

It’s this understanding of how positive energy works, that the field of design differs from so many other fields of study. It’s art; it’s engineering; it’s psychology; it’s sociology; and it’s magic.

Be aware of how a design solution affects your energy level? Does it give or take energy? A designer’s success depends on it.

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Information

When we really try to comprehend and understand the world around us, we are bombarded by information. In order for designers to truly communicate a message, we have to process and interpret all this information to a specific targeted audience. So we truly have to understand the nature of information–what is it?

Information is made up of at least 2 entities (real or imagined) such that the difference between them is immanent… and that difference must be interpreted inside an information-processing entity.

Each entity alone cannot exist without a context. It is a non-entity, such as the sound of one hand clapping. The stuff of sensory sensation, then, is at least a pair of entities that the human brain can compare it with. Thus the difference between the two is information that can be processed and communicated.

For example, in simplest form, night cannot exist without day; off cannot exist without on… etc. And, the difference is information that can be communicated.

Designers cannot introduce new concepts to a target audience that has no concept of where to categorize this information.

Just another thing to think about.

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Serendipity

Serendipity can be defined as the occurrence of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. Additionally it is an interesting phenomenon of finding valuable things not sought for.

In the world of design we should embrace the power of serendipity–sometimes it’s better to explore ideas outside your main goal so you can see bigger ideas waiting to be discovered. We should always be open to any opportunity of cross-fertilization of game-changing ideas, products, services and organizations.

We are often so staunch in our embedded processes that these become rules that should never be broken. As any designer worth their weight in talent knows that, “…there are rules of good design, but good design does not always follow the rules…”.

Always try to see the absurdities in life and how that can create new paths of thinking. Be open to chance events. Chance occurrences in life can be the antidote for your design dilemmas. We’ve forgotten how to think “wrong.”

P.S. It is July of 2018 and the state of graphic design is pretty blasé. I hope we get out of this brutalistic look soon.

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Gravity

In our own physical world, we see the results of what gravity can do. We feel the affects of it. If we are to believe Newton’s assessment that it’s a simple force of attraction of masses or Einstein’s model of a warping of spacetime, its still one of the greatest mysteries of science. We can measure it, quantify it, yet we still don’t know what it truly is.

Designers often are asked about the nature of their creativity. We should think of our creativity the same as we accept gravity. We can demonstrate it and analyze it, but we don’t know what it truly is. We should accept that its a force of attraction–we can utilize our creativity to attract our target audience to interface with our creations. We can also understand that our creativity is a warping of spacetime–our creations can take control of our target audience’s reactions and those reactions control our creations.

There are many mysteries within our physical world. Our creativity is the same. Undefined and yet we feel the strength of it every day of our lives. We are attracted to great design and its because of that attraction that it interacts with us and we interact with it. Next time you enjoy great design, think of the mystery of its origins.

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Similarities

We often think of newness as something that is created from nowhere–ex nihilo. When we hear about what’s the next biggest trend or product or service, we are led to believe it has to be something never thought up before and we are sadly disappointed that the newness of things is not that big of a deal. We have to understand that when thinking of new ideas, products, or services, instead of looking for differences, try looking at similarities.

Its the similarities that create the relationship that works for us as humans and consumers of new products or services. Designers use the term design semantics. An object has to say something about itself; say something about its larger context; and about the user who interacts with it.

Design semantics is communication through displays of information; graphic elements; shape and texture; and indications of internal state (e.g. battery life left, etc…). In short, a design has to convey what it does. For example, a car has to look like it functions as a car. With typography, the letters have to be readable as letters.

As designers, we have to operate under the premise that people are stupid and consider that when designing each aspect of your work. Don’t make people think too hard. If it takes more energy to interpret your design, then your user will go elsewhere.

Similarities lead to better design semantics and a better experience.

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Caterpillars

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly.

Think of your initial design concepts as caterpillars–rather clumsy, slow, vulnerable to a quick death, etc… But, if you let it continue to thrive with evolving iterations determined by your own somatic changes as well as outside feedback, this caterpillar of a design concept will incubate into a full-fledged viable design solution.

No idea is viable from its initial conception. It has to become viable through feedback from the real world. Designers should never design in a vacuum. Being part of a group to get feedback helps an idea become something beautiful.

Let the design process happen and let the world benefit from your butterflies.

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