Make it a big one

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“Telling a story” is what marketing is all about these days.  It’s the trend. It’s everywhere. Apple is pushing it. Subaru is pushing it. The story tellers will win the war for our attention. We relate to stories. We understand stories. We are built to story-tell.

What’s your story?

The greatest minds I have ever had the privilege of hearing speak, know their story. They know what they stand for. They know their weaknesses. They know their strengths. Most of them can state their personal vision and values in 10 words or less. Can you describe YOU in ten words or less?

YOU are a brand. You have a story. Might as well make it a big one.

The Risk of Complacency

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I once heard RiCardo Crespo, Chief Creative Officer of 20th Century Fox, say, “Burn Your Ships,” meaning, once you get comfortable with where you’re at, move on to the next adventure. How else will you gather life experiences and grow as a person and a creative?

Intention and Design

If there is one thing I have learned as a designer, it’s that intention is everything. Behind every design decision we make should be intention – a solid reason for the choice you made. Intention means purpose. You chose blue – why? Because it conveys a cool, calming feeling and contrasts well with the yellow in the imagery. Oh, ok cool. Your intention is the foundation of the decisions you make and the rationale to back up your decision should someone question you. If you don’t ask yourself what the intention was, someone else will. Or worse, your client with no design knowledge whatsoever, will simply “not like it.”

I’ve learned over my short tenure in the professional world that if I approached my boss with a design and a weak stance, it would be ripped to shreds and pummeled with questions. I’ve learned to be prepared.

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I present to him as if he were my client, with a clean, professional presentation sheet for him to peruse over. Throwing .jpgs, .pdfs, and oh yeah, that file over there, at him added to the flurry of information being presented when all I wanted him to focus on was the design. The lesson: keep it clean, keep it simple, be prepared, and always be professional. The real, valuable questions are asked once the distractions are reduced.

In an interview with Mallika Chopra, founder of and daughter of a masterful mind-body spiritual healer, she states, “Sometimes it’s really hard for people to state an intent because you have to commit and sometimes people just aren’t ready  to do that or they really don’t know what they want.” She goes on to say that people often know what they want in their hearts and heads, but have a hard time articulating it. The same applies to many young designers I know (myself included!) – the underlying purpose is often difficult to wrap a bow around once asked to speak to the design’s intention, but nevertheless, they have a natural tendency to design well. The bridge between young designer to mature designer, or designer to non-designer client, can be crossed once the ability to articulate your intention is mastered. When intention is applied, understood, and accepted, it drives a personal motivation, creating relevance, and giving purpose to your design and overall, increases the chances of it being accepted by your boss or client.

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Did I miss anything in regards to intention and design? Something key you’ve learned? Please share!