This morning I found a new comment on an old post of a video I’d shared from my phone, without anything but a title, because I felt that it spoke for itself.
To respond to the comment more usefully, I watched the video again. It still speaks for itself, but it inspires plenty of consideration. Here’s the (short) video again for reference, followed by five lessons it inspires for getting the most out of your designer.
You can’t step in the same river twice
Case in point, simply watching the video again inspired a series of considerations and a new blog post. When you see something for the second time, you’re looking at it with fresh eyes.
Even if you’ve only just watched it, you’ve been changed for having done so.
Solving communications problems is a means to an end, not an end in itself
One of the most striking points the video makes is how, given little time, everyone’s first idea is the same.
If you can see the answer before you’ve spent time doing some design thinking on it, chances are you’ve got a recipe for irrelevance. Blending in. Being ignored.
It may be cheaper/quicker to come up with the obvious solution in the short term, but that’s thinking about your communications challenges as expenses instead of investments, and that deal won’t look so great when it doesn’t actually solve your problem.
Great ideas come from perspective
The reason more time yields better results is that it give designers a chance to reframe the problem. Like (the inspiring) Dorothea Brande said:
“A problem clearly stated is a problem half solved”
Designers have many tactics for getting fresh perspective–by making connections through research, by making things real in draft form and iterating on them, etc–all of which take time.
A lot of work goes into making things look ‘simple’
This is another take on the way the kids come up with the same solution given the short time frame.
Many people assume something is simple because they’ve seen something similar somewhere else. We’re all inundated with so much media that we’re conscious of visual tropes, feel like we know what we’re after. And because even a layman can recognize these conventions, we assume they’re easy to easy to execute.
The reality is that the aesthetics we recognize, are comfortable with and accept as appropriate are from magazines, movies and brands with big budgets. They’ve spent the money on research, strategy, design and production to net out at that perfectly articulated idea in your head.
Client insight + designer’s unique perspective = magic
The range of conceptual and aesthetic variations the kids arrive at when given the time reminds us that getting good work is as much about chemistry as anything else. If you only want designers to execute your vision, you’re using a fraction of what they have to offer.
Designers spend ALL of their time solving problems. From framing them to agonizing over minutiae in their execution. Their hands offer much more when working in sync with their hearts and minds. So talk to yours about your goals and define the challenge together. You may find that you were solving the wrong problem.