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U&lc - Classic design magazine curated by Herb Lubalin. Get to know it. 
Oh and read the text on the page. It’s extremely interesting.

U&lc - Classic design magazine curated by Herb Lubalin. Get to know it. 

Oh and read the text on the page. It’s extremely interesting.

Designing Experiences

I hear so many complaints from businesses when they work with designers that they don’t return phone calls or emails promptly. Many times the client feels as if the designer is haphazard and disorganized. This lack of communication causes unnecessary frustration and distrust during a project.

Creatives believe in designing great products. But what about designing great experiences? Once we have established a product an excellent client experience needs to be an integral part of the design process. Qualities such as Professional/Clear/Concise communication, detailed project planning, consistency, etc. These qualities are not just smart business ideals. They are smart design decisions. Make every customer (within reason) your trophy client. If every part of your process is geared towards the client they will be more likely to take you and your work seriously. In addition this will help generate referrals quickly. A thrilled client will be quick to talk about the incredible experience they’ve had with you.

Some things to try: Call clients to confirm appointments. Send gifts such as thank you cards or discounts on future work. Call and let them know how much you appreciate their business and love working with them. Ask them how you can improve your process for future projects. Ask if you can show of a project you’ve done together, this might be assumed but this is an opportunity compliment them and make them feel good about the work you’ve done together. As them about something other than work sometimes! Get to know them.

Tell us about some great client experiences you’ve designed.

This years goals!

  1. Design a print publication.
  2. Acquire an official office location.
  3. Facilitate one design event in Grand Rapids.
  4. Design/Produce 3 new prints.
  5. Take one client from nothing to an established brand.
  6. Design one new font.

A few of my goals from today… Ready to make them happen.

Just wait.

We all want to do everything. Creatively I think that is, by definition, an inherent trait. I myself find myself constantly shifting my focus from one interest to another but in the end. You can’t be a great web designer, programmer, packaging engineer, printmaker, etc. In the process loose something. Maybe its just passion for any one thing? Maybe its that focused skill of a professional?

Ok I’m getting off topic. 

Generally we all love many things but we couldn’t do many things every day - An important point in life is realizing when you can’t take on another job. Or maybe passing up a paid job to wait for one that you’ll love. In the meantime you can rest, play, work on a personal project or just take some down time to let your brain open up to new ideas instead of the long to-do lists.

Either way, once you do get the project you want you’ll be ready for it and you will be able to give it the full attention it needs to get you more work in that direction.

Quit.

This past weekend some friends and I saw one of our favorite restaurants close. It was well loved but it just wasn’t making it. The owners were breaking even and more importantly they weren’t doing what they loved. They loved to cook. They were in a large space with a number of employees and also running the menu at another high end restaurant. They had too much to do and suddenly they became managers. 

So they Quit. 

Despite the murmurs about where we are going to eat breakfast it became clear they made a brave decision. They decided to get rid of the distractions. Cut back. Do less. Worry less. Work Less. Most of us are afraid of less. If we have less we feel inhibited, not free. What we can’t have seems to monopolize our thoughts. But there is another way to look at this. Less means not having to worry about it all. Less means fewer things can go wrong. Less managing. Less busywork. Less employees. Less overhead. Less payroll. 

Less really means freedom. Freedom to do what they’ve wanted to this whole time. More doesn’t mean more creativity or enjoyment. A bigger company, a bigger restaurant, more employees means you will end up in more meetings. Managing larger, more complex projects. The key word here is managing.

I left the weekend feeling inspired by this and I think you’ll understand my point now. So many people sacrifice what they love to have more. To feel secure. To feel busy. But so many of us could stand to just let go of something to really begin to bloom.

Ben Pieratt's Blog: In Praise of Quitting Your Job

(Alternate title: The New Work Ethic)

I wrote this email to a friend a few weeks ago, and then the topic came up again last night with an old buddy who was frustrated with his work. He seemed to appreciate what I had to say, so I figured it might be worth sharing:

- - -

Thinking about your…

Great Project or Great Process?

I was reading a statistic recently that stated that the freelance community of graphic designers would more than double in 2010. This means a lot more talent, wit, management, etc. Will be entering the arena and competing for the same work.

It will also mean that designers will be focused on creating compelling work. Now don’t get me wrong. I love shiny portfolio’s with lots of glossy images. I spend more time than I’d like to admit just browsing through them… The problem I see occurring as I collaborate with more creatives is too much focus on the product. They want to create amazing work. But they also want it fast and they need to make money. Almost as if putting out lots of work will bring customers from all over the globe.

In the mean time they do a terrible job of communicating with their team (designers, developers, etc) and worst of all, their clients. They take on too much, they don’t share work well, and when it comes down to a great experience they end up pushing lofty ideas withouth proper resources. In the end everyone is stressed out because the focus was the project, not the process.


Great process always trumps a great project over the long haul. If you focus on making the creative process one of continous exploration & clear communication it helps everyone get on board and share. We have too many great ideas getting killed because we miss the gold along the way.

As a company evolves, as this one has - so does visual identity. But a brand is much more than a logo it’s the people, the environment, the total experience that makes it memorable.
– Alexander Brebner, designer, writer & extraordinary creative entity 

Hard work is overrated!

I stumbled on this article this morning. Discussing the benefits of “goofing off” as opposed to working harder than everyone else.

The flypaper of an unfocused mind may trap new ideas and unexpected associations more effectively than methodical reasoning. That may create the mental framework for new ideas. “You can see regions of these networks becoming active just prior to people arriving at an insight,” she says.

Fast Company

Where do you find your best ideas?

These “tangents” may be your most important assets for a successful creative career.

Do they typically come at 5am — Just hours before the big pitch? When your in the shower or out on a run? Or maybe they hit you when your just sitting outside or staring out the window.

Tell us about some of your greatest unexpected creative moments.

Appreciation Feedback

I just finished the book Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. I would highly recommend it to any creative or entreprenuer out there.

One of the thoughts that stuck out to me though we a brief section on Appreciation Feedback. Sounds a bit too “nice” for my taste to be honest but it makes a lot of sense. Here is an excerpt from the book:

People need to relax to be able to discover. Our unconscious won’t come forward and help us see things when we are too logical and focused on criticism. Sometimes some one will say, “I just want to know how to improve, not what is good.” People think that pointing out faults is the only way to improve. Appreciations are not about being polite. They are about point out what is alive. The recipient must take it in and incorporate it.

In another example earlier in the chapter the process of appreciation feedback is implemented by bringing in designers for first round reviews and instead of criticism. Everyone in the room says 3 things they love about the piece. The designer is then sent off to work in a revision before a formal critique is held. Almost always the revised product is much improved before an actual critism. This helps reduce the “negative moementum” we all face whenever we step out to execute and idea. It helps us focus on forward  progress not arm chair quarterback tactics.

I’m thinking about implementing this myself. Has anyone else experienced a feedback system like this? If so comment or tweet with your experience please.

Satisficers & Maximizers

Since I have been on a kick about options, simplicity and the “underdo” concept in general I thought I would talk about Maximizers…

Schwartz relates the ideas of psychologist Herbert Simon from the 1950s to the psychological stress which faces most consumers today. He notes some important distinctions between, what Simon termed,maximizers and satisficers. A maximizer is like a perfectionist, someone who needs to be assured that their every purchase or decision was the best that could be made. The way a maximizer knows for certain is to consider all the alternatives they can imagine. This creates a psychologically daunting task, which can become even more daunting as the number of options increases. The alternative to maximizing is to be a satisficer. A satisficer has criteria and standards, but a satisficer is not worried about the possibility that there might be something better. Ultimately, Schwartz agrees with Simon’s conclusion, thatsatisficing is, in fact, the maximizing strategy.

Many clients ask for 3, 4, 10 concepts to review for the final products in hopes that they will be able to eliminate obvious bad choices and make better decisions. In theory this makes sense but often it burns out designers who have to push through mediocre work instead of focusing on 1 or 2 excellent concepts and dialing in on great ideas. Not to mention most clients will them mix together 2 or 3 of the designs they like in hopes to get the best of everything. 

Balancing creativity and productivity is always a struggle for me. Knowing when to take some time and wait for an idea or push forward a good idea with excellent execution is always hard. Design is not a 3-step problem/solution process. Give 10 designers the same project and you are garunteed to get completely different solutions.

Don’t let perfect get in the way of unique ideas. 

Give ‘Em What They Want

Clients hire designers to visualize something they cannot. Otherwise they wouldn’t need the designer. They would a mouse and keyboard.

5 Minutes

A story from Signal Vs Noise:

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”

So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”

“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.

“B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”

To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”

What to charge is a constant topic of debate among designers and clients… Actually most of the time it’s between the client and designer. We try to quantify our product by the amount of effort it takes and if something comes easy its especially hard for clients to feel like they are “getting what they paid for” in terms of work. Just because something is simple, basic, easy, black&white, etc. Does not subtract from its value as a piece of Design.

Designers don’t take the true cost of their work into account most of the time and with each hourly proposal clients will ask for more for less.

Clients aren’t just getting the hours spent on their project directly.

They are paying for all of them and that can’t be quantified.

The Paradox of Choice

The need for options comes up again and again with clients. Many times it’s to “insure” that they get the best possible design for their brand, website, product, etc. Almost universally when 2 or more options are presented the client immediately begin pulling aspects of each design and start pushing them together… Or worse yet, they come with a new idea of what everything should look like and ask if one or both of the options could be incorporated into that new idea.

More and more my answer is becoming no.

Not because I’m a jerk - Maybe I am.

Regardless the point is this. We live in an over saturated culture. Maybe you remember when you were younger, your parents would say, “You can be anything you want, the possiblities are endless, etc”. But in an effort to reach out for the best… No, the perfect option with hundreds of features for every audience imaginable (young-fresh-sophisiticated-edgy-powerful-delicate-intriguing-colorful-simple-exciting)… The client and the designer both become completely and hopelessly dissatisfied. 

It’s no ones fault but everyone feels worse for it. 

In the future - Push for one great idea. There are no perfect ideas. But a well executed, simple idea is more powerful than 100 iterations that still hasn’t launched.

+ A great talk on the Paradox of Choice

(F)art

there are badly stated problems in basic design, stressing pure aesthetics, free expression, without any restraints or practical goals. Such a problem may be posed in this fashion: arrange a group of geometric shapes in any manner you see fit, using any number of colors, to make a pleasing pattern. The results of such vagaries are sometimes pretty, but mostly meaningless or monotonous. The student has the illusion of creating great art in an atmosphere of freedom, when in fact he is handicapped by the absence of certain disciplines which would evoke ideas, make playing with those ideas possible, work absorbing, and results interesting.
Paul Rand 

We all know this is true. I keep seeing great artists go into the design world with a sense of superiority just because they can draw. Don’t get me wrong, drawing is a great tool but in the design world it can’t compete with a great concept/message/idea/etc. Art could stand to help some work’s aesthetic but as a whole making something the visual equivalent of frosting on a cake will serve to do about just as much good as sugary frosting…

U&lc - Classic design magazine curated by Herb Lubalin. Get to know it. 
Oh and read the text on the page. It’s extremely interesting.

U&lc - Classic design magazine curated by Herb Lubalin. Get to know it. 

Oh and read the text on the page. It’s extremely interesting.

Designing Experiences

I hear so many complaints from businesses when they work with designers that they don’t return phone calls or emails promptly. Many times the client feels as if the designer is haphazard and disorganized. This lack of communication causes unnecessary frustration and distrust during a project.

Creatives believe in designing great products. But what about designing great experiences? Once we have established a product an excellent client experience needs to be an integral part of the design process. Qualities such as Professional/Clear/Concise communication, detailed project planning, consistency, etc. These qualities are not just smart business ideals. They are smart design decisions. Make every customer (within reason) your trophy client. If every part of your process is geared towards the client they will be more likely to take you and your work seriously. In addition this will help generate referrals quickly. A thrilled client will be quick to talk about the incredible experience they’ve had with you.

Some things to try: Call clients to confirm appointments. Send gifts such as thank you cards or discounts on future work. Call and let them know how much you appreciate their business and love working with them. Ask them how you can improve your process for future projects. Ask if you can show of a project you’ve done together, this might be assumed but this is an opportunity compliment them and make them feel good about the work you’ve done together. As them about something other than work sometimes! Get to know them.

Tell us about some great client experiences you’ve designed.

This years goals!

  1. Design a print publication.
  2. Acquire an official office location.
  3. Facilitate one design event in Grand Rapids.
  4. Design/Produce 3 new prints.
  5. Take one client from nothing to an established brand.
  6. Design one new font.

A few of my goals from today… Ready to make them happen.

Just wait.

We all want to do everything. Creatively I think that is, by definition, an inherent trait. I myself find myself constantly shifting my focus from one interest to another but in the end. You can’t be a great web designer, programmer, packaging engineer, printmaker, etc. In the process loose something. Maybe its just passion for any one thing? Maybe its that focused skill of a professional?

Ok I’m getting off topic. 

Generally we all love many things but we couldn’t do many things every day - An important point in life is realizing when you can’t take on another job. Or maybe passing up a paid job to wait for one that you’ll love. In the meantime you can rest, play, work on a personal project or just take some down time to let your brain open up to new ideas instead of the long to-do lists.

Either way, once you do get the project you want you’ll be ready for it and you will be able to give it the full attention it needs to get you more work in that direction.

Quit.

This past weekend some friends and I saw one of our favorite restaurants close. It was well loved but it just wasn’t making it. The owners were breaking even and more importantly they weren’t doing what they loved. They loved to cook. They were in a large space with a number of employees and also running the menu at another high end restaurant. They had too much to do and suddenly they became managers. 

So they Quit. 

Despite the murmurs about where we are going to eat breakfast it became clear they made a brave decision. They decided to get rid of the distractions. Cut back. Do less. Worry less. Work Less. Most of us are afraid of less. If we have less we feel inhibited, not free. What we can’t have seems to monopolize our thoughts. But there is another way to look at this. Less means not having to worry about it all. Less means fewer things can go wrong. Less managing. Less busywork. Less employees. Less overhead. Less payroll. 

Less really means freedom. Freedom to do what they’ve wanted to this whole time. More doesn’t mean more creativity or enjoyment. A bigger company, a bigger restaurant, more employees means you will end up in more meetings. Managing larger, more complex projects. The key word here is managing.

I left the weekend feeling inspired by this and I think you’ll understand my point now. So many people sacrifice what they love to have more. To feel secure. To feel busy. But so many of us could stand to just let go of something to really begin to bloom.

Ben Pieratt's Blog: In Praise of Quitting Your Job

(Alternate title: The New Work Ethic)

I wrote this email to a friend a few weeks ago, and then the topic came up again last night with an old buddy who was frustrated with his work. He seemed to appreciate what I had to say, so I figured it might be worth sharing:

- - -

Thinking about your…

Great Project or Great Process?

I was reading a statistic recently that stated that the freelance community of graphic designers would more than double in 2010. This means a lot more talent, wit, management, etc. Will be entering the arena and competing for the same work.

It will also mean that designers will be focused on creating compelling work. Now don’t get me wrong. I love shiny portfolio’s with lots of glossy images. I spend more time than I’d like to admit just browsing through them… The problem I see occurring as I collaborate with more creatives is too much focus on the product. They want to create amazing work. But they also want it fast and they need to make money. Almost as if putting out lots of work will bring customers from all over the globe.

In the mean time they do a terrible job of communicating with their team (designers, developers, etc) and worst of all, their clients. They take on too much, they don’t share work well, and when it comes down to a great experience they end up pushing lofty ideas withouth proper resources. In the end everyone is stressed out because the focus was the project, not the process.


Great process always trumps a great project over the long haul. If you focus on making the creative process one of continous exploration & clear communication it helps everyone get on board and share. We have too many great ideas getting killed because we miss the gold along the way.

As a company evolves, as this one has - so does visual identity. But a brand is much more than a logo it’s the people, the environment, the total experience that makes it memorable.
– Alexander Brebner, designer, writer & extraordinary creative entity 

Hard work is overrated!

I stumbled on this article this morning. Discussing the benefits of “goofing off” as opposed to working harder than everyone else.

The flypaper of an unfocused mind may trap new ideas and unexpected associations more effectively than methodical reasoning. That may create the mental framework for new ideas. “You can see regions of these networks becoming active just prior to people arriving at an insight,” she says.

Fast Company

Where do you find your best ideas?

These “tangents” may be your most important assets for a successful creative career.

Do they typically come at 5am — Just hours before the big pitch? When your in the shower or out on a run? Or maybe they hit you when your just sitting outside or staring out the window.

Tell us about some of your greatest unexpected creative moments.

Appreciation Feedback

I just finished the book Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. I would highly recommend it to any creative or entreprenuer out there.

One of the thoughts that stuck out to me though we a brief section on Appreciation Feedback. Sounds a bit too “nice” for my taste to be honest but it makes a lot of sense. Here is an excerpt from the book:

People need to relax to be able to discover. Our unconscious won’t come forward and help us see things when we are too logical and focused on criticism. Sometimes some one will say, “I just want to know how to improve, not what is good.” People think that pointing out faults is the only way to improve. Appreciations are not about being polite. They are about point out what is alive. The recipient must take it in and incorporate it.

In another example earlier in the chapter the process of appreciation feedback is implemented by bringing in designers for first round reviews and instead of criticism. Everyone in the room says 3 things they love about the piece. The designer is then sent off to work in a revision before a formal critique is held. Almost always the revised product is much improved before an actual critism. This helps reduce the “negative moementum” we all face whenever we step out to execute and idea. It helps us focus on forward  progress not arm chair quarterback tactics.

I’m thinking about implementing this myself. Has anyone else experienced a feedback system like this? If so comment or tweet with your experience please.

Satisficers & Maximizers

Since I have been on a kick about options, simplicity and the “underdo” concept in general I thought I would talk about Maximizers…

Schwartz relates the ideas of psychologist Herbert Simon from the 1950s to the psychological stress which faces most consumers today. He notes some important distinctions between, what Simon termed,maximizers and satisficers. A maximizer is like a perfectionist, someone who needs to be assured that their every purchase or decision was the best that could be made. The way a maximizer knows for certain is to consider all the alternatives they can imagine. This creates a psychologically daunting task, which can become even more daunting as the number of options increases. The alternative to maximizing is to be a satisficer. A satisficer has criteria and standards, but a satisficer is not worried about the possibility that there might be something better. Ultimately, Schwartz agrees with Simon’s conclusion, thatsatisficing is, in fact, the maximizing strategy.

Many clients ask for 3, 4, 10 concepts to review for the final products in hopes that they will be able to eliminate obvious bad choices and make better decisions. In theory this makes sense but often it burns out designers who have to push through mediocre work instead of focusing on 1 or 2 excellent concepts and dialing in on great ideas. Not to mention most clients will them mix together 2 or 3 of the designs they like in hopes to get the best of everything. 

Balancing creativity and productivity is always a struggle for me. Knowing when to take some time and wait for an idea or push forward a good idea with excellent execution is always hard. Design is not a 3-step problem/solution process. Give 10 designers the same project and you are garunteed to get completely different solutions.

Don’t let perfect get in the way of unique ideas. 

Give ‘Em What They Want

Clients hire designers to visualize something they cannot. Otherwise they wouldn’t need the designer. They would a mouse and keyboard.

5 Minutes

A story from Signal Vs Noise:

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”

So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”

“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.

“B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”

To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”

What to charge is a constant topic of debate among designers and clients… Actually most of the time it’s between the client and designer. We try to quantify our product by the amount of effort it takes and if something comes easy its especially hard for clients to feel like they are “getting what they paid for” in terms of work. Just because something is simple, basic, easy, black&white, etc. Does not subtract from its value as a piece of Design.

Designers don’t take the true cost of their work into account most of the time and with each hourly proposal clients will ask for more for less.

Clients aren’t just getting the hours spent on their project directly.

They are paying for all of them and that can’t be quantified.

The Paradox of Choice

The need for options comes up again and again with clients. Many times it’s to “insure” that they get the best possible design for their brand, website, product, etc. Almost universally when 2 or more options are presented the client immediately begin pulling aspects of each design and start pushing them together… Or worse yet, they come with a new idea of what everything should look like and ask if one or both of the options could be incorporated into that new idea.

More and more my answer is becoming no.

Not because I’m a jerk - Maybe I am.

Regardless the point is this. We live in an over saturated culture. Maybe you remember when you were younger, your parents would say, “You can be anything you want, the possiblities are endless, etc”. But in an effort to reach out for the best… No, the perfect option with hundreds of features for every audience imaginable (young-fresh-sophisiticated-edgy-powerful-delicate-intriguing-colorful-simple-exciting)… The client and the designer both become completely and hopelessly dissatisfied. 

It’s no ones fault but everyone feels worse for it. 

In the future - Push for one great idea. There are no perfect ideas. But a well executed, simple idea is more powerful than 100 iterations that still hasn’t launched.

+ A great talk on the Paradox of Choice

(F)art

there are badly stated problems in basic design, stressing pure aesthetics, free expression, without any restraints or practical goals. Such a problem may be posed in this fashion: arrange a group of geometric shapes in any manner you see fit, using any number of colors, to make a pleasing pattern. The results of such vagaries are sometimes pretty, but mostly meaningless or monotonous. The student has the illusion of creating great art in an atmosphere of freedom, when in fact he is handicapped by the absence of certain disciplines which would evoke ideas, make playing with those ideas possible, work absorbing, and results interesting.
Paul Rand 

We all know this is true. I keep seeing great artists go into the design world with a sense of superiority just because they can draw. Don’t get me wrong, drawing is a great tool but in the design world it can’t compete with a great concept/message/idea/etc. Art could stand to help some work’s aesthetic but as a whole making something the visual equivalent of frosting on a cake will serve to do about just as much good as sugary frosting…

Designing Experiences
This years goals!
Just wait.
Quit.
Great Project or Great Process?
"As a company evolves, as this one has - so does visual identity. But a brand is much more than a logo it’s the people, the environment, the total experience that makes it memorable."
Hard work is overrated!
Appreciation Feedback
Satisficers & Maximizers
Give ‘Em What They Want
5 Minutes
The Paradox of Choice
(F)art

About:

Justlucky is made up of a group of talented individuals who come together around a project. This has been an excellent way to service each client appropriately. Our strength is not in our size but in our scalability. We have been able to collaborate with individuals and corporations from LA to Europe because of our robust network of professionals. This is exactly what gives us the ability to confidently respond to a variety of project requests.

Our design community is for those with ideas, for people who have something to say and want to say it better.

www.yourjustlucky.com

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