Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Demystifying Design: An Argument for Simplicity

This is an awesome and insightful read from Joe Duffy for anyone that's ever been lulled to sleep sitting through another creative brief that begins by explaining process as a way of presenting design or branding services.

Process is vital but first things first!

For once can we please just forget the mountain of stats, graphs, focus groups, polls and PowerPoint nonsense and begin by substituting all that pretentious, fancy-ass account executive flim-flam jargon and simply cut to the chase? Can we just use some plain, straightforward and honest language while we focus on creating and delivering a simple, compelling, differentiating idea, one that's ultimately and consistently executed?

"As a designer I see this as both an opportunity and a responsibility. The opportunity is to continue to use our craft wisely, to solve real business problems, to deliver a means to help people find products and services that are uniquely well suited to make their lives a little better every day. Getting there requires that designers and our clients keep things simple."

What is design? It's art and commerce, fashion and environment. It's industrial and digital, graphic and experiential. It begins with ideas--ideas based in purpose. It requires a plan or a process. It yields innovation, invention or creation. It is successful if it elicits response--attention, desire, interaction or purchase.

Design is as much a process as it is an end product. The process should be simple.

The best strategy behind design is all about collection and collaboration - of people, talents, ideas, perspectives. It's about truly seeing vs. just looking. It's about being curious about what you're seeing, what it means or what it could mean if used in a new way or combined with other ideas or images. It takes a certain appetite and ability to digest.

Honestly it's simple. The best talent understands that. Rarely does the most extensive or unique "process" produce the simple insights necessary to do more than document a situation. The proof is in the pudding. Talented designers create it.

Or as one of the masters of simplicity Tibor Kalman put it: The difference between good design and great design is intelligence.

That's Right,


Joe Duffy is principal and chairman of Duffy & Partners - check out his Duffy Point of View blog over at Fast Company.