Rally the Neophiles | Software Branding

It doesn't make sense to build for anyone else.

January 15, 2021

How much marketshare do you want? All of it?

Wow. That's an ambitious goal.

You want it now? Dang. Sounds like you're a real go-getter.

You can't have it.

At least not now. You're not ready. But there is a clear starting point that every successful software out there has shown us: build for neophiles. The innovators and early-adopters. It simply doesn't make sense to build for anyone else. Here's why:

Whenever we create something truly novel, we engage in pattern interrupt (thanks Seth Godin). Pattern interrupt places a user in a state of decision making, since they have encountered something outside their normal pattern of behavior. Slack, before it was adopted by every single organization worth talking about, was a pattern interrupt. Most teams communicated via email, text, etc. Not very effective. Even so, the thought of switching from the normal, (albeit shitty) pattern requires energy that people don't want to spend... unless trying out new things is their normal.

The only folks who fit that pattern are neophiles. They are people who want to find something new, who want to be in-the-know, and who are joyous when they find something novel they can test. Furthermore, they are the first stepping stone in gaining mass marketshare. If you want the masses to engage with your product, you have to first rally the Neophiles.

More you say?

Between Notes

Reasons to give layouts breathing room.

10.21.2020

I want you to imagine a drum kit. Now imagine someone sits on a stool behind it and persistently pounds the snare, the toms, and cymbals violently, repeatedly, and without rest. The resulting bash of noise is nothing you would expect from a top performer or something you'd want to hear on a record. It sucks.

Now think about someone else who tactfully and precisely plays each piece of the kit with rhythm and technique. They create a series of harmonious tones that entice your ears. They don't hit every piece at the exact same time, they let them breathe and give each its due space in the spotlight. They rest between notes.

Same principle applies to design. If you try to play all the pieces of your kit (a call to action, a tagline, your logo, information, graphs, charts, etc) at once, you will create noise.

Rest between notes.

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Show and Talk

Why designers need to get over the idea of crawling into a hole to make changes.

12.19.2019

I was giving an identity presentation to a client today and everything was going phenomenal. He liked the strategy behind the mark, thought it had a lot of character, and he was overall pleased with it. He did ask if he could see a slight variation of the mark.

What he had asked for was not going to work (I could see it in my head and it would've ruined the integrity of the logo). But, in the spirit of transparency, I replied with "let's try it out, right now."

Within five minutes, we had the options side-by-side and could clearly see that the previous mark was the better option.

If I had said, "ok let me get back to you in a day with these revisions," we both would have been frustrated. It's an unfortunate trope within the design community to never show the client your workspace or your design files. Which I don't understand, because I certainly feel engaged and have more respect for other craftsmen who show me their process. More important, it helps me hold it in reverence and respect the decisions they make.

Design is no different. If we are willing to be transparent and walk clients through the entire process, show them how our opinions are formulated, and talk through the solution, everyone is happier.

Show your work and talk about it. Being creative is simply not enough, you have to be able to articulate your thinking.

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