Ugly Scaffold

Why you shouldn't be surprised by any of the creative you make.

October 28, 2020

Cinema has done a phenomenal job of showing us drama. Think about it, if everything in a movie went according to plan and the characters acted rationally, there'd be no tension and therefore no movie. It'd just be a walk through of good decision making and civic discussion about what to do next. It'd follow a logical progression.

What sucks is that creatives often infuse that drama into their creative process in the form of a pitch or a big reveal.

This isn't good. Pitches put both parties in a bad position and create an ultimatum from the event. How do we fix that?

We scaffold. More importantly, we build an ugly scaffold.

A scaffold? Yes, like the one's you see on the sides of skyscrapers. These structures follow the building from the ground up and work alongside the deliverable until it is ready to show. They are hideous, but they allow everyone to safely navigate from the ground-level to the top.

What does scaffolding look like for building a brand identity?

  • Discovery and research
  • Strategic alignment and goal setting
  • Brand audit
  • Stylescapes and creative direction
  • Showing sketches and ugly iterations
  • A final deliverable

A good designer can educate and guide folks along the process (and it better be a process) from nothing to something. Instead of a giant presentation where clients give a giant "yes" or a giant "no," scaffolding allows for small tweaks along the way and a unified effort.

Build an ugly scaffold.

More you say?

"Do You Like it?" is a Stupid Question

And you should use this method instead.

5.7.2020

When doing design work, it's important to get feedback. However, the kind of feedback you get will make all the difference. Without beating around the bush, getting feedback that is entirely subjective is gonna end poorly, especially if you're trying to be different. The key is to be objective.

For example, when designing logos for clients, a client will often ask someone close to them: "which one do you like?"

Chances are, the respondent won't like any of them (for irrelevant reasons) or they mask the truth out of fear for hurting someone else's feelings. Either way, the feedback to this question is shit. Always.

Instead you have to think about the goals you are looking to achieve, such as aligning something like a logo to your brand. The best way to do this is what I like to call the binary method. If you know what you want someone to feel when they look at your company, then you can also define the opposite. If you want someone to feel edgy, modern, and sleek (you should define these in your own words, mind you) then the opposite of your goal would be to have them feel safe, nostalgic, and rough.

At this point you can ask, "does this feel more modern or nostalgic?"

Following up with "what makes you feel that way?" since the reasons might be extremely personal. Granted, a logo needs to be contextualized with other branded elements to get feedback on something like its alignment to the brand.

This goes far with getting valuable feedback that you can actual improve from and makes subjectivity less prevalent. Regardless of what design project you're working on, knowing what your goal is and the ability to articulate the opposite gives you framework for getting concrete answers.

read more

F Word 3: Forthright

Look in the damn mirror.

9.23.2020

Without a genuine and honest view of ourselves and our visions, we cannot expect to move forward.

Our culture abhors imperfection. We alter beautiful people in photoshop to achieve god-like standards. We post pictures of our significant other during our vacation to Fiji on Instagram, but neglect the brokenness of the relationship. We lie to preserve a false sense of perfection.

Fuck that and damn it to hell.

That is not the path of rebellion. That is conformity. That is a fearful shell of what could be and shifts one's focus to what others might think instead of what one can do.

Why forthright?

/ˈfôrTHˌrīt/ direct and outspoken; straightforward and honest.

Being forthright doesn't beat around the bush. It means stating simply whether something is good or bad. Yes and no, not maybe. Being forthright demands that you speak up and stake a claim.

This is most important when looking inward. A rebel must be honest with herself if any improvement is to be made. It is honesty that allows her to notice what could be better and act upon it earnestly. Even on a grander scale, it allows her to examine the impact of her vision and whether or not it is truly valuable to the world.

A rebel must be forthright.

read more