When I was in kinder we were asked to sit in a circle and each says our favourite colour, out of about 60 kids I was the last to go. When it got to me I was really upset for orange; not a single other kid had picked it.
From that moment on I decided orange would be my favourite colour (at the time my favourite colour was actually blue). Every time I’d paint or draw it would be orange, even though I actually didn’t like it, but I over time I grew to love it. As a symbolic gesture, it’s even been built into our own studio's identity.
I love this question, I’ve got a few ‘favourites’ however my absolute favourite was one of my first ever projects. At my first design job, I was assigned a task, to photoshop a baby (in a nappy only) into a building work site. That baby had to have arms raised and be holding an industrial-sized steel beam. I remember thinking, oh-shit, is this as good as it gets?
Now whenever I get a similar request, I look back on ‘the baby holding the steel beam’ moment and realise for some people this is good design to them, it’s what they know, what they’ve previously been exposed to.
It’s given me the impetus to discover how to help educate clients on what is good and what is bad design. I’ve realised that sometimes you just have to tell them straight out and not worry about hurting their feelings, because you do it, knowing that it’s ultimately for their product or business’s benefit.
This is an easy one. First and foremost I now understand the challenges of running a business, so anyone that can do it for many years (or decades) and maintain their standard and continue to produce market cut-through work gets my attention. These aren’t just right-now crushes, these are enduring.
Typically I’m drawn to studios whose body of work either reflects their own unique style or that their work is so broad that you know they really understand the client’s audience and the collaborative process. They aren’t dictated by trend or placing more importance in talking to a design audience.
So top 5 are:
Don’t burn the candle at both ends. (eg. don’t come to work early AND leave late)
As a young designer in my first few jobs, I would show up to work early in the morning and leave late at night. I was driven to succeed and passionate about design and making fast improvements, but it affected my health, in the first year I put on 8kg.
It was a creative director in the UK that gave me this advice. Don’t get me wrong I still love what I do and put in the hours, I’m a morning person (and I run a design business) so getting into work at 6 is not unusual, but I’m usually out the door on the dot or just before. I’m still as creative, still exploring, but healthier and happier and my wife and young children certainly appreciate it.
With the rise of social media, everyone is a designer…
It will be the studios that are able to prove that they can add significant value through design intelligence that will thrive. This intelligence begins with understanding the changing psychology of each target audience and how they interact and respond to design.
Full of learning and discovering how to adapt to new challenges.