Stop trying so hard.


Today I had a conversation with a very talented designer who’s just started with us.

We talked about a project she’s been on and how she’d become a bit stymied by it. Probably because she was brand new and was feeling the pressure to be brilliant right on day one.

Then she gave up. Went home early. Walked away from it.

And started back at it later with all the pressure removed. And sailed through her first designs, and got to a really nice place with the project.

All because she’d stopped trying so hard. Which meant she could actually get her thinking straight.

It made me think about most of the times we try to create things

The more we try the less we create. You can’t schedule a moment when it all comes together. And the more you fret the worse you get.

Often  you get surprised by an idea.

You’ve stuffed your head with all the facts, chewed the brief over, kicked it about the room, then leave it. Then the subconscious mind takes over.

And occasionally an idea just sneaks up on you.

The very talented and engaging type-obsessed Andrew Byrom covers some of this in his talk “If H is a chair…”

He says (round about the 4 min mark) once you have the beginnings, of an idea, typefaces kind of design themselves.

We live in an age when the polish is becoming more important than the shoe. But when you get the thinking right, the rest follows.

We were once being briefed by the very smart Paul Bartlett, now Marketing Director of C&C, the Magners people. This was when he was at Bulmers.

He was describing how Bulmers was made at zero degrees and Magners wasn’t. And they wanted to leverage that against Magners in reaching cider-over-ice drinkers.

“So you make it that way because they drink it that way?” I said. Paul touched his nose, like they do in Charades. We knew we were spot on.

After that, getting to an ad where bottles swam like salmon back to colder climates (because they were born for ice) was the easy bit.

As Andrew Byrom would say, it just kind of designed itself.

You can see his talk here


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