That you should decide what a design should do before you start to think about what it should look like.
That the person who has the authority to approve a project must be among those who provide the initial input and direction. Otherwise, everyone’s in trouble.
That you should be able to accurately describe a design over the phone. This means that you are working with an idea instead of a technique.
That brevity is the soul of wit. Yes, it is. Truly. The soul of wit. Yes, indeed. Brevity. It sure is.
That it takes a whole lot of work to make something seem effortless.
That if you don’t have anything to say, stop talking.
That there is no point whatsoever to salt-free potato chips.
That Elvis is alive, as long as you believe. Thankyouverymuch.
That if you look at any designer you admire, whose work inspires you, and whose approach somehow resonates with you, we promise you’ll see a person who does not think of what they do as just their job.
That sometimes luck needs a little push.
That Krispy Kreme doughnuts are the answer.
That design is a process that requires research, rigor, a nimble mind, and an appreciation of beauty (however you define it). It’s not a bunch of people sitting around a table wearing berets, “throwing out ideas” and sketching “concepts.” Although don’t get us wrong — we do like berets.
That “fa” really is not a long, long way to run.
That your identity is more than a logo, a typeface, and a color palette.
In the power of duct tape.
That, come to think of it, we would like to take a look at the cheese trolley after all.
That “brainstorming” is an excellent way to get a lot of really bad ideas together in a short amount of time. (We use a much better method to develop good ideas. Ask us.)
That the 1972 men’s U.S. Olympic basketball team wuz robbed big time. We’re still angry about that one. Really.
That if working out of a barn in Connecticut was good enough for Lester Beall, well, it’s good enough for us.
That if you buy quality you only cry once.
That you should never send an email when you’re angry.
That the best barbecue is North Carolina-style pulled pork with a vinegar-based sauce. (That’s not technically a belief, actually — it’s more of a fact.)
That you should be able to judge a book by its cover.
That there can be only one fifth Beatle, and it was not George Martin, Murray the K, Billy Preston, Brian Epstein, Pete Best, Neil Aspinall, or even Yoko but Stu Sutcliffe. Phil Spector? Please.
That “Pal Joey” is the great underappreciated American musical. Discuss.
That designers who don’t use prooferaders are crazy.
That yes, the typo in the previous line was on purpose.
That design is a powerful and magic art that must only be employed for good, not evil. (Unless someone has crossed you, of course.)
There’s no way that Batman and Robin could have put on their costumes while sliding down the bat-poles in stately Wayne Manor. We think about this a lot.
Really, would believe that? Come on.
That if you are a designer and you actually take the time to learn about a client’s business, you’ll do a better job. (OK, some of these are pretty obvious, we admit it. But a lot of people don’t seem to get this one. Crazy, right?)
That there is no way you can create a good design if you haven’t read the text. Um, duh.
That suckers walk.
That Bruno Hauptmann did it.
That “Louie, Louie” is not inherently dirty.
That if you build it, they will come. (And if you do a really good job building it, they’ll stand in line to get in.)
That while we appreciate the guileless appeal of SpongeBob, we’re on team Squidward.
That it was really annoying on “M*A*S*H” and “Happy Days” where, near the ends of their runs, the actors just kind of gave up and walked around wearing 1970s hairstyles and clothes, not even pretending to make it seem as if the events took place in the 1950s.
That Mrs. Partridge was hot.
That watermelon tastes better with salt. (It’s a southern thing.)
That if you can remove an element from a design and it still works, remove that element. Keep doing this until it falls apart, then put that last thing back in.
That if you “could care less” about something, it means that you hold it as something of importance — not the opposite. Grrrr. (OK, we’ll shut up about this kind of stuff. We know it annoys people at cocktail parties and on web sites.) (And don’t even get us started about “chomping at the bit.”)
In Zimmerman, in Elvis, in Beatles.
If you are a musician and you are lip-synching a performance, that’s bad enough — but jeez, at least plug a dummy cord in the guitar to make it seem sort of real.
That you should work with and for people you like.
That good work only happens when there is trust.
That you should beware of creative firms that claim to offer some sort of Proprietary Immersive Branding Methodology System™. (Hocus pocus, nos amis.)
That a champagne bath can really sting.
That (in pre-COVID days) standing in line outside waiting to get seated for brunch is nuts.
That Alex typed “in line” instead of “on line” because he’s not from New York. (Which is also why he refuses to stand in line for brunch.) Also, the word brunch.
That a brand is the promise of an experience.
That when clients are honest and divulge their budgets upfront, they’ll get a better, more resourceful, and more creative solution from their designer. Honest.
In half-full glasses.
That it is really hard to create a good design by noodling around on a laptop. Do some research. Make lists. Get some ideas. Get better ones. Make a sketch or two. Talk about them a bit. Make some decisions. OK, now it’s all right to crack open the hardware.
In loudly speaking actions.
That inspiration is contagious.
That your workplace should be invigorating.
That when a client says to us, “I trust you; do what you think is best. I know you won’t let me down,” we will not fail. We will expend incredible amounts of time and effort ensuring that the results are perfect. (It’s human nature to rise to that kind of challenge.)
That every assignment we undertake addresses considered areas of inquiry, incorporating tropes and exploring avenues of agency informed by current design thinking best practices. (Just kidding.)
That the term “design thinking” is a redundancy.
In knowing when to be open-minded and when to be stubborn.
That in positioning themselves, companies are animals that follow the law of the jungle. They can either (a) Try to blend in so that they won’t get eaten, or (b) Try to stand out so that they will attract a mate. (We like companies that opt for the latter.)
That pro bono means “for good” not “for free.”
That people are smart, and we design accordingly. It makes us crazy when we are asked to dumb down stuff to ensure that everyone will get it. There’s enough dumb stuff in the world already.
That after you’ve packed for a trip, go back and take one-third of the stuff out of your suitcase.
In being generous with credit to our clients, team members, and associates. We’re in this together.
In being optimistic and full of enthusiasm.
That it takes real courage to do something different.
That if you are willing to not take yourself too seriously, it indicates to others that you have confidence and competence. This goes for organizations as well as people. (Hint.)
That while companies are most certainly not people, they do get judged in the same ways — by what they say, how they look, and how they behave. (We can help with the first two. That last — and most important — one’s up to you.)
That design can help people think about things in a new way.
That design can help people do things in a new way.
That everyone should stop using the word “disruptive.” Just stop it. Right now.
That the minute you start to be certain you’re really good at something is the minute you start to become really bad at it.
That wanting to seem different is not the same thing as wanting to be different.
It’s easy to take something that is truly great and, through the power of consensus building, turn it into something good.
That through the power of good design we can make your friends jealous and your enemies hate you even more than they already do.
That “eatery” is just about as loathsome a word as can possibly be.
That “feckless” is just about as wonderful a word as can possibly be.