1. It’s All In The Details
“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” This is my favourite quote from Jeffrey Zeldman. Content to me, is what you want people to take away after using your product or service. Content can be in the way a smart phone functions, or how a piece of communication is crafted with the right amount of information – no more, no less. The sweet spot is the alignment of your intention with the consumer’s perception.
Typically many people think design is the first impression how something looks like, the colour, the first mood it evokes, the shape and subtly the fonts. Design in branding terms not only cover “how it looks”, it is also about “how it works” and “how it relates to the overall business and industry and environment”. To put in everyday practice, I typically ask the client what is your business model and how the product/ service relates to one another before thinking about how the identity will evolve.
You might have a great idea, but what makes the difference is in the execution. An above average idea well executed and managed consistently with a good leader will supersede an extraordinary idea that is poorly managed and followed through.
2. Be Specific in Your Offering, yet All Encompassing
Take FaceBook for example. It’s a social network. However it bridges people through news, ideas, photos, ads and so much more.
or iPhone – it’s a smart phone, but it enables you to live a much convenient life when you can sync your photos, schedule, emails to your iMac.
3. Build a Strong Foundation
Many clients typically start off with, ” can you design a logo…”. I let them finish off and the first question I ask is “How do you want people to feel looking at your logo?”. And we start off a new discourse of what tagline goes with the logo, is there a need to have one, what the tagline suggests, and then finally what they are trying to sell.
4. It Might be Plan G
As the old saying goes “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. But when do you actually stop planning and start doing? I, myself have been a culprit of trying to craft a perfect plan, find the perfect business model, a business partner that satisfies all criteria etc.
I was chatting with a friend and he said. “just do it!”. The beauty is in the doing, the evolution of ideas as you do. As you do, you think, and as you think, you plan. It’s a self fulfilling cycle and I find it works better because it takes you a step closer – not to the end point, but to the point where you actually realised through the changes you have grown to adapt to the business landscape.
Recommended reading: Getting to Plan B. There is a story about Max Levchin’s various business plans and PayPal as we know today, was Plan G.
5. Enjoy the Ride
As discussed earlier, it might not be Plan A, or B, or C or D. No matter which plan it is, never give up your passion (and dreams). There is a fine line between determination and being stubborn. Passion can fire ideas, fuel the desire to succeed and motivate the soul when you meet with challenges.
But passion without a timeline is like a dream not knowing when to wake up. It’s important to give yourself a comfortable timeline amongst your other daily commitments so the ride actually brings you to where you want to go.