Deep design: getting beyond decoration (video)

Deep design: getting beyond decoration (video)

In this session from the Method+Madness conference, James Archer talks about how to get past the designer-as-decorator, "make it pretty" mentality, and how to sell a design process based around depth, substance, and real-world problem solving.

YouTube Transcript (auto-generated):

all right I want to start by telling you a story and the reason for the story might not make sense at first but I will

get to the part where it makes sense so this guy's name is jacob bromwell he was born in 1785 so a long time ago in

Virginia old school American so he was born was that nine years after the

Revolution there about so I mean this is this is old-school old-fashioned American guy now he looks pretty grumpy

in this picture right um really he like he was a nice guy everyone just looked

grumpy in pictures back then because you had to sit still for so long so really this was a totally nice amiable guy

everyone knew him he you know he was fun of family and friends and who dat people over to his house all the time so he was

known for being really good guy so don't let the grumpy picture for you so to give you an idea this is what America

looked like at the time so as a couple of colonies a couple of territories this

is Spain down here so this is this is back in the old old old days and he cut

he came from an entrepreneurial family so his father did what's called wire weaving so they basically made cool

things out of wire they would mesh materials together they would make things like this bench and that was that

was their business and that was the family business made things out of wire and little bits of metal in whatever he could so that's kind of the crafty

learned as he's out there and you know sort of the American frontier trying to figure out what this whole new nation is

going to be so he got into the family business and kind of progress through that was was doing lots of cool stuff there you know time time passes he kind

of learns the family business he gets around to 1812 which a lot of people aren't very familiar with the war of

1812 but there was a big old war back then it was basically the continuation of the Revolutionary War it was basically us finishing some things out

with British you know there are some unresolved issues we just went ahead and resolved but this was a big ol wart so

he got he got recruited into that and at the time he's a young man so I mean you know not for that grumpy picture of a picture I'm being one of these you know

strapping young men in a spiffy uniform so cool also super cool all-american guy

defending his country and we're of 1812 was pretty gnarly I mean there's the white house burned from the inside out

so this was this was a big ol wart so these are the kinds of things he's going through no he's born right after independence

you know entrepreneur in this kind of new nation you know he's battling to

defend the country against the British and so he that's kind of the mentality comes up with so he's progressing

through and you know he gets older and he finally sets out on his own so this was what 18 19 18 19 he sets out on the

Ohio River and he takes his wire looms which is these big tools for weaving wire put some of them on a boat this is

a flat boat riding down the Ohio River it goes to Cincinnati so he's going out west which sits in any of the time was

out west and he decides he's gonna go out on his own set of his own business

doing kind of this metal working and stuff so the year he starts the panic of 1819 which is sort of an equivalent to

you know worse than the recession we're going through now is basically the biggest piece I'm financial crisis in

the US history by that point there wasn't that much US history but it was it was you know this was their first big what the heck um you know massive

unemployment massive bankruptcies everything going horribly wrong that's the year he sets out of zone and goes

into business and he manages to do pretty well for himself so he says I you guys that this is a pretty cool building

i wish i had an office like that um so you know he's doing well he's growing the business and it starts branching out

what he's doing and starts getting into other kinds of metalworking so they do flour sifter and he starts getting into more housewares Cubs cheese graters i

assume at the time they sold him they weren't quite as Rusty as this um so he's inventing all these products he's

designing for the needs of this you know this frontier city and figuring out what

they need how to how to solve those needs and he develops a heck of a business doing it I mean yes the business progresses their catalog has

thousands of products that they've designed they have that you know over a thousand employees and this is this is

back in the tough old days so this this grumpy oh look an old dude is actually like this is a great American story you

know designer entrepreneur frontiersman you know like like good old-fashioned American guy back when America was cool

and and that's a great story to tell but has anyone heard of this guy before

probably not so like this is just one example of a great story there was a sort of lost in time now

190 years later the business is still around so this is one of the oldest

still operational businesses in the United States and they came to us and by

the time they came to us it had basically devolved into a template Yahoo store so this is sort of like the bottom

end of ecommerce like that's about as low as you can get is when you've got a yahoo story that's that's what this

Empire of handcrafted American design tradition all the stuff had sort of

devolved into that and they basically came to us and said well we need a nicer

website and we spent months going back and forth with him trying to say you

know it's not you don't have an aesthetics problem it's not the niceness of the website that's the problem if you

have a relevance problem nobody cares you know you're selling the same products actually made out a lot of the

same machines that they were back then great stories they're great traditions they're great you know there's like a

lot of stuff to get excited about and none of that's really happening here it's just a template Yahoo stores so

there's nothing for people to get excited about that was their problem so when they first came to us they weren't quite thinking that way so that was

something we had to we had to get them there and so actually months of coaching and long emails some of the longest

emails I've ever written just like here's everything I know about why this is important to you and so finally they

got it and they decided all right let's let's go ahead and do this we're going to trust you guys will take a shot at this and so we start walking through

this process and this is this is where we start getting into the deep design and the difference between deep design and just sort of superficial aesthetic

design because a lot of design firms were to taking that site oh yeah we can make a prettier website for you polish something up get something out there

some nice colors follow some trends you know put put you know cool logo on it throw it out there and you're done but

we didn't think that would work so we wanted to go deeper so what we do is we we start with personas how many how many

you guys here as part of your word do personas I'm sure there's decent number so personas are basically a fictional

representation of your target audience so you can get specific so instead of saying well we're selling to you know

people in this region between these ages between this and this and just having random demographics we start getting

into you what are their what are their psychographics how do they think what kinds of people are they and give them a name and a face so that we can actually

connect with them so when we're designing something it's not it's not in a vacuum we say you know is this going

to work for n and we actually asked ourselves those questions and walk through that process to make sure that

we're designing not for some random demographic but for an and we can ask ourselves would that work and our brains

can process that better and we can we can you know work with that information come up with more relevant solutions and

then we start working on a brand metaphor and a metaphor is just something that kind of helps anchor the concept and helps us figure out what

we're doing and the metaphor for this one was fairly straightforward just fortunately there was this cool guy doing all this cool stuff and we

basically base it around him and we're going with this inventive pioneer concept I mean this guy was a he was a

frontier entrepreneur designer let's go with that kind of tie some of those things and bring that out in the brand

you know we do a lot of competitive research so we analyze a lot of similar historical brands and we looked at the

trajectories that they had taken what it worked for them and what hadn't and not not necessarily to imitate but to figure

out what's a more open area of the market that we can go after so that's that's how I and this is with keeping in

the character with the current owners of the company they were cutting out young light-hearted you know they didn't mind mixing it up a little bit so instead of

trying to go serious traditional songbird kind of you know old school that way we brought it back and wetmore

to the light-hearted side so that that helped us carve out you know a more unique character for them then we

started going through and looking at actual documentation from that time frame things that he would you know

jacob bromwell himself would have seen an experience of what that time would have been like so that we can pull

visual ideas from that and and bring them forward so things like typography now a lot of you will recognize these

are not all authentic fonts from that time period some of them are but a lot of these are just once it helped the VOC

that but or maybe also available as web fonts and things like that and we start pulling up visual elements to and

extrapolating from the brand and the concept that we're creating and saying what would this look like you know what

kinds of textures would be appropriate what kinds of colors would be appropriate what kinds of treatments would be appropriate and pulling all

that stuff together so that we can create a more authentic experience around what they're doing and that applies to the verbal side of

things as well so you know we this verbal copywriting is just a different kind of design a lot of those eyes on

that show you think of it that way we think of content you know content is the words you put in our cool design as like

you're filling a bucket with something and it that's not really how it works the words are design also they vary you

know have a very dramatic effect on how you perceive things the words I say right now are totally going to shape how

you take the message that are giving you so it's not you're not basing all on the clothes that I'm wearing or what the

slides look like so it's those words have a big difference you can change one word totally change someone's perception so we go through a lot of work to make

sure we're designing on the verbal side as well and we we take that kind of information a lot of other stuff and we

put it together into what we call a brand handbook that's it's a little different than a style guide a lot a lot

of companies put together style guides which are basically rule books usually use the logo like this you won't use these colors you won't put it like this

you won't put it too close to that you know and happen that nobody listens those things anyway I mean you've

probably heard yesterday we're talking about whole foods like they basically realize they weren't really following it so they threw it out we tried just never

to start with those we usually don't put together those world books and instead we put together these kind of documents say this is who you're designing for

this is kind of the direction you're designing this is what it feels like because people can click with that and

follow that a lot more accurately than a set of rules so instead of being rule-based we try very much more of a

coaching approach that says this is the kind of direction you're trying to go and then based on that that's how we get

from a brand which exists like this and start to give it a look that's more like this that's more authentic to what the

company really is the Heritage that they really have the things that they're trying to accomplish and and what they want to convey and you know this is this

fit them a lot a lot better you know we actually we executed that on the website so you can see the difference between the yahoo store and this this you can

come too but you get you have some idea what this is about you know you can you can within milliseconds get what's going

on here and make the decision if you want to be a part of that or not you might say oh that's so not me I'm out of

here but you couldn't necessarily do that on to yahoo store and yahoo start you had to click around and kind of look at the products and figure it out here

you know you know right away you know if it's you or if it's not you and they had they had you know great

results as a part of this I mean we had good feedback we actually had Seth Godin and say what a beautiful sight it was

that was kind of cool there's a blog post we saw one of the customers had

purchased something so this is a tin toaster and so this guy was writing about how and you know they were living

in a small place it basically didn't have room for a toaster on their counter so they were looking for some alternative solution because they really

like toast so big got theirs they finally found this through jacob bromwell and it's you essentially set

this on your stove and then you can you can toast using your stuff you don't need a whole whole toaster to do it and you know in this blog post there were

some great comments that I really appreciated this good feedback that what we're doing is actually working so they said things like you know I don't know

about you but owning a piece of flimsy tin isn't very inspiring owning a precious piece of American history now that's pretty cool and and some of this

was was because of the packaging that came with it the copywriting that came with it there was little little cards

little booklets that came with it basically told them this is what you're really getting you know it's not twenty

cents worth of tin you're getting this heritage and the story is coming along with it and you know this was my

favorite part it wasn't just a marketing or branding gimmick it was authentic this really was who they were we weren't

just throwing a bit of an old fashioned nasaan on a brand that had no no claim to that we were trying to really

represent what they felt their heritage was what they believed in and who they were as a company and actually worked

out pretty well so I had lunch with the owner a couple years after we did it and

he said that that year they were on track to make five times the revenue they had when they first came to us and

he attributed that largely to the experience we've created around the brand now your mileage may vary I'm not

not every clients gonna have a you know 5x revenue increase it would be great if they did but this stuff works and they

saw that connection between the two they said they said this never would have happened had we not gone through that process and that really comes with a

point of deep design which is that design isn't pretty making designers problem solving and as I said before Bravo didn't have an aesthetics problem

now it wasn't the prettiest site but that wasn't their fundamental problem the fundamental problem was a relevance problem nobody knew why they should care

and what we did is we tried to solve that bigger problem of why should anyone

care about this company and when they came to us they really didn't know much about this jacob rom oh god they knew

his name and they knew when he was born and they knew he found at the company so we did all the we did all the genealogical research we found his

signature which is now the logo for the company we did all that stuff to to bring it out and figure out what that

authentic story was the reason that this is important is that people do not they

don't really buy the marketing stuff anymore I mean you can you can throw a pretty facade on pretty much anything but you guys all know when someone is

just thrown a pretty facade on something right like you can tell well still can everyone else so that's not a viable

solution anymore you know we are bombarded with messages telling us you know plenty of pretty attractive

messages telling us to buy things and it's not working really anymore I mean

you know it does a little bit but you guys know the difference you know when something is a piece of crap that's packaged well if you know how to sort

that out and you know the the the fact that you're all interconnected now helps that message spread even faster than it

ever has so you know the old way of just throw a pretty layer on something and ship it out there just doesn't work

anymore as a design solution customers have great BS detectors they know when you're making something up the customer

consumers are generally skeptical now and you have to sort of convince them

that this is an authentic experience I'm able to pick up on the subtle clues to tell them that you know I there are you

know we make split-second decisions to decide is something authentic or not and we do that based on tone of voice

imagery context timing pacing storytelling all those things all

accumulate in our minds and we make a decision that says is is this what it says it is or is this a bunch of BS and

we're actually pretty accurate at making those decisions but companies still try and be that guy and basically just say

you know oh oh I see you like this well yeah we were totally about that or oh you want this we can we can do that too

what do you want to do right now and you know I did it at a party nobody really likes that guy who just wants to do

whatever you want to do just wants to talk about whatever you want to talk about you know the people we like are the ones that kind of know who they are

and then they know what they want to talk they know what they want to do and that's what what we're attracted to not

pandering and you know conceding everything and just sort of being whatever someone else wants you know we

don't want all massive customization we don't want every company to bend to our will sometimes we just want to company

to stand for something and we can decide if we want to be a part of it or not but this isn't really just about marketing

either so we've talked a lot about marketing and raiding but it's not it's not just about that deep design and the principle of going deeper and beyond the

superficial layer applies to things like you X as well so this isn't you x user

experience design you know I know I know a lot of people who their jobs basically sketch stuff out and they call

themselves a user experience designer and client asking for something they sketch it out and give it back and say okay your user experiences is done

that's not that's not really how you do that i mean the user was never involved in that process at all so this is really

what UX design is it's a process of going through and understanding the who

the user is what the context of the user is you know what are the things that they're dealing with and gaining insights about them and and specifically

extracting insights from the research that you've done then you take those insights turn that into a Content you turn the content into actual executed

design and then of course it iterates you kind of go in this this cycle that's user experience design sketching ipad

apps in itself is not user experience design and somewhat you're designing something is ultimately going to get used by a user but they were never part

of that experience you weren't really taking the time to think through that and to do that I mean you you really should have some process behind it get

it out of your own head sometimes your instincts will get you some of the way but it's really worth getting it out of

your head and thinking through it in an intentional specific way so that you can you can work that stuff out and really

all that stuff boils down to empathy empathy for the user empathy for the

customer you know it's figuring out who who is it that you're designing for that you know we talked about an earlier that

was one of our sample personas for that project how do we have empathy for her and designed for her not me and what I

think I want to design based on what the current trends are what i saw on some design inspiration site the other day and some cool thing i saw on pinterest

I'm just gonna tie it all together and call it good how do I design how to get out of my own head and design for

someone else and empathy this is the most fundamental principle in all of design all of design is based around empathy and so that's

you know that's really the heart of the user experience design project or designing any experience for customers and really that starts with anthropology

which is doing the research to figure out who you're doing this for you know

when we did that one for Bromwell for example we did surveys we you know we we

actually asked a lot of questions we also know enough to not take the answers to those questions always literally

sometimes people don't know how to self-report well I'm things but we can read between the lines that figure out what are the underlying patterns and

trends you know we also actually observe behavior so we look at the analytics for their website and see well this is

popular and this is less popular and then we have to extrapolate well maybe this is less popular just because its position on the wrong place on the

website so there's a lot of kind of interpretation that has to be done but we essentially do the anthropology

before we start designing something we don't jump right into sketchy I got this great idea and I saw this thing the other day and doing that do the

anthropology figure out what you're doing what the context is and then actually move forward and figure out how

to execute on that and don't assume you know what the customer wants you know it's really easy for us to you know say

well I'm kind of like that person I can picture in my head but you know how they're going to think and how they're going to respond to something we're

actually terrible at it we're you know it for one thing were designers which is

already a strike against us because we think differently than most people do our brains function in a different way will actually talk about that in a

minute but we're not normal people and we shouldn't think that we can just step

over here no now I'm in this person's shoes it takes work to do that and it's worth going through the work because you

get it answers you wouldn't otherwise get at Mark Twain said supposing is good but finding out is better and that's

that's basically the principle behind doing that that kind of research and it doesn't always have to be extensive it's it's scary sometimes to say well I don't

there's just no budget for user research sometimes the user research can be a little bit a little bit is way better than nothing and the reason all this is

important is that the users are human beings customers are human beings and it is you know human beings are deeply

complicated volatile intricate you know here

calculating and then sometimes randomly a boating beings it's not as simple as oh this person is a teenager and

teenagers always like this so we're gonna make it like this which is why we have every cheesy public service

announcement directed at teenagers ever that has never actually resonated with teenagers because they nobody's nobody's

really putting themselves in their shoes they're making assumptions and those assumptions can be actually toxic to the

design process so be careful that you acknowledge the complexity and and variability of the audience that you're

designing for because you need to account for that and go through that thought process and kind of work that out to even get close to a good answer

and as we were saying earlier i mean it's it's really frustrating to try and pick that to a client because they want

everything now you don't want to pay much for it and are you know most of the people in this room we're probably panicking saying well I don't have

budget for user research my client or my boss is not gonna let us have time to do that every time it's hard but you know

if you think about doctors you know a doctor doesn't complain that they can't diagnose people because they have so

much prescription writing to do you know you guys as designers are writing prescriptions make sure you've done the

diagnosis first diagnose then prescribe don't get that out of order so I want to

talk a little bit about just sort of what the goals of design are anyway and this is you know we're talking about to eat design this is how we get deeper

into design so you know the first first layers obviously functionality and this is that's kind of a user experience

oriented word but you know in print designer any things but just does the thing do what it's supposed to do you know if you're designing a gig poster

for a band does it have the date does it have the venue does that you like it doesn't have the core functions that it needs to do you know on top of that

there's intuitive pneus you know that's the that's sort of the next layer that you need to accomplish is how do you make it so that people can understand

what you've put on there and it's not a cryptic opaque playing this that's tough to get through and then you know we're

starting to get deeper and deeper into the design process you know then you get into efficiency you know how if you've designed a web application you know it

may be functional and it may even be intuitive but if it takes me 17 intuitive clicks to get to something I'm

still going to be frustrated so how can you make it efficient help people get through that process and now we're

starting to get into the deeper stop so we're getting into ideas like comfort you know if you if you're about to push

a button it you're designing a web application you're about to push a button and you're not quite sure if that's going to ruin everything when you

push that button you know does this does this delete my account or does this take me to the screen where I can think about

deleting my account you know stuff like that you you can give a lot of comfort to the user by thinking through putting

yourself in their shoes and take you know what I think third I think they're worried about this right here let me just put in a line a copy that says you

know like you see this when you're doing e-commerce checkouts you know your order will not be placed when you hit this button you know and you know you can get

to the next screen and then you can make your final decision those kind of things are all about comfort that's a pretty much a much deeper level of design that

you can get you and then finally there's delay and thats you know really that's the pinnacle that we're trying to get

you you know you haven't you haven't done your job totally but just because you have functional intuitive stuff a lot of people see those as the ideals

those are just the table stakes like at the very least it needs to be functional

and intuitive it's when you start pushing through and getting deeper into the design process that you start to get at things like comfort and delight that

that's where the really rich high quality really effective stuff starts to come out so a couple weeks ago I did a

two-week UX boot camp for a company in atlanta it's a software company and they

were they were sort of going through the struggle of their there they historically had windows software and

they were trying to convert their software over to a web interface you know most Muslims oft where looked like

this so that's not the actual screen this thing's wrapped up under NDA so I can't say too much about it but that's the screen i found that looks similar to

this one that we worked on but this would have been sketched out by a you know product manager the product manager

someone who was maybe a former client or someone who'd worked in that industry before and they kind of know you know well when someone does this they need to

do that so we need a button that lets them do that but they weren't necessarily from a design background almost nobody in the company was from a

design background so I was kind of teaching UX from scratch and I had two weeks to just like take him through the

whole process we actually got pretty far through it which was nice but toward the end one of the things they wanted to have me do is actually redesign some of

the screen and so they showed me a screen like this that they'd been particularly struggling with and this is one of the next ones that they're their

team was going to start working on and it was for a context where there's it's in a warehouse

and there's a computer computer terminal and there's a guy standing over here with a with an RF scanner and you'll

skin a box and then walks back over here checks to make sure the numbers right walks back over here scans another box

walks back over here to make sure the numbers right and functionally it did it

it did what it was supposed to do it would read the input from the scanner and it would put the number there and they could check it but that's not a

great process is it like you guys can tell that there's some efficiencies that can be came there and so you know from

this dialog box that looks something like this I started asking them a lot of questions that was like well who who

works in these warehouses what kind of people work in these warehouses what is it like what's the what's the chain of

command in this warehouse they had never taken the time to think through what the user was experiencing because they were

wrapped up in the fact that well I I sketch these things out and then the developers just put him in a standard winforms interface and that's how we do

and you know really do at no point in the process that someone say how does the user feel about this cuz some poor

guy in a warehouse is annoyed because he spends all day walking back and forth and doing this and that guy's tired at

the end of the day he's probably mad when he gets home and he's yelling at his wife and all these things are happening because they designed this

like that so I at this point these guys are getting annoyed like I'm like

digging into these you know the psyche of this guy working into the warehouse they're like what's that just can't go designs himself for us and they didn't

realize what the point of all that was until I got back and I showed them that which was you scan it I had to blur it

out because again it's under NDA but you scan it and it shows it in the last four digits in really big print and so i can

say scan oh yeah same number skin oh yeah same number i've made that guy's

life hugely easier through a very rudimentary design change there was nothing revolutionary that had to happen

there and that was the extent of the user research that I performed I asked them questions not even of the user just

the people who understood the user ask some questions thought about it came up with some insights and designed a

solution around that it doesn't have to be a whole lot more extensive the net it's helpful if you can do users

studies and things like that but if you just have is a fundamental part of your process to just think through it per

minute it will help massively and you will come up with conclusions you wouldn't otherwise have come up with so

convergent thinking is how probably ninety five percent of decision-making is handled which is you know you have an

option and it's by another option and you make a decision and you come up with

an answer you do some sort of cost-benefit analysis well I could do this but then they have to do this or I

could do this but then it's going to cost me this much so I'm going to go with this one and that's decision making

95% probably of management decisions made in companies these days are all that kind of thinking you have two

obvious choices and you pick one of them so there's another kind of thinking though that's that designers are more

prone to and this is part of why we have warped brains we're not always good stand-ins for customers so we as

designers we tend to think more along the lines of divergent thinking which is you know we do some of that research and

reflection and think about the situation for a minute and then we actually branch out and we start coming up with new

options we start freaking out what are the options other options in there and they may not even look like a and B they

may be completely off-the-wall things that we didn't even that wouldn't even have occurred to anyone but if you do

the work if you sit and think about it for a minute you do a little bit of research gain some insights and you start extrapolating from those insights

when you say well we could do this and that option may never have been on the table before so designers have the

ability to get new options onto the table and then really the core of design thinking is combining those two things

together you know how do you get those new options onto the table and have some logical process for them making a

decision based on those so that you come up with option m where previously they only ever would have come up with option

B so when you go through this kind of thinking process this is this is really

what the heart of design is and this is when you start getting into the deeper answers when you think about things that reflect on him to come up with new new

ways of doing things anyone know who this is Henry forward so he is the

quintessential here's a great quote as the quintessential example of this he said if I'd asked people what they wanted they would have said a faster

horse he didn't give them a faster horse he

built the car he gave them a solution that they didn't even know that they needed and and that's really you know

that's sort of the heart of what design is about you know your clients aren't hiring you to pick one of their options

and then execute it some of them are I'm sorry for you guys but some of your clients are doing that but really they're hiring you because they know

that you can come up with hopefully they know or you hope they know that you can come up with a different answer than

they would so when they say oh yeah I want a 50s sci-fi theme you are able to

think through all the options say maybe you don't maybe there's this other way we can do things maybe there's a way we

can carve out this unique voice for you do something different with it and really that's what designers do I mean

we take all these different inputs and different sources of inspiration different ways of thinking about the

world and we put things together in different ways we juxtapose ideas together and we come up with some amazing solutions as a result of that

that's what your clients are paying you for they don't always know that they

should know that but that that's ideally why you hire a designer because they can come up with the better answer for something now the question of course is

how do you get clients to appreciate that fact how do you get them to pay for that how do you get them to understand the fact that that process actually

takes a little bit longer than just knocking something out in Photoshop and a lot of it just comes to the way that

you talk about yourself the way that you talk about what you do the way you talk about your profession the way you carry

yourself hopefully not talking like this which is how designers talk about

themselves you know we talk about ourselves as pretty makers we are not

pretty makers we are problem solvers we execute that visually but we can also execute that in language we can execute

that in interactions there are lots of different ways we can execute it but please for the love of all that's holy

stop talking like this like this is what drives the profession

down because what clients think when they're hiring a designer is this I gotta get someone to push the pixels

around for me that's not what you were put on this earth to do is push pixels around don't call yourself a pixel

pusher talk about design understand what your profession is learn to talk about it that way learn to make the case for

it learn you know why that provides value to that and and learn to talk about it that way and to show that value

for that's how you convince clients to let you do that there's a friend of mine and past client of ours brian pollak he

works for Twitter now but he said I'm a designer like the guy who created the highway system not the guy who painted

the stripes on it so don't be a striped painter you know design the system not

just decorate it now it's tenting in our jobs to design sorted by haphazard

inspiration and this is actually I know a lot of designers who this is kind of their process they get it to get a project they talk to the client for a

little bit and then they hop on the design inspiration sites and they go oh that's kind of cool and that's kind of

cool and that's kind of cool and I'll just kind of like we've that together that's not really a an effective way to

get at those delicious design inspiration sites aren't bad I mean they can they can knock some ideas lose but you know really this process is your

inspiration machine this is this is where the ideas will come from and it's a methodical process you know you don't

have to sit and wait for inspiration to strike you don't ever have to sit there go I don't know what I'm going to do with this client I don't know what

direction I want to take this if you go through this process the process will tell you what direction you want to go it will become self-evident and when you

when you wind up there at the design stage you can trace it all the way back when the clients just why did you choose

that font you can trace all the way back to the beginning and you could say we did this research we got this insight we

came up with this concept and now here we are and here's the design and they know you know you know you don't have to

design three totally different comps and have them choose the one that they want that's ridiculous when you do this process you really have to go one

direction you don't that track built all over the place generally speaking you just go in a straight line and when

you're over here you have a reason for every step of the way that happened and you can explain that reason to the client and it becomes harder at least

for the to just whimsically change their mind and say you know I kind of want it purple now you can explain to them why

purple is wrong if I is actually not the right answer not because you don't like it not because you're saying one the

designer trust me because that's always the wrong answer but you walk them through and you say listen you told me over here this because of that is

because of that this because of that this because of that it's totally orange and and you know as you learn to do that

they will start to see the logic then it'll make a lot more sense and you know the problem is if you don't have those

roots if you don't have that foundation no matter how pretty you make it it can

always just topple over you know you can you can be the most amazing aesthetic

designer you can come up with glorious looking super pretty things but if it doesn't have that foundation to it it

can always fall over the client could just say well I changed my mind i wanted to look like this and you have no recourse when you have explanation and

depth to what you do you have that recourse you have a justification for what you did you have an explanation there's a reason you got to where you

got so that kind of i kind of reminds me of this this phrase i have nothing to say and I'm saying that's that's kind of

what that superficial level of design is like where when you have a solid foundation we have roots amazing things

happen this tree is not going anywhere and it looks awesome that's how your design should be and a lot of it just

comes down to knowing why knowing the reason behind the things that you've done knowing why you made a certain

choice if any font you choose how you punctuate a sentence what what exact

color you choose what background pattern you use even even getting into the development side what you know what CSS

framework are you using all those things should have logical reasons behind them you should always be able to answer the

question why when a client says once you do this you have an answer and that answer is not because I'm the designer and I know best it's not because I'd

like that best it's not because that's what's popular right now it's because it is right for you as the client in the

situation that you're in with the people you're trying to communicate with that is the right answer and here's why let me show you and then you explain it so

when you know why you're doing things you get at that deeper level of design that really resonates with clients and

and you know we kind of talked about certain but they're just what saying what do you think this is there is the wrong way to

present it I mean you have to sell this to your client you have to explain the logic you have to show you where I mean

if if your doctor showed you x rays and said well what do you think how would

you feel well that's how your clients feel when you send them a compensate L me how you like it that's your that's

not your job your jobs tell them what's wrong solve their problem give them the solution explain it in detail tell them

what their options are and and help them move forward treat it like you're a doctor not a pretty you're not a

pretty make it your designer and a lot of that comes i'm just showing your work i mean you know we kind of walked you

through that process of what we did I've got another example i want to show you but you know this is kind of how we treat it you know we're in the middle of

that formula says then a miracle occurs that's how we talk about design too much of the time how'd you come to this

answer well because I'm a great designer that's you know show the work show how you got there and then they will

understand take them on that journey with you so this is this is another project we have this is a organizations

as a supply chain research center not the sexiest thing in the world but this

was a cool project and we love stuff like this we love the boring weird like obscure difficult stuff most people

don't even know what supply chains but even their target audience that does doesn't really get the the depth of

knowledge of stuff that we have and if you guys don't know what supply chain is basically what makes something from over there get over here and the whole world

operates it on it you know supply chain is what will solve world hunger it is what you know get you your package from

amazon the next day it's you know it's what makes stuff move around the world so the whole world is wildly dependent

on supply chain and this is a source for research that makes supply chain move faster the world works because of

organizations like this nobody's ever heard of this place except for you know c-level executives of Fortune 500 companies but that's the kind of stuff

they're doing so we had to figure out how do we communicate that value how do we get those points across so we do the

personas again we go through and we figure out who are these people that was a tough crowd to research we actually

did in you know we did phone interviews with c-suite officers those are hard people to get a hold of but we did we

did about 15 of them and because of that we actually really started to understand where they were coming from and what

they needed and then we based on that we started you know we developed them or is it kind of fit with that in this particular case we used archetypes so we

had we usually use two of them and we combine them together it gets cleared so we have the intellectual and they explore and for each one we kind of

pulled some visuals that helped us you know give us a direction for how we might present those things and then

based on those two we can kind of merge them together and that gives us sort of a visual language we can start using and

by the way if anyone is curious about the arc types can go to our website just if you google brand dark types you'll get to our website we have a download

where you can go through all those we a lot of cool stuff for that so we start creating this visual language pulling from those sources of inspiration now

this is an organization it doesn't have 190 years of history but we can still do deep design for an organization that

doesn't have that kind of history we started designing logos those logos aren't based on what was pretty or hey

maybe even get the the P&S and we can combine them together you know it wasn't just random stuff like that it was like

these are based on the archetypes that we develop their specific underlying almost subconscious reasoning for why we

went those directions and of course we do the verbal strategy behind it as well we talked about you know how are you going to talk about yourselves to get

those points across you know design is really about intention it's about doing things intentionally not randomly not

haphazard Lee the word design itself means planning and intentionality and strategy and and having a reason for

doing something I mean the word design you know he had designs to do something if you had a plan to do something it

doesn't mean pretty ever it can also be pretty but design is not about pretty

design is about solving the problem and that's how we're able to take something like this and turn it into something like this now again this is this is

probably not going to win any awards if we wanted to win awards we need like a flash-based site about breast cancer

awareness from Hyundai with a voiceover by Liam Neeson so you know this isn't

that this is like bread and butter kind of stuff but for these guys this totally works their audience gets it now they

are selling more now they're reaching out they're connecting to people in ways that they didn't even their own staff is

now exciting gets what's going on in this company they get who they are and they are themselves excited about it so

this is totally working for them and that's really what we do I mean as company you know our job is to go into

these situations and figure out what is that that deeper story that's underlying

it how do we pull that out in an intentional way and design this deeper experience around it so one last thought

that I want to make is you know yesterday one of the speaker's I couldn't remember who basically said you know listen just chill out designs not

going to save the world right you know it's we're doing some stuff it's cool but you're not going to save the world I would argue the design might be the only

thing that will actually save the world and the reason is is this design

thinking process that we go through we the way that we think now I'm not talking to us about graphic designers

I'm talking about design generally there are a lot of people who design weren't called designers but the people who

designed people who think like designers are the ones who come up with new options when the old options aren't good

enough so this process that everyone in this room is prone to doing this is your

natural instinct this is how you're in this profession this process is about the only thing that will actually

actually will save the world we need new options we need new ways of doing things now you may do that in little ways but

you know if we do something with supply chain that enables stuff to move faster from here to here someone's going to

benefit as a result of that and that benefit carries on it ripples into other things so keep doing that because that's

what designers do that's what you guys are predisposed to do we need more people in the world who are predisposed

to do that so have respect for your profession have respect for what you do acknowledge what you guys are as

designers learn how to talk to your clients about that not being pretty makers and take advantage of that and

enjoy the privilege of being a designer in the world so that's it for me thank you