Through years and tears, through agony and pain, through fails and successes (note — only one positive word out of six), one by one we have set the list of 9 rules of our team. This is not a marketing tool, but more a self-check instrument, by which we can understand if our cost is worth wasting time on every step of the project.
There is no proof or investigation that shows what kind of design can be named successful and effective. But this is our belief — life is too short to be a coward.
We do not mean you have to go mad and do whatever you want. No. But you have to be brave and offer some new solutions to existing issues. It makes your work more reasonable, your existence more exciting and meaningful and we do believe that in the end, brave solutions can help you gain extraordinary results. Any cowardly one even based on proper analytics and investigations has fewer chances.
We did not manage to find the exact quote, but we suppose (though not sure) that Stefan Sagmeister told the next thing: «Extraordinary amazing work is the same as good one, but pushed as hard as possible».
This amazing feeling when you reach the perfect idea is the best moment in life for any creative person, but after you have this idea in your mind that is when you get your chance to create something really remarkable. But for this, you have to push a lot. And push really really hard (of course you have to be careful and split perfectionism and high standards — avoid the first or you get mad fast).
On one side it looks obvious — you design for human people. But what does it mean? Let’s imagine a person — he is carefully dressed, calm. Well-identified from a long distance. OK, you notice him. Then what? What common can we notice in charismatic people? Their emotions. You feel their words, you are ready to follow them, and you understand that charisma is not about a nice suit.
The design should be emotional, and these emotions can change but still be recognizable. Design is not just a language to communicate as many think (otherwise it turns into decoration), but the message itself as well — this is our deep belief.
«Best offer of the year», «quality is proven by time», «exceptional service…». Is it the only way to promote the business and your offer? Is it really the best offer of the year? How have you checked it? Companies and businesses lie to us constantly.
We suppose it happens just because people can not create anything interesting and unique based on real facts about the company (lack of imagination or there is nothing at all in the core of the business).
Nevertheless now many young organizations start feeling the advantage of being realistic and not lying to the customer. We never (pfffff… nearly) lie in our work — we use the truth as an advantage and amazing design tool.
By provoking we do not mean being vulgar, use nudity or money pictures to attract attention. By provoking we mean creating something that does make a person think, react and consider what he just saw.
Same time it is important to do it in a positive way — so we do not provoke it by annoying. We suppose if design provokes this way, it becomes something that can be named smart. The smart design also works smart and helps you gain your business goals.
If you ask about the main branding idea, we think the answer is obvious. It lets you be identified within many other companies and competitors. It is also crucial that you have to differ. Other way you can be misidentified.
The other risk is when you are identified but the spirit of the brand is not relevant. Maybe you can be conceived as a cheap company meanwhile your services or products are quite expensive. Or you have an energy company but your brand looks like a coffee shop. So you have to differ, be identifiable and also relevant.
The brand system can consist of a small number of elements or from hundreds or thousands of them (depends on the company specialization and its size). For example, a small cafe next to the bus stop should have some package, sign, ads, cups, a bit of stationery, etc. But not so many.
On the other side, an organization like CitiGroup or Microsoft has an enormous amount of offices, business departments, and small things. The idea that any small (cup, pen, door, toilet seat) thing within the company should some way reflect the spirit and idea of the brand.
«Vulgarity is the religion of greed». That is another famous quote from Massimo Vignelli, an Italian designer who made an enormous amount of significant projects in the USA and Europe, including the NY Subway graphical system and many others. Elegance is opposite to vulgarity and elegance is one of the main criteria he was following working on (nearly) any project.
«Good design is a matter of discipline. It starts by looking at the problem and collecting all the available information about it. If you understand the problem, you have a solution. It’s really more about logic than imagination.»
Here we agree with one of the most legendary graphic designers Massimo Vignelli. Among his works are the New York Subway visual system, brands like Knoll, Cinzano, Ducatti, United Colors of Benetton and many others. Discipline is a glue that connects all other manifesto points together. Without discipline, the whole work falls apart.