creativity and design

Creativity is Not Distributed Equally: Why Many Designers Fail their Clients

In 1986, Steve Jobs went to Paul Rand, a brilliant designer famous for creating award-winning logos like:

  • IBM
  • YALE
  • UPS
  • Westinghouse

  • ABC
  • Cummins

…to name a few. Steve asked Paul if he’d be willing to come up with some logo ideas for his new company, NeXT. Paul replied, “NO! I will solve your problem for you and you will pay me. If you want options, ask other people.” He created one design and was paid $100,000.

Now what would make one of the most brilliant marketing minds acquiesce to Paul Rand, accept one design and pay $100,000? Answer: Steve Jobs knew creativity is not distributed equally. He knew many may be creative, but few ascend above the average.

In today’s hyper-digital world, it’s not enough to share information; your material must be designed to move people. What is most important to understand is DESIGN is not just your logo, banners and images. Great design is the totality of everything that makes up your entire user-experience: graphics, words, proper use of space, colors, sounds (if applicable), blog articles – the entire spectrum of your marketing infrastructure. Many designers are not capable of doing this effectively.

Your branding, website, slicks, brochures, flyers, ads and social-media presence must be SO WELL done that when you get one’s attention, you’ll hold it and move them to SHARE your content. In order to do so, you need to ask, “What would move someone to share something?”

There are three overwhelming factors coined by Aristotle, in 350 BC:

  • Emotion – pulling the heart
  • Ethics – how it makes them feel about themselves
  • Logic – does it make sense

Now imagine what would happen if you took these three metrics and married them in all aspects of your marketing – how effective would it be?

Emotion: Pulling the heart

Great experienceEmotions are powerful. One can move a person to tears, hatred or tenderness with the right words, images and music. Depending on how you use them, it’s propaganda or promotion. These tactics have been used for nefarious purposes in the past.

With all the stuff on the Internet, you can’t be subpar. The question is, do you know what’s great versus just good? Can you read your audience and choose well?

While creativity is selective – what speaks to one doesn’t necessarily speak to another – there’s plenty of overlap. The right choice will be extremely effective for the majority. Having a good creative eye is a must.

The same applies to the use of words. How you say what you say will determine the impact on the hearer. If it’s not persuasive, it won’t move anyone to action. Positive is better; but negative is powerful as well.

There are two kinds of people:

1. Those motivated towards pleasure: people which go the extra mile. They don’t settle for less; they set goals and achieve them.

2. Those motivated away from pain: people who will do only what it takes to stop the suffering.

While negative speaks to one group, positive speaks to both.

Ethics: Will I feel good or ashamed?

With all of today’s crazy news, one would believe shame no longer exists – people do whatever they want regardless of what others think. I submit that while this is becoming very common, EVERYONE cares about what others think of them. Moreover, they care more about how THEY see themselves. Whether they express it or not, it’s reality.

Therefore, as you design your experience – because it’s all about the user-experience – appeal to what is good, wholesome and worthy. Complement it with emotional words and imagery, and it will tip the scale in your favor.

Logic: Does it make sense?Paladin

Once you’ve done the above, it must make sense. You do this by meeting a person where they are, then taking them where you want them to go. This is done with all the senses: visuals, words and sound (if applicable).

While the previous stages have them leaning toward your offering, the right side of the brain (the logical part) still is in contention and be must won over. Therefore, make sure you have good examples, supporting statistics if available and testimonials to assure your visitor that he or she is making the correct buying decision.

For example, see this sidebar ad for The verbiage, colors and image work together to evoke friendliness, meet a person where they are and take them where Paladin wants them to go.

It’s easy to KNOW what you should do; however, it’s not simple to deliver. Steve Jobs knew this and so does every successful brand – finding effective creativity is important and valuable. Subpar design will reflect an average brand, product or service. The worst part – visitors won’t say it’s mediocre; they’ll just leave.

So look at your brand, marketing infrastructure and packaging with creative glasses. Ask yourself, “Does this truly WOW me, or am I just satisfied? If it does not pull you in and make you want share it, then find a different designer. Get fresh ideas and test them. Remember, your website and marketing has to please your audience, not you.


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