Left versus Right Brain

Left versus Right – Brain

Just call me Captain Obvious: a left brain without a right brain isn’t whole. I mean, I don’t know anyone who is JUST creative or JUST logical. However, typically one has an overabundance of one – they are either extremely logical (mathematical and analytical) or they are overwhelmingly creative (authors, musicians, illustrators, photographers, painters, actors, dancers, etc.).

thinking in colorSo, right-brained people think differently than left-brained people. For example, creative people tend to think in color. They see each day of the week as a different color, or they see numbers in color. This is known as synesthesia. Also, creatives tend to see things in patterns. I could be sitting in a bathroom that has a patterned wall (sort of like stucco) and see faces, people, animals, etc. in the patterns. This is known as pareidolia.

Let me state the obvious again: you can’t have two lefts or two rights and make a whole. Okay, so what am I saying. While left-brained people see the LOGIC in more brain power (people) working on any given project, creatives are VERY territorial.

David Ogilvy, in Confessions of an Advertising Man, wrote, “Talent, I believe, is most likely to be found among nonconformists, dissenters and rebels.” In other words, when it comes to their creations, two creatives rarely get along or agree – on the project. They may be best friends, but if their ideas are challenged, it most likely will escalate into a war of words or bitter resentment.

A Team Needs the Whole Brain

When you’re putting together a team for a project, you want both left- and right-brained people; but you want to make sure they complement each other and not step on each other’s toes. A project could go awry (take longer than necessary, losing money and costing more in the process) or fail, because the team was not formed correctly. The wrong mix could lead to cliquish behavior, with certain factions defending their position against the others, wasting time and money.

The Creative Side: The Art or Creative Director

creative teamOn the creative side, you want an Art Director or Creative Director, who is the ultimate say of the vision for the project. He or she will then create his or her own team. This may include copywriters (if copy was not provided), typesetters, illustrators and a web or UX/UI designer. Some of these roles may overlap in one or two people, but the skills are available. Each member complements the team (makes it whole) and are tasked with individual jobs; but they communicate as one, to ensure they’re working toward the same goal. However, it’s the Creative Director who is the ultimate say – the Grand Territorialist!

In essence, there is ONE creative – the Director – who has creative assets available to dip into, as he or she puts the puzzle pieces together.

The Logical Side: A Project Manager

On the logical side, the same occurs. You’ll have programmers, engineers, analysts and researchers, working on the product. Overall, there will be a Project Manager who oversees the moving parts.

I had a client approach me seven years ago, wanting me to work on a project with a creative friend – he didn’t want her out of the loop. I accepted the project and the long and short of it is, it ended in a disaster. Why? Two different visions, no creative director overseeing the entire project, and the client not wanting to budge on his friend’s ideas. This led me to ask, “Why did you hire me in the first place, at my rate, if all you wanted was a yes-man foot soldier?”

Recently, I was asked by a new client the same thing. Having learned my lesson, I told him no; I chose to walk away from the money and the project – with no bad feelings. My advice to him was he would need to choose the designer he felt best met his vision and goals. Once he did, to trust him or her; after all, why hire someone to do a job you know little about, if you intend on telling him or her how to do his or her job?

He chose me, because he saw I was more interested in an effective project, rather than making the money – regardless of the circumstances (read, Are Customers Always Right? That Depends…).

Choose Wisely

Therefore, as you ponder new projects or starting a business, keep in mind you need the logical to make it function and the creative to deliver your message. It’s all about user experience. The creative side must make it enjoyable; while the logical side makes sure you deliver what was promised.

Choose the right members and don’t overload it thinking two people doing the same job will be better. This is not the case in most circumstances. Have a complementary team that brings the best skills to the table, forming one powerful brain, with the left and right firing on all synapses for a powerful and effective result.

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