Design Like No One’s Watching

I admittedly watched American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance years ago for a few seasons — before the real judges left (Simon Cowell and Mary Murphy). During those shows’ auditions, contestants that showed potential sang or danced like no one was watching. Like when you’re in the car at a stoplight belting out Kelly Clarkson, protected in your bubble, albeit a clear, see-through bubble. You know you’ve done it.

These people lay it on the line and perform their hearts out, blowing our minds with their art and craft. They take us through an emotional story with a start, middle and end, told with song or dance as the medium. They make us feel something, or, somethings. We respond with an emotion.

When you present your breadth of ideas to the client, always ensure one is on brief. This shows the client you were listening, delivering them what was asked. But, often times, that’s not really what they want.

The client, as smart as they are, sometimes do not think of everything or every angle. It is your job to then uncover that hidden insight, and show them what is possible, with a solution at the other end of the spectrum.

Often this is a bit scary and uncomfortable for the client. Smart clients embrace this when it enhances their vision. You’re making them feel something. Other clients will not, as they will rest on ‘what has worked.’ It is your job to tell a better story and convince the latter otherwise. Make them feel.

You owe it to yourself as creators to design like no one’s watching. Design with soul. Do work that matters. Do work that makes people feel. Be brave. Design with courage. So what if it’s a direct response FSI for a local fumigator. Or a POP display piece for an industrial chemical manufacturer. Make it the best f*cking FSI or POP ever made. Be clever. Be true to yourself. Always.

Your clients will love you for it.

And you will have a happy soul.