I believe that Kenny Rogers knows more about design than all of us

Jack Yager
Feb 9 · 2 min read

Yes, that’s right, Kenny Rogers. And it’s all spelled out in the song “The Gambler.”

Let’s break it down.

“You’ve got to know when to hold 'em…”

It’s important to understand where to focus your time and effort. Is this idea you’re working through good enough to win client or stakeholder approval?

“Know when to fold 'em…”

Know the difference between a good idea and a bad one. This isn’t as obvious as it sounds, nor as easy.

“Know when to walk away…”

Don’t get too invested in your own genius. Make sure your design is inline with the project goals and design objectives. If it’s not, let it go.

“..and know when to run.”

If a client or stakeholder isn’t digging your concept, listen, ask a lot of questions, and distance yourself from it as fast as you can. Then get back to the studio and deliver a new concept as soon as humanly possible.

“You never count your money, when you’re sittin' at the table…”

If you are a good presenter, then your presentations will go well. But after your design concepts get passed around and people sleep on them and think more about them and contemplate making what might be a very expensive decision, that will probably change. Be ready for it.

“There’ll be time enough for countin' when the dealin’s done…”

After delivery and execution and payment, think about the project. What could have gone better? Is this the best work you’re capable of? How do you keep growing and improving?

“If you’re gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right…”

Amen, Kenny.


The Gambler lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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