Photograph by: Jon Tyson

Prerequisites of Success

Often I am brought into a design project with predetermined ideas and solutions. And more often than not the ideas and solutions rarely fulfill the requirements of the business need.

The reasons are many, here are just a few:

  1. The client has solved the problem without a definition or clarity of the problem
  2. Resolving without asking — why?
  3. No room for curiosity and defining alternative solutions

Clients also have described a particular solution and rarely divulge how they came up with it. Some believe all that is needed is a compelling image, font, and great use of color.

Now that may be true, but often it is not and has only solved the problem at the surface-level. Others believe defining a strategy with a designer is a complete waste of time or they throw skeleton resources at it and wonder why it failed.

Designing without strategy is creating without purpose — and wasted effort.

As a business owner and designer, the strategic plan is equally important as the product itself. I address business needs and define them with the client before working on the look and feel. Curiosity always takes priority over being seen as the expert. Empathy to the need is much more significant than applying creativity and layout skills.

Asking why I believe a plan will fulfill the business objectives also separates the better designers from average ones. I have worked with clients and designers that won’t or can’t invest time to define goals, objectives, and metrics. And the outcomes have been at best — so-so. Tragically the time and money to uncover golden opportunities and strategic diamonds were both seen as unnecessary and wasted effort.

Uncovering golden opportunities and strategic diamonds

The best clients and designers invest time and resources to define the business need, objective and metrics for success. They are confident with unknowns and saying I do not know. Or simply, “No, that will not work — here’s why?” They place emphasis on diagnosing problems before solving. They also understand that teamwork and rapport are much more important than being awarded the job.

Though brief I hope business owners and designers found this article intriguing. — Thank you, for your time.


I would like to acknowledge and thank these sources: The Futur and The Futur Pro Group and its members:, Chris Do, My clients, and mentors

Orbital about your business and you, while making the business of design an absolute blast!

Tim has been a business owner of Orbital Visual LLC for three years and a creative leader and project planner for 15+ years. He’s passionate about learning and believes the best work starts with curiosity.

You can learn more about Tim here: as well as connect with him on LinkedIn — he accept all requests and appreciates all comments. You can also follow Orbital Visual LLC here: