I’ve been re-reading a book by Shakti Gawain called Creative Visualization. It was written in 1978 and published under Bantam’s New Age umbrella. Contrary to what most might think of new age material, it’s not all woo-woo and fairy dust. The principles of the book are basic – just out of most peoples’ everyday frame of thinking. The purpose of Creative Visualization is “to make positive ideas and concepts a reality”.
When I first read this book several years ago, it was difficult for me to put some of the methods to practice, since I can’t sit still long enough to get into a meditative state. (Which is why I would visualize before falling asleep.) Gawain’s Creative Visualization suggests following four steps: 1) setting a goal; 2) creating a mental picture of it; 3) focusing on it often; and 4) giving the goal/idea positive energy. You’ve heard of the Law of Attraction, right?
When I started reading through the book again last week, it dawned on me that since my first experience with it, I’ve been unconsciously applying this method to my design process. Each one of the four basic steps correlates with creating a client piece. Let me explain:
- Set a Goal: Meet with the client to determine project parameters and specifics and establish the desired outcome for the piece, i.e. build brand awareness, increase web traffic, etc.
- Create a Mental Image: I begin brainstorming solutions and sketching pieces of the thoughts I’m having about the project. I imagine what the outcome will be – what size, color palette, and shape it may have; how the intended audience will react to it.
- Focus On It Often: Brainstorming can happen anywhere, any time – on a hike, eating dinner, even in the shower. I’m always percolating on solutions. Allowing ample time (usually a week or so) in the schedule for this process always yields the best results.
- Give It Positive Energy: Doing the front-end work of brainstorming, visualizing and contemplating builds a really great creative flow for me that allows me to charge ahead with executing designs in digital form. Finally giving the idea life is one of the best parts of my job.
This technique can be applied to any challenge, and it works. Can you apply Creative Visualization to a challenge you’re facing?
It’s Tuesday, and with Tuesday comes a different set of stresses than with Monday. If you’re an entrepreneur – or manager of any sort – Tuesday is the day when the rest of the week comes into focus, and you realize how much crap stuff you have to accomplish before the weekend arrives.
Among your to-do’s are marketing tasks (hopefully) that will keep your customers rolling in. Activities like:
- monthly/quarterly mailings
- attending events or trade shows
- updating your company website and blog
- creating a seasonal product catalog
- making presentations/sales calls
- sending email newsletters
When things get busy, we (yes, even us designers) tend to procrastinate marketing our businesses in order to get through the rest of our tasks. However, even when things are hectic, you should still be focused on promoting your business.
Making a calendar at the beginning of each year that outlines your marketing efforts helps you stay on track, while also helping you budget for any design and printing costs. This can be done quarterly as well, to the same effect (my preferred method), and allows you to be more nimble with your decisions.
By planning your marketing efforts in advance, you can reap some cost savings by:
- ganging up your print jobs for mailings (saves resources, too!)
- having a general brand overview piece on hand to send to prospects and take to meetings
- resizing one design for multiple trade show booth layouts
- qualifying for discounts from your mail house for scheduled catalog mailings
- creating a single branded email newsletter template that is ready for monthly content
- having a standard advertisement design that can resized and sent to publications on the fly
- not paying rush charges when you’re behind the 8-ball!
Well said, Mr. Bass.
For the non-designers out there, Saul Bass is an icon of American graphic design who created the well-known logos for Dixie, Continental Airlines and the United Way (just to name a few). You may have also seen his work in the titling sequences for the movies Psycho, Spartacus and Casino, among many others.
I came across some snippets of a documentary about his career on the web and was enlightened to hear him say,
“It costs every designer money to make it beautiful, because you have to spend more time, you have to futz with it, you have to noodle, you have to push…You’re eating up your budget.”
We’ve been asked many times if we could shorten our schedule for a logo design, or if we can reduce our price if the client promises one round of revisions instead of two. The answer is usually, “No.” Not because we like to be difficult or don’t like to commit to a delivery date, but for the reason Saul Bass stated above.
It costs time (and time = money) to make beautiful things. Things that are not beautiful don’t leave our shop. If you’re a client of ours, chances are good that our attention to detail and craftsmanship are why you arrived at Studio 22 HQ—and are also why you’ve stayed!