29 June 2005

Steve Jobs on design

I find it so peculiar that more occultists aren't designers and that more designers aren't occultists. I've married what I do as my career with what I do as a being on a spiritual quest. The best designers I see out there are beyond the artist vs designer debate, and I would presume the same of the best artists out there. There is no differentiation in today's world, is there? It's about working with the "soul" of a man-made platform or medium. As designers, we are playing as gods would, in a way. As a designer well-versed in occultism and sorcery, I have the potential to take it to a whole other level. More to come as I develop a site more geared specifically for occult design. (This blog is really just a test plaything for the time being.)

On the other hand, I suppose this could be said of any field, no? Deus ex machina, as we all come together to search for ways to find the deepest symbolic truth in what we do. From the mathematician to the poet to the architect to the humanitarian, there are always avenue that will lead the masters of their chosen field to these so-called "occult" areas of study. But what does that mean, I am not sure. I will explore it further late on.

via A Clear Eye
"In most people's vocabularies, design means veneer. It's interior decorating. It's the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service."

I'm a big proponent of the importance of aesthetics and design to business success. One of my products (designed during my stint as a high tech business owner) even won an I.D. magazine design award. So I had to dig pretty deeply to discover what was bothering me while perusing my recent issue of Graphic Design USA.

Here it is. Most of the award winners, in categories ranging from annual reports and advertising to brochures and direct mail, are nothing but veneer. Deceptive, superficial show; a fa├žadeto.

You read it right… deceptive! Most are creating false expectations. Expectations of encountering happy, funny, caring human beings. Or products and services that will blow us away. And you and I both know what we typically encounter.

Do I have a point? Yes I do. Read Steve Jobs description of design again: It's "the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service." The fundamental soul… that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service. Is that how you'd describe your latest ad or direct mail piece? C'mon.

McDonald's ads used to shout, "We like to see you smile?" Now it's, "I'm lovin' it." Really? Have you been to a McDonald's lately? Have you seen anyone smiling or lovin' anything? Veneer! My former bank portrays themselves in TV ads as the most sensitive, empathetic group of folks alive today (The descriptor "former" should give you a hint to the reality of that noise). Veneer!

I'm with Eames as design relates to business: "Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose." Now I'm not bashing designers or ad agencies. My guess is that no one has explained the purpose (a.k.a brand) to them. So they do the best that they can do, right? Even if it's a huge waste of the client's money.

The purpose of advertising, announcements, brochures, logos, direct mail, et al is to create an expectation. Period. Expectations that the company — and its partners — must be strategically poised to deliver on (also referred to as the experience). The experience of choosing and consuming a beverage. The experience of listening to and internalizing a sales presentation. The experience of being with a real estate, investment, law, accounting, medical, etc. professional. The experience of choosing a Sony. The outer layer. The one that touches the customer. That's what's critical today.

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