Make Time for Great Design

By Jeff Baker, posted on February 13, 2019

Our design team is in the middle of busy season and it seems as though we’re working around the clock to create beautiful and effective brand presentation solutions for our clients. In the world of production there’s an old saying – “Quality, Cost, Time: Choose Any Two.” – but we’d rather not have to choose!

Our core philosophy at Image 4 is to deliver to the highest standards of Quality.

Cost, or budgets, tend to be fixed.

That leaves Time as our internal variable. The challenge is, we’re all pressed for time and often feel like we don’t have the time to create and refine a great idea. Our clients often feel the same. We understand.

First, most of our clients are trying to “do more with less”. I could write a whole post on why this doesn’t work – my degree is in process design and quality management – but the tide is against me on this one!

Second, there’s no question the marketing world is moving faster. Our nearly instant access to ideas, images, products and shopping has changed so much about how we see and experience “new” things. What used to take seasons or quarters for the consumer to see can now be presented in days through application of technology.

Third, there’s a societal impression that most things can be accomplished at the last minute. Need a shirt tomorrow? Go to Prime. Want a coffee now? Start the Keurig. Need a prescription on your way home? Hit the drive-through.

These pressures of time, rapid iteration and the expectation of immediacy fail to take into account that the human mind needs time. A recent study indicates that different people solve problems or are creative at different points in the day – some when they are tired, some when they are fresh in the morning, some when they are under stress. Other studies have shown the value of “open time” and free thinking in connecting disparate ideas.

More importantly, great design solutions are often iterative. One of our team will come up with a great idea, sketch it out, and, as it takes on a life of its own the designer and peers will push and prod and tweak the concept. This refinement takes time.

Often the third or fourth pass at a design concept is THE ONE that stands out as unique, effective, and eye catching. It’s a little like baking from scratch: blending the ingredients takes an hour, the dough has to rise in a warm place for an hour, and then cool on the counter for a third hour before it’s ready to serve.

Image 4 has an internal “rapid development” process, where we segregate designers and have them work on the same project from differing viewpoints. This approach is fairly successful at speeding up the design “clock cycles”. Yet, at the end of the day when the client reviews the work, there are almost always refinements to integrate.

The lesson here is to involve your creative and design team early on in your project development. Get the creative juices and brainstorming flowing soon. Try to stretch that timeline in the development phase to give your creatives what they need to conceive, reflect and iterate. Your projects will be better for it. And your customers will enjoy better experiences in your brand.

As always, “It’s About the Experience.®”

Category: , , ,