Category: design

Worth Reading & Watching

 

HUGH MACLEOD CONNECTS THE DOTS
Typically artists and business people operate in different worlds, where never the twain shall meet. MacLeod however is an artist obsessed with the business environment.

THE ENEMIES OF INNOVATION by Marty Neumeier
HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE HIDDEN FORCES ARRAYED AGAINST CREATIVITY

A beginner’s guide to copywriting: 6 essential reads to get you started

Why Science Fiction Is the Most Important Genre
“Today science fiction is the most important artistic genre,” Harari says in Episode 325 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “It shapes the understanding of the public on things like artificial intelligence and biotechnology, which are likely to change our lives and society more than anything else in the coming decades.”

Scott Belsky: How to Navigate the Messy Middle of a Creative Venture
The starts and finishes of a project seem to get all the headlines and press, but they don’t adequately reflect the extreme swings that occur during the middle section of a journey. In his new book, The Messy Middle, 99U Founder Scott Belsky shares lessons in entrepreneurship around the crucial, but overlooked part of a creative endeavor.

Creativity’s bottom line: How winning companies turn creativity into business value and growth
Most of us can remember a couple of favorite ads. They’re funny, clever, thoughtful. Creativity can delight, even inspire. But does it generate business value?

 

Consumed this Past Week

Forget Ted Talks: The Richards Group Wants University Students to Tune In to Stan Talks Instead 
The series offers lessons from ad legends like Keith Reinhard, Lee Clow and the late David Ogilvy

Subscribe to Stan Talks here

Keeping the Faith with the God of Creativity
FCB NY Chief Creative Officer Ari Halper offers up an assessment of what went wrong for the ad industry and why the industry deity – creativity – might just save us after all, writes Laura Swinton

JUST DO YOUR OWN JOB PROPERLY
An oldie but a goodie.

10 Modern Proofreading Tips to Catch More Avoidable Goofs
Traditionally, proofreading is a separate task from editing. And I still treat the two as different activities. However, the creative benefits of a consistent proofreading process surpass the classic definition of proofreading.

No more fixed budgets, rigid marketing calendars and long lead times: meet the new ad agency model
Why are not these Facebook “unicorn” success stories as common amongst clients managed by agencies?

Here’s Why Good Design Isn’t Negotiable For Your Business
Good design can make or break your business. Here’s why you should invest more in your design team.

Why Laughter Is a Key to Success, Especially at Creative Agencies
Owning your energy in a collaborative business

Milton Glaser on Making New Work at 89 and Why ‘Retirement Is a Trap’
Milton Glaser is the leading voice in the design world and has no plans of relinquishing that title any time soon.

THE FUTURE OF STRATEGY: BE LESS COMPLICATED
When Europeans set sail for the New World, there were two key tasks explorers needed to plan for: first, how would they know if they were heading the right way; and second, who could tell them where the treasure was when they got there? From the findings in this year’s report it seems like the global strategy crew need to know their role in how they find the gold. But it’s these two things, direction and interpretation, where they can add most value to the modern-day exploration of uncharted territories.

Why Lego is ‘upping the ante’ on its in-house creative agency
Lego brought creative in-house a few years ago to ensure creative has “a seat at the table” and improve transparency, productivity and innovation.

Why Design Thinking Works
Occasionally, a new way of organizing work leads to extraordinary improvements. Total quality management did that in manufacturing in the 1980s by combining a set of tools—kanban cards, quality circles, and so on—with the insight that people on the shop floor could do much higher level work than they usually were asked to. That blend of tools and insight, applied to a work process, can be thought of as a social technology.

 

Devaluation of Design

My response to In-House Designers discussion of the week: Devaluation of Design:

We work in a time where the tools of the trade can do as good a job as  it used to take a trained designer to do.

Proving the value of design is tall task as it can be so subjective. What is brilliant to one person is “meh” to another.

Measuring the value can make matters worse. Remember that scene in “Dead Poets Society” where the teacher has the student read the paragraph about how to measure the quality of a poem? Measurement is not the cure-all. There are so many outside factors that affect effectiveness – under certain circumstances even the very best design can be rendered useless.

In Corporate America, volume of work is often viewed as the key indicator for success. But volume does not equate to quality.

I believe…

Consistency is part of the answer – being able to communicate the brand no matter which platform or channel.

Technical excellence – the work should be tight and right every time.

Understand how to communicate to your audience. Most of the time your stakeholders do not know how to do this and this is a huge opportunity to increase the value.

Having agency

There are a few sayings I find interesting. One such term is “having agency”.

We’ll start with a definition:

The sense of agency (SA), or sense of control, is the subjective awareness of initiating, executing, and controlling one’s own volitional actions in the world. It is the pre-reflective awareness or implicit sense that it is I who is executing bodily movement(s) or thinking thoughts.

In social science, agency is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. By contrast, structure is those factors of influence (such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, ability, customs, etc.) that determine or limit an agent and his or her decisions.

 

A sense of control. Isn’t that what we all want in life, even the most meek and humble person. The capacity to make your own choices, actively making your own decisions that determine your own future.

Of late, I have had little agency. In my full-time job, decisions are made for me by people who feel perfectly at ease filling up my time. Needless to say, life has not be fulfilling in recent times.

I am tired of it.

Back on September 26, 2016 I started this site as a way for me to share things I find and think about. If you read through these pages, you’ll find I think about a variety of different things.

But I also started this site very much with the intention of morphing it into a business. My business. My agency. I ran a small one-man freelance business for about a year and half starting at the end of 2008 when I lost my job. It was hard having my own business and I worked incredibly long hours, but I loved it.

My business was called it Ratcliff Creative because I did not want to get pigeon-holed with the word “Design”. There’s nothing I relish more than being a Designer and practicing Design, but sometimes there is a stigma attached to being a designer. I chose to avoid any form of negativity.

I do not want to relaunch Ratcliff Creative, even I though I still own the name, the domain and have a bank account for it. Rather, I find the “Creative” part of it now limiting. Creativity is a tool. A verb, not a noun. With that in mind, I wanted to come up with a name that had no boundaries. Thus was born rat etc. A business, a blog, or both?

Will rat etc become a business? Maybe. Is it top of mind for me? Absolutely.