Measurement & Instrumentation

The Designer's Playlist

by Jannette Whippy 19 Dec 2012
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Silence has always been a distraction for me. I need music or a medley of conversations to help me focus and concentrate. I always have music in the background, and when I work on something important, I have a few favorite playlists that help inspire and focus me. Recently I took a closer look at one of my favorites: Leonard Cohen, a musician/poet from Canada. I found some fun and interesting connections between his songs and how to best work with designers. Here are five Leonard Cohen songs to keep in mind when working with a designer:

1. First We Take Manhattan

Clarify your needs. Be a good partner in the design process, let your designer know what you want from the project, and of any designs that appeal to you. Communicating your needs is never a bad thing. Just like in the song, spell it out: "First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin." Specifying your needs and making sure that everyone involved knows what is expected of them will leave more room to engender creativity: your designer won’t take Berlin before first taking Manhattan.

2. The Future

Include pertinent deadline information, always. Most designers work on multiple projects at the same time. They need to adjust their priorities based on concrete information, like deadlines. As Leonard Cohen would say, "Get ready for the future: it is murder." Hopefully the deadlines associated with the project don’t end in murder, but keeping your designer in the loop for when the future is nigh will ensure your project will remain on track, with no loss of life.

3. Who By Fire

Explain your issue; don’t just try to solve it. Instead of asking to make a font bold or bigger, tell the designer what you need the title or sentence to do in relation to the rest of the design or page. As the lyrics go, "…who shall I say is calling?" Knowing the concept behind the changes allows your designer to come up with innovative ways to solve the issue. However, if you do have an idea about how you might solve the problem, include it (but don’t forget to explain what the problem is so that your designer has a chance to offer a solution).

4. Anthem

Trust your designer’s skills. You hire designers for a reason; don’t micromanage their creative process. Be willing to give them space, space to innovate and create; you might be pleasantly surprised at what comes of it. My favorite line in Anthem is, "There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in." Trust that your designer can break through and shine a light on your work.

5. Waiting for the Miracle

Give your designer time to work well. Time—time to marinate, mull, and sketch—is a necessary part of creating good design. One must wait for the miracle to come. Patience is best, as the lyrics suggest: "Nothing left to do when you've got to go on waiting, waiting for the miracle to come." Give a designer time to work and you will see what miracles of design emerge.

Once you collaborate with, and trust in, your designer, a world of opportunities will open up. In a similar vein, HCL Technologies realized the importance of its people and reassessed their strategies to capitalize on their strengths. GTM members can click here and learn how HCL Technologies uses a three-step transformation process to invest in a collaborative, employee-focused, customer-centric business model. If you are not a member, check out the sample on slideshare.

Jannette is the Senior Graphic Design Artist for Growth Team Membership, a premier best practices research group within Frost & Sullivan. You can follow her on Twitter: @jwhippy.

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