Eleven ideas we think are important
1. No branding
"Branding" is a kind of trendy idea that involves consultants
telling you who you are and what you should look like. Companies like
Apple or Ben & Jerry's or Ikea aren't good "brands," they're
just good companies with good products. How they communicate is a natural
consequence of who they are, in the same way that your clothes, your house
or the way you talk express who you are. When we develop identity systems
for our clients, it's our job to help this process along.
2. Try a little harder
When you see a movie (or look at art, or read a poem, or watch a tv show)
that was made with focus and passion, it's exciting. Every aspect was
considered. Every choice was made with intent. The time and energy put
into it was rewarding for its creators and it's rewarding for you. After
all, if nobody cared when they were making something, why should you care
about it later? We pay attention to details that most people will never
even notice. Why? Because we know that doing things right matters, and
that By making better things, we can make things better.
3. Type = words
As designers we make visual things, but most of the time people communicate
with words. We talk, we listen, we write and we read. That's what we do,
too. A lot of our work is based on language. By using design to put the
emphasis on words, those words have to be meaningful. That way, the messages
being delivered become clearer and more direct (and funnier, and more
4. Smart and stupid
Everyone loves to solve complicated problems in clever ways. But sometimes
the best solution turns out to be the most obvious one. You have to be
pretty smart to know that the best answer to a problem might actually
be kind of stupid.
5. All it is is
We like to make things that do exactly what they need to do with exactly
what they need to do it. This kind of essential design is both elegant
6. It is what it is
We like to make things that tell the truth about what they are and how
they were made. People don't like being lied to. So if you're starting
a new company, we're not going to tell people about its long "heritage."
And if you have a low production budget, we'll come up with an idea that
shows how smart things can be done with very little money.
The way things are made and what they're made of have their own very specific
connotations. Letterpress printing on handmade paper feels one way. This
website, typeset entirely in HTML text, is very different. We use this
to our advantage when we work, so that each project has its own texture
and personality that supports its message.
8. Different is good
Despite the best efforts of the marketing industry, people like to be
surprised. They like things that are different, or unique, or (sometimes)
just plain weirdthings that look the way they do for a reason. So
please don't ask us to make something just like something else. It's boring.
9. 100% organic
When we work on a design problem, we try to get all of the information
we can up front. That way we can work in a holistic way and come up with
a solution that takes every aspect of the project into account. This integrated
way of thinking saves time and money and produces results that are more
flexible and more complete.
While we sit here working on graphic design projects, there are people
all over the world working, playing, buying, selling, fighting wars, living
and dying. We are part of all this larger context, whether we like it
or not. So an awareness and consideration of what's going on in the worldand
of the effects of what we dois very important to us. This helps
us keep things in perspective and do work that's more informed and engaged.
11. People are smart
The work that we make is for people to use, experience and enjoy. So we
make sure that everything we do is based on a clear idea that makes sense
and is executed in a way that's accessible. People are smart. If you keep
that in mind, a lot of possibilities open up.