Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Business and Faith mix it up

Everyone tip-toes around this time of year trying not to spread mis-directed Christmas cheer, (Oops, did I say "Christmas?" I meant holiday...)

But, the presence of Christians (ie, those who celebrate Christmas) in the business world are hard to overlook.

Guy Kawasaki points out that some of the best speakers are found in the pulpit in Evangelism: Eternal Life, Forgiveness, and Operating Systems.

One of my favorite authors and speakers is local businessman John Beckett. He wrote Loving Monday. Instead of grinding it out until Friday and living only for weekends, John saw how his work can be filled with meaning and purpose. The key was integrating his work and beliefs. As a result, both grow - along with his love for Mondays. (You can even read it online).

Nor did it end there... His newest book is Mastering Monday: A Guide to Integrating Faith and Work.

Looking for a different approach this year? I highly recommend these books!

Design takes a holiday

The days between Christmas and New Year's day are one of my favorite times of the year, mainly because we close our office and take a holiday.

It's a tradition we began when we formed Brian Sooy & Co. over 11 years ago, and it's not particular to our business. Other local and design firms around the nation follow the same practice. One of the largest employers in the county in which we live is closed.

It will be a working holiday this year, with a press check to attend and time to catch up on invoicing, but it will allow for time to spend with family, to play and to think.

Thinking is so often overlooked, since many designers tend to enjoy doing: designing, creating, making. It's the leisure of unstructured time over these next few days that allow the opportunity for thinking.

Big picture thinking: Where are you headed next year? Where is your design business headed? Are you content with your positioning? Are you content with your client relationships? Are you noticing your employees enough? Are you making it possible for them to do great work?

Mundane thinking: Is our data backed up reliably? How can I synchronize my font library across the network? Will anybody notice if I don't send out a Christmas card?

At any rate, plan well for next year. You'll appreciate it next December, which will be here before you know it.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

When designers turn to golf... and toast

Arik Nordby, a designer from Minnesota (near Canada) is the proprietor of Bogey Pro, a very funny site for golf-themed products. Well, funny if you like golf, because golfers are a funny bunch...

It's a great example of a designer creating a successful business designing and selling product and creating a brand. Check out the "Moscow International Golf Club" shirt and the Underachievement Awards, at bogeypro.com

I learned of him and his web site after he purchased an Altered Ego font... Not only does he create well-designed product, he has excellent taste in type.

The products are really humorous, especially if one enjoys golf. Overall, it's well-executed, from copy to visual design.

Another product he created in collaboration with The Onion, are gift boxes. I guarantee they are unlike any other gift box you've ever seen...

Toast, anyone?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Are designers paid to think, or paid to do?

As designers, are we paid to think, or are we paid to do?

Successful client relationships will be those where the client is aware that we're paid to think, and understand the benefits. These will be the clients who look for their design consultant to lead them.

Some clients may assert that we're paid to do (the same who argue that "We paid for it, it must belong to us." ) It's the work-for-hire mentality.

No doubt about it. We're paid to think. The doing is the execution of how we think, and what we think of, and one can't come before the other.

Worth considering: Lombardi weighs in on the topic if Design vs. Management Thinking. He asks "is design as the new management consulting?" His point? Let's not think too highly of ourselves.

He also asks: What is design thinking?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Digg for Dummies

Let's see, 11 months into blogging and I realize this: the time to think about what to blog is inversely proportional to the time and energy necessary to running a design firm.

That is, the busier I am with design-related issues, the harder it is to be able to write about them. Too busy doing and not enough time being. Time only to observe and not to reflect.

At that point, Digg becomes a valuable tool for additional observing. (Thanks to Guy Kawasaki). Neil Patel of Pronet Advertising has an excellent overview of Digg, so it can become useful quicker to busy designers.

Anyway, blogging about blogging is boring. You can also read about what other designers who blog write about on Designers Who Blog.

Back to the mines, so to speak. More deadlines to meet.