...goes a long way, especially when I'm thinking about brands, brand management and the power of brands to build successful organizations and careers.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The most strategic designer I know

Sally Cooper Smith is the most strategic designer I know. I've told her to her face that this is so, so I don't expect her to be embarrassed when she reads this. She knows it's the truth.

You see, Sally takes a sketch book into meetings, but she takes notes. She asks a lot of questions, not about the color or the font or the photos, but about the strategy. She wants to know who the audience is, what the audience wants, what the audience knows about the organization and what the organization expects of the audience.

I know because I've been Sally's client. I've heard her questions and I've seen the result of that kind of smart thinking. She's unlike many of the designers I've run into over the past 20 years; the ones who only sketch in their sketch book, who choose colors because they look good together and often use fonts that are unreadable or illegible because they're cool. They design for the sake of design. They design ESPN - The Magazine.

Sally wants to understand the brand because it drives the design.

The designers where I work are much like Sally. Jeremy and Carolyn ask questions and give reasons for their choices. They want to know about the brand.

Designers like Sally, Jeremy and Carolyn make clients better, stronger and more focused.

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