09 Jul Artist vs. Designer – what’s the difference? (Pt 2)
Based on some feedback we received from Part 1 (which was supposed to be more like “Star Wars” rather than “A New Hope”**), we couldn’t leave well enough alone.
I remember taking a writing course or two during the Truman Administration, and one of several memories that stuck with me years later was of countless wanna-be writers spending an inordinate amount of time explaining what they’d just written (and read aloud to the class)
“No, you have to go back to the beginning. See how picks up the book from the desk? That means that she couldn’t actually be his real sister”
“Obviously the dog wasn’t really sleeping – didn’t you pay attention?”
“He always left the gun unloaded in the top drawer on Wednesdays – that’s how you know his twin brother actually did it”
And so on.
The (obvious) problem here is that unless Greg Iles is sitting next to me on the sofa, his writing needs to be pretty clear for me to stay interested. I don’t mind having to think a bit, and even keep a few obvious facts floating around in my head. But if the entire crux of whatever mystery he’s trying to present is so obfuscated that I need CliffsNotes (this actually is the correct spelling – it’s changed a bit over the years) to understand basic plot points I’m not going to delve too deeply.
Think about the ending of “Inception” – different story altogether. Did the spinning top fall over or not? Does it matter? Exactly. (Nolan’s point is that since this reality is all we know, it doesn’t really matter if it’s the real one. We work with what we have. Sorry if I spoiled the movie for you)
So-what does all this have to do with Artists and Designers? Unless your last name is Jodorowsky, chances are you’re trying to accomplish something with your website and users won’t give you the time of day unless you give them an (obvious) reason to do so. If you have to explain why you did something, it’s most likely too late. If you have to show them how to use your convoluted contact form or groundbreaking product gallery, you’ve lost the game. Love him or hate him (he doesn’t really care, particularly now), one of Steve Jobs’ biggest contribution to design was an almost manic insistence on simplicity. Particularly with each of those early iDevices (phones/pods/pads), he knew that each one of them had to feel familiar the first time you picked one up. That’s good design.
Poetry? Paintings? Many classic songs? (Seriously-“do you know who wrote the book of love?”) We can enjoy art without having to completely understand it. Oftentimes, that’s what makes us want to delve more deeply into it-which may, or may increase our appreciation of it.
Who do you want designing your website? Jackson Pollock? (It’s not a trick question, but you should know that 90% of our potential clients say “I want a website that looks like Apple’s”. I’m just sayin’…)
Certainly not the last word, but please feel free to add your own 2 cents
(**When Star Wars was released in 1977, George Lucas was just making a single movie. It was only after his discovery that he’d actually created a machine that printed money that he went back and decided to add some/a lot of padding to the story in the form of several additional movies, books, animated series, action figures etc. etc. “Star Wars” became the title of his creative universe and “A New Hope” became the new title of the original film.)