Paula Scher is one of the most iconic graphic designers of our time. Everything is about selling. Even when it isn't--It is. I prefer learning about marketing through clever documentaries from the edges, beautiful publications, things that bring me joy like Dwell magazine, Monocle, or listening to Design Matters with Debbie Millman. Think about this--Paula shares an interesting fact we all know. Newspapers are all the same size. Choices are made regarding what items are newsworthy and where they are placed in the paper. "It’s not all the news that’s fit to print; it’s all the news that fits"...
I think it was the Artist's Way or a book by Daniel Pink--A Whole New Mind that allowed me to view creativity with an agnostic eye. You don't need another book on business or management bound within a narrowly defined industry perspective. It takes a little work but figuring out how you respond to economies and consumerism allows you to avoid the 24-hour sell cycle and smarmy handshake of inauthenticity.
Feed your mind interesting art, music, literature and film and you might make better creative decisions. Hear me out. I am responsible for data selection. It isn't only about the data you include in the analyses but what you exclude--and why. Paula makes a distinction between design work and the fine art she also pursues. I loved it because it described perfectly how I distinguish between data visualization projects that are client specific and those I pursue for stories or books that I write.
Client work is relatively straightforward if they are data savvy. Typically they know their business need and create a criteria and set parameters collaboratively. Every now and then you need to help construct the brief and scope. The other type of data work I do is for my own creative purposes. Similar to fine art because lets face it -- I go where I want to go, make what I want to make, and actually determine what to make. On the other hand, the client decides on materiality or in the case of data--what data they have in mind. I think a good data person is more like a dentist. The skills to get the job done should not be under-valued and collaboration is key. It is important to leave space for the right data--not discriminate due to limited space or budget--or perspective.
I think your mind is like a giant slot machine. On one side of your brain, you have all the experiences of your life: every influence, everything that ever inspired you, everything that’s ever made you angry, everything you’ve ever thought, just rolling around in there.
The idea that information has complete accuracy is a mistake. People shouldn’t rely on it, and I know that as a designer. It’s not all the news that’s fit to print; it’s all the news that fits. Everything is edited. Why is a newspaper the same length every day? It’s a decision to include or not include.
There is a great series on Netflix Abstract: Art of Design. Paula Scher is featured in episode 6 and you might learn more about creativity and innovation in under an hour than years within your own industry.
Thank you for reading!