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How To Approach a Company With Ugly Designs

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65
Chris Do
Published
July 4, 2017

Chris Do advises how to approach companies with ugly designs

Read Transcript
So, Lee, give to me maybe three or four decisions or observations that you're making prior to saying, you suck. Your work sucks. Well, I'm not really saying this. I'm just saying that there could be improvement and I get what you see as well. Like, you know, there could have a reason for it being late. But that's why I said on Facebook, you know, without sounding like, you know, I'm sort of saying what? I've got better than what you have sort of thing. Yeah, that's just for the sake of our conversation right now. Let's just assume their work does suck and what you do have is supremely better. Now, what are the two or three steps or maybe more things that you're thinking about that led you to that conclusion? Let's just play along here, ok? OK, so what are they? I have my notepad and pen. I'm ready to go. OK, so like I checked out the like, I got a leaflet from them. This is the actual company here. It's called BSA school and their logo looks at the sort of outdated stuff. I don't want to say it's rubbish. I mean, I don't want to use those words. But then well, for this is like a classroom, right? It's just we're going to have a real conversation. Let's just not be so polite. Let's just go straight. OK because I don't want to spend all the time kind of figuring out what you're trying to say. Let's just go for it. And it is truly nice. OK, just go to the edge a little bit. So basically, I got this leaflet and it's a company that I'm wanting to actually be part of as well. And I thought, oh, well, you know, the logo looks rubbish. I'm sure I could do a better job. And then I checked their website and I had the same sort of reaction. You know, I looked on it and I thought, well, you know, it looks like it could definitely be improved. OK, let's start there. I'm still having a hard time figuring out why you think it's rubbish when you look at that, what are you looking at? Well, I think it's just the way it's sort of laid out and, you know, it doesn't really represent like it represents sort of the sea school. But at the same time, it's not really. It doesn't really say to me that this is a professional company or I mean, like because there's so many of a sort of sailing schools and they look like this. All of really professional and stuff. And this one kind of looks a bit cheap. And, you know, even though, what is it? I needed a pin. I need you to be. I need you to put on your art director hat and be super precise, like a ninja slicing tomatoes with a blade. Tell me what it is that you're seeing and picking up. You're making a lot of decisions, but you're not illuminating your thought process at all because I'm like, what do you mean, that sounds really insultingly? This is super professional. What are you talking about? We've been in business for 20 years. You see, you're still going straight to the prescriptive conclusion part like, I don't like this. This is stupid. I hate this. What are you? Precisely, that's telling you it's not professional or perhaps doesn't represent them. I am well, I'm not really good at sort of the wording for sort of a design critique. Well, I don't know it just. Just it doesn't look like if you look at a professional company and then you look at that, you can see the difference. So this OK. Can you go on your website right now and pull up something from a professional company and try to articulate the differences that you're seeing? And what we're going to do is we'll start big and then we'll narrow it down, OK, so hopefully leave you play along here. This could be a great learning opportunity for this entire group. I understand that not all of us are comfortable either saying what we think or have the visual vocabulary to talk about what it is we like or don't like and can't articulate that to their client. So we wind up just going to these base reactions, which is it's not professional. It doesn't represent you, and it's amateurish. So I'm going to try and help you here. OK, play along and I'll teach you how to do this on the spot. OK OK. So do you have a website or something up in front of you right now? I'm pulling up now just. And so that we can all play along. Tell me what the URL is, so I can search for it as well. And I'm just looking to be honest, I never realized this, but I'm looking at all of us failing schools and they've all got to solve the same look and solve the look. Yes, see? They were learning some things together here. You find anything yet. This one's fine. It looks, in my opinion, better than the basic school on Marina sailing. So that's OK. Polynyas largest sailing club apparently showing the screen. OK so is this a nice logo to you? Well, it looks nicer than the best schools on. OK, why does this one look nice to you? Um, it just looks more professional. There isn't a better typeface, like it looks, yeah, like the registry isn't like my pro or something like that sort of really basic typekit, whereas this one, it looks a bit more classy. I'm not sure which typekit, but me neither. That the logo is a bit more simple like this one, it's just it just seems a bit random the way things are it and stuff. And if you like, you know, it doesn't really follow the rules of logos like, you know, your scale or just won't even look like a ball anymore. And you know, because of that, the hype around it as well, it just there's so much space on either side. It just it would look a lot better if it was just like the Marina sailing one where it was just not on the top. And then, you know, the two. So OK. So what you're doing there is you're starting to pick it apart and you're starting to be able to discern very specific things. And I can help coach you through this. OK, so let's just break it down. One thing at a time. What I would suggest that you all do is start with the biggest stuff first. So there's this icon, and to you, the icon looks visually pleasing. It will scale down and reduce well. I would not necessarily say according to the rules of logo design, because nobody cares. And you just in very plain speak so that people do care. So the logo itself will reduce down really well. It reads easily. It can use as a standalone element, or it could be used in conjunction with this particular lock up. The lockup itself between the word mark and the symbol feel fairly balanced, and it can be configured in multiple ways. You can see that it can stack or it can be centered like this because the upper left corner is the logo stamped right, so it seems to be working. The icon itself seems to imply speed. It's reflective of the sail, but it's abstract enough that could be cool kind of just by itself. And the word mark itself has a very simple type set, but there's just enough customization in the initial letters the m and S that seems to appeal to you. Perhaps you like the serif typeface because it feels classic because serif typefaces are older. Maybe that's what it is. And then they have this little banner underneath the kind of group it all together. And literally there's an anchor underneath to kind of hold it down. OK so there's some nice things going on it going on there. There's some issues, obviously to me in terms of letter spacing and the weight of these strokes. The m seems to be like strokes or inconsistent with the way that the and R's are drawn. And there's. Right so now we can see that we can break this whole thing apart. And it looks like to me that since 1962 is a different typeface, so they're using a couple of different things going on there. I'm not sure that's necessary, but we shall see even the California's largest sailing clubs, a different typeface as well. Yeah so there's a lot going on here. OK OK. So if we scroll down, we see like there's some really beautiful photography for sure. It's breathtaking. It makes me feel like I want to go sailing. There's images of the family. And this is what you would do. You just go through and literally break down every single thing that you can see and spot and just try to describe it. Now, notice most of the time because I don't have the advantage of looking at the crappy logo you're looking at, but I try not to say disparaging thing about a person's company. You feel like I give you the website for the not so nice. Well, it's basically dev.mysql.com Bay City bay, baresi C school, Si school. Yeah hopefully, you're not punching me. And sending me to a weird site that OK. OK all right. So here's the thing. I tried to focus mostly on what I think is positive about something so that I allow the client to fill in the gap themselves because sometimes when you attack a person's work or company or logo that they didn't believe to be a problem to begin with, you're kind of insulting them. And I wouldn't feel that way, but a lot of people would feel that way. And so we want to steer clear from this when we're talking to clients. OK Yeah. Now I just told you a bunch of things that I feel which are really not relevant to you, so what I would do is I would ask people a series of questions, OK, and this is how we're going to do this now. I'm going to stop this sharing here. Michael, go back to talking to you, ok? The trick to getting a client to think the way that you think is to try to illuminate the way you think to them by asking them a series of questions. Now, if you don't know what you think and you can't articulate that well, we're kind of stuck right now. So what I would recommend all of you perhaps drop into an MFA like a master's in fine art program and watch how they talk about work. There's a way that they look at things the language they use, and it won't take too long before you start learning how to speak about work. Mfa candidates are typically notorious for over describing process and thought process that you look at the work. It's like, I think you just threw paint on that, but the way you're able to talk about is quite interesting. OK, so that's need some practice there. So we're going to learn how to ask questions. So you notice at the beginning of this, I didn't just go into it. I started asking you lots of questions. Yeah and that allows you to come to at least in the middle to see the world the way that I see it. If I just told you, you're all wrong, it's just terrible and shut up, and this is not the way you talk about design. Then you are going to be immediately turned off by that and you're going to shut down. Your hands are going to come and you're going to close yourself off. And this is what a client's going to do. It's like walking to somebody's home and critiquing everything about their home. It's a tough business to be in. So the better way to do this is to ask them. I'm curious, do you feel if your identity and your branding is reflective of what you think you are? How would they respond? I'm just writing this damn thing, right, because you came to it saying, this doesn't represent you. You made a lot of assumptions that me and that this is not connected to me. Yeah America. OK, so you're going to ask these kinds of questions, it's very important. Does this represent you? How do you feel about this? Where would you like to go? What kind of challenges are you having surrounding the identity that you've created? I'm just curious, are you making merchandise and is it selling well? What's been the customer feedback been around this? So you see, like all these questions are carefully designed to get them to say and think what? I want them to think. They say we have sort of saying this is how it should be. You're trying to get them to realize, like be on the same sort of level as you solve them. Well, you're just trying to teach them what you think. This is what experts do, this is what consultants do. Like I said before, in many of the lectures I've given, anybody, including a child, can prescribe a solution like my son who knows nothing about design, really. He's 12 now, but before he was much younger, he'd walk in. It's like, yeah, dad, I don't know. I don't like that. And then you just walk away. I'm like, what? Like, what do you know about design? Get your little butt out of here. Right, and that's kind of what you're doing, you're going to get swatted away and dismissed like that little kid like my son. But if he's like, dad, so what are you trying to solve here? Do you think your audience connects to this kind of imagery or what kind of imagery do you think resonates with them? Then eventually, he would lead me down this path, I'm like, then my only conclusion then would be, yeah, this kid smart. He's thinking he helped me to come to the realization of a problem. I did not realize that I had before, or maybe that I couldn't articulate it. Yeah all right. That makes sense. OK, so it's a dangerous business to be in when you arrive at the door with all the conclusions all the solutions worked out having not even talk to the client. Ok? does this help you guys with you? Suck and you need me? Yeah, definitely helpful. All right. If you are able to change this, Lee and everybody that's watching this. If you're able to change the way that you think and the way that you communicate this to your client, you're going to see something wonderful happen. You're going to see a transformation, you're going to see that flip happen that Blair ends talks about when the client sees you as a vendor and it flips and they see you as an expert now as a consultant. And that's critical. OK can I ask a follow up question to that? 100 percent? Who's talking? This is victor, Victor. Fire away, man. So what does this encounter look like in your head? I mean, does he just show up at the door and start asking this question out of nowhere, the sea experience what the school is like first and then try to make some connections from that. Right he wants to turn this into a prospect, right? So how does he begin this dialogue? Now I'm going to assume that Lee is somewhat of a sailing enthusiast because he seems to know a little bit about sailing. He knows about websites I don't know about. So he already is connected, and so he has a passion for it and some kind of knowledge there. I've shared this with you guys before, the way that I would reach out to them is to kind of figure out an angle. Ok? they distribute these pamphlets, these leaflets for a reason. What do you think they're trying to do? And Lee might say, well, they're trying to get more people to take classes or something, or they want to spread the word of sailing and why it's important they're sailing evangelists, something like that. So what you want to do is just ask them a very simple question. I received this wonderful leaflet in the mail. And I'm an enthusiast. I'm a sailor or I've been certified. I'm just curious if this is meeting the objective that you set out. Are you getting a good response from putting out this leaflet? And then that should begin the conversation, I've shared this example before with the real estate company because they send me stuff in my inbox all the time and all I reached out. All I did was these things are wonderful. I get them all the time. I love seeing the new products that you're working on. It's getting the kind of result that you want. That's all. So you see how quickly I can elevate the conversation from it being about your logo sucks to like what is the purpose of this leaflet to begin with? Maybe you don't need a leaflet. Maybe the logo, no matter how bad it is, doesn't even impact the business at all. Dare to think like what a radical thought that maybe the logo doesn't matter at all. And you guys may have heard me say this, unless your company is in the fashion business or something where. Or an automotive industry where the logo actually is part of the design part of the product. The new the logo doesn't matter at all, like your experience in terms of the teaching or the sailing experience will be impacted almost zero percent, whether or not they have a nice logo like Marina sailing or BC sailing. It makes no difference. In fact, many people would like to scratch off and remove logos off things, they remove the thing that you guys hold so dear. So a much better conversation to have with them is why did you make this leaflet to begin with? No, you should know the answer to that question. So you should rephrase that question as in. Is it getting the result that you want in terms of people signing up for a classroom or a class, or something like that? Victor, did I answer your question? Yes, he did thank you. Great, are there any other questions around this. And then we'll move on. Fine beautiful. OK

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