Food for thought‘[...] do not think that good design can make a poor product good, whether the product be a machine, a building, a promotional brochure or a business man. But [...] good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential. In short, [...] good design is good business.’
Thomas J. Watson Jr., IBM CEO

Michael Wolff on The Three Muscles of Creativity

April 2, 2011, 12:33 PM

Intel has come up again with a beautiful short film in their Visual Life series. This time is about the iconic designer Michael Wolff, co-founder of Wolff Olins, one of the best British designers ever and one of the fathers of brand identity design.

I have three muscles, without which I couldn’t do my work. The first is curiosity. (You can call it inquisitiveness, you can call it questioning.) The second muscle [is] the muscle of appreciation. It’s not questioning so much as it is noticing… how joyful things can be, how colorful things can be, what already exists as an inspiration. The muscle of curiosity and the muscle of appreciation enable the muscle of imagination.

Everybody knows that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. What few people realize it is only through the parts that the whole gets delivered. I see seeing as a muscular exercise, like I see curiosity. It’s a kind of being open, really: If you walk around with a head full of preoccupation, you’re not going to notice anything in your visual life.

A brand is really a way of remembering what something is like for future reference — something you value, something you feel attracted to. The job of a brand identity, how you package all of that — the purpose, the vision, what it does, what it brings — how you make that so that people can take it and receive it and value it and treasure it and choose it, that’s the whole process of branding. That’s what it is.”

— Michael Wolff

The film is beautifully shot, with a perfect pace & score, all adding even more value to Michael Wolff’s wise words. As one would imagine, his house is a designer’s playground, with Pantone mugs and other treats, like this beautiful tea kettle, that I wish I knew where to get:

Also, gotta love Wolff’s hilarious description of the classic Cooper Black typeface, affectionately calling it  “cow dong”. And last but not least, I love how he talks about cooking as related to creativity — “you never cook the same meal twice”. But enough with the spoilers, here it is:

Read more:
— “The Three Muscles of Creativity” by Maria Popova on the TBD Blog;
— “Michael Wolff on Creativity” by David Airey;
Thanks TheInspiration.com for the first tip.

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“It’s good to feel uncomfortable.”

October 1, 2009, 12:17 AM

Another thoughtful article from Dave Trott:

[…] we need to study ourselves.

To find out what side of the brain we are dominant in.

(Left brain being the rational side, right brain being the emotional.)

Then we need to spend as much time as we can exposing ourself to influences from the other side.

Because whatever side is dominant is our comfort zone.

We’ll naturally gravitate to that.

But anything we learn in our comfort zone won’t give us any new combinations.

Whereas whatever we learn on the other side of the brain gives us a completely new set of possible links to our existing side.

So we should force ourselves to experience whatever we’re not comfortable with.

If you’re a numeric person, force yourself to experience art and music.

If you’re a visual person, force yourself to read more books.

If you like fiction, make yourself to read non-fiction.

If you like rock music make yourself listen to Classic FM.

Explore.

While we’re in our comfort zone we’re on auto pilot.

We’re relaxing and letting it wash over us.

But when we move out of our comfort zone our mind is forced to think.

Forced to try to find something good in what we don’t like.

Staying in our comfort zone just means staying with what we already know.

There’s no growth there.

No possibilities for new combinations.

Paul Arden used to say, “It’s good to feel uncomfortable.”

We shouldn’t be frightened to feel uncomfortable.

We don’t need to live in either of the two big comfortable, predictable circles.

Thanks again Sebi for the tip ;)

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