Connecting the Dots
illustration by Irene Flores
As somebody who has been creatively-inclined (or at least trying) for as long as I can remember, even as a kid I always thought connect the dots books were silly. I would think “Well that’s obviously Spiderman riding a spaceship into a JC Penney’s (feel free to insert a more logical scenario here). Who wouldn’t be able to figure that out?” Well the answer is: a lot of people.
As designers, creative directors, project managers, whatever job you have that requires interfacing with clients, a lot of times part of our job is to connect the dots for our clients. What seems obvious to us isn’t always to them.
Show Don’t Tell
“Show Don’t Tell” is one of those phrases that gets thrown around a lot but we still need to re-remind ourselves all the time. That cool pattern you designed for a packaging project that you think might look great laser cut onto a wooden panel for a storefront? Show it. A 15-minute Photoshop job could be the difference in getting a client excited about an idea and making it a reality instead of just another concept that didn’t come to fruition. Those icons you designed for a website that you think would look great as buttons. Comp it up. Being proactive as a designer and showing how you think—and in turn communicating your idea well—is where you show your real value. Prove that you’re a design thinker and not just waiting for tasks to get assigned to you.
Design is Communication
So remember, not everyone can see superheroes in rockets. They might just see a bunch of dots. You have the imagination, so make your ideas come to life. A lot of people have great ideas, the key is figuring out how to communicate them and make them happen.