Douglas Davis (@DouglasQDavis) is a graphic designer, professor, consultant, and author of the new book Creative Strategy and the Business of Design. The book, which follows his recent talks and workshops, explores business issues that face creative professionals, especially those which may not even seem apparent.

In this conversation, we explore the business culture exposed creatives, the shortcomings of our design education system, and how Brooklyn is becoming the home for creative thought.

Creative Strategy and the Business of Design book

Creative Strategy and the Business of Design

Check out Douglas’s book, Creative Strategy and the Business of Design, now available where fine books are sold.

Catch up with Douglas this October 26–28 at the Revolve Conference in Charleston, SC, and read his recent article in the European Business Review

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Show Notes & Links

“Everyone has that story of when they were first taken advantage of.”

—Douglas Davis

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“Design school doesn’t teach business, and Business school doesn’t teach how to inspire designers.”

—Douglas Davis

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“Clients expect us to answer their problems with creativity that's on-brand, on-strategy, and on-message.”

—Douglas Davis

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“Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.”

—Russian proverb (or maybe Tacitus c. 98 AD)

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“Do it right or do it thrice.”

—Douglas Davis

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  • The in-house design team of yesteryear was almost like a Kinko’s

“Business is annexing design. Our design jobs are more important because of that.”

—Douglas Davis

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“Design is the spoonful of sugar that makes marketing & business palatable to the public.”

—Douglas Davis

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“'I love it' is not a compelling business rationale.”

—Dr. Marjorie Kalter

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  • RIP Flash, Actionscript

“We're here to inject art into commerce.”

—Tibor Kalman

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“It’s almost a rite of passge to make every mistake in the book.”

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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“Begin with the end in mind.”

—adage

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“Think like they think to do what we do.”

—Douglas Davis

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“The short hand comes later; first you have to use the long hand.”

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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“I've seen ideas die on the table because creatives weren't able to set the context.”

—Douglas Davis

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“Some people are better at other things than I am.”

—Douglas Davis

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Tools

Techniques

  • Learn what keeps your client up at night so you can speak the same language
  • Divide a project into smaller pieces so your clients can see the process unfold
  • Consider how you “Frame” your solution. Often that’s the point of differentiation.
  • Banish words like “right” or “wrong”, in favour of “it works” or “it doesn’t work”
  • Practice with co-workers to use better, more instructive language
  • Start with the story, then teach the lesson. This helps you write chapters in a book, for example.
  • Keep a desktop folder called “desktop dump” where pretty much everything goes.

Habits

  • Work to maximise the “trust in the room”
  • Take a moment at the beginning to write a “problem statement”
  • Add a physical activity to your routine, such as boxing
  • Take time to travel, perahps 2x per year

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About the author: Prescott Perez-Fox

Prescott Perez-Fox is a New York-based graphic designer and brand developer with 17+ years experience in branding, packaging, graphic design, and web design. He runs The Busy Creator.

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