Over at SPD.org (that the Society of Publication Designers not the german political party) I found an older blog entry from Scott Dadich, Creative Director at WIRED, about his working process.
His way of doing things involves a principle he calls “The Wrong Theory”. It basically says “Take a layout you like and fuck it up”. In detail Scott says:
“I have a design theory I’ve developed in my time here at WIRED. I call it “The Wrong Theory.” In my years in magazines, whenever I’ve been pleased with a layout at the time I ship it to the printer, I’m usually disappointed with the result when I go back to it after some time has passed. It’s like with a record. When you buy a new release and you love it immediately, it usually has a short lifespan. You play it till your ears bleed and two weeks later, it’s discarded to a pile of CDs in the backseat of your car, never to be listened to again. But an album that’s more challenging–something you don’t like on first listen–can often be the most rewarding given time and attention. I have albums that I’ve hated on first listen, then let sit and age and when I come back to them with fresh ears, I’ve really enjoyed their complexity and novelty. I’ve experienced a similar phenomenon with design. Work (whether I’ve done it or someone else has) that I’ve actively disliked tends to grow on me with time and distance.
So my theory is: Take a layout you like and fuck it up. Ruin it. Add to it, take away from it, just do something that makes your skin crawl, and go with it. Ship it, print it, swallow your discomfort and go with it. (It doesn’t work with everything; sometimes you really can ruin a nice piece, so be careful.) With time, you’ll come around to it and again, in my experience, the work that I’m most proud of in my portfolio has been work that I’ve disliked with at completion.”
Is that a theory that only applies to publication design or does it work in advertising as well? I definitely have to give it a try …
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