Archive for January, 2009

What every business needs

January 13, 2009

AIGA, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, is committed to advancing the understanding of the value of design and the process of designing. From time to time, they’ll publish a booklet to help us designers communicate our role to  clients. And this one, “What every business needs,” does a pretty nifty job of explaining the full potential of a designer’s contribution in problem solving.

You can download the whole booklet here. But for the executive summary, see below:

We offer you the following process as a way to make design an integral part of your business, and to allow designers to make your success an integral part of design. It will make you an even more sagacious client. It is a method for partnering, a guide to the most effective use of teams, and the most potent, efficient, reliable way to get from A to B when you are not quite sure what B is.

What follows is a framework through which design can be incorporated into your business. Its purpose is to clarify, assess and communicate the responsibilities and methods of the design process. It is a scalable, tried and true process, one which is suitable for solving any problem that requires creative thinking.

12 STEPS TO SUCCESS, AT A GLANCE.
1. DEFINE THE PROBLEM
2. SET CLEAR OBJECTIVES AND DEFINE SUCCESS
3. DEFINE THE APPROACH
4. ELICIT BUY-IN AND SUPPORT
5. INFORMATION GATHERING
6. DEVELOP AND PROTOTYPE IDEAS
7. ANALYZE THE OPTIONS
8. MAKE THE IMPORTANT DECISIONS
9. MOBILIZE THE TEAM
10. PRESENT TO INTERNAL AUDIENCES
11. TAKE IT PUBLIC
12.EVALUATE SUCCESS.

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Happy New Year

January 6, 2009

Ah, the season of White Sales. The season of glitzy indulgence behind us, our collective attention turns towards practical needs. Taking stock. Replacing tattered remains of the year past with an eye towards fresh, simple luxuries.

While admittedly I pondered taking this column into metaphorical take on the preponderance of January white sales, I ultimately decided to rally with the retailers and offer suggestions for sprucing up your office once you’ve ditched your December conifer.

Here are a few of my favorite retailers for the office:

File Folders with Attitude from Paper Source

Paper Source. From file folders with attitude (right) to coordinated file folders, organizers, journals and calendars, this site has the cure for the winter blahs and on-trend colors that excite and inspire.

Russell + Hazel. Promising to “add life to your work,” this premium office supply boutique offers completely coordinated office solutions in contemporary style. In true White Sale tradition, their current promotion features Arctic White for the office, promoting crisp white as a way to freshen the look of your office. Browse online, or visit one of several Minnesota locations for ideas.

Ikea. A homeowner’s staple, this store is equally relevant for the business owner. They’ve got everything for the office, from lobby furniture to magnet boards. My favorite product: Knuff, an elegant and functional magazine file for just $4.99. Got deeper pockets? Check out the Bonde sideboard for office storage. I love this one!

Ikeas BONDE sideboard gives staff a place to stash their stuff

Ikea's BONDE sideboard gives staff a place to stash their stuff

Last, if you’re an artist, consider hitting up Penco on Washington Ave (Minneapolis) or their website, ArtSuppliesOnline.com for:

A huge array of discount art supplies for graphic arts, fine arts, painting, sketching, drawing, studio or home artist furniture and equipment, portfolios, photo albums and storage, handmade and printing papers,  papers, pens and markers, fine writing instruments, calligraphy, mat board, foamboard, chipboard, basswood, and balsa, children’s supplies, unique creative gift ideas and much more.

I feel like a kid in a candy store each time I walk in here, and the knowledgeable staff completes the experience. While you’re there, treat yourself to some Bienfang 360 marker paper (currently 40% off!).