Some like it hot, but everyone likes it in color

As a designer, you’ll likely run into some interesting if not humorous situations while toiling over your work. Recently a few designers and I presented some ideas to one of our project leads, to rave reviews and precisely the feedback we sought. But after the meeting, we were chided by some for spending too much time “making it pretty,” as they say. We shouldn’t have put so much time into these comps, they said, as just a few of the many comps were approved (a side note – comps that are rejected are just as profitable as those accepted, as you gain much from learning what won’t work).

After the next round of design, and against our better judgment, we presented some wireframes to help communicate the new ideas. As we knew would happen, the same people who wanted less had a very hard time understanding less. In fact, one guy had me in stitches as he said something like, “I really think we need less text and more images inside these boxes here.” Of course, that preceded several emails back and forth discussing the intention of the wireframes and yes, “depiction of the Savior” would actually be replaced with an image, and no there wouldn’t be so many 1px box outlines in the final comp.

Most importantly, the ideas we wanted to present were lost. Even those who understood wireframes were uninspired by the bleakness of the PDF, as the grays and text had no power to engage or stimulate. Little discussion of the core ideas ensued.

Lesson reiterated: if you want to communicate, put the time into it, and make it good. Most people, including designers, have a really hard time understanding your creative ideas without color and imagery. Boxes, shades of gray, and text labels do very little to communicate the vivid landscapes in your head. Put it in color and put your heart into it if you want people to react and be inspired, enthralled, or completely disgusted with it. Because even throat-cutting rejection is better than the silence that can only come from a wireframe.

posted by Jason Lynes on Monday, Oct 29, 2007
tagged with work