Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When to Trust Your Gut and Go With Your Instincts


I was approached by Ambient Creative back in August to design a snowboard deck for their new client, ULLR (Nordic god of the snowfall) ; a sports drink targeted at extreme sports enthusiasts. They had their brand developed and needed to begin the promotional phase of their strategy. The art director believed I was capable of bringing this idea to life. The funny thing was, there was no idea. The client didn't have anything in mind. This is where the unusual happened. Having been an art director in the past, I understand how important it is to have a creative plan and not leave anything to chance. I always say that good design is the product of creativity, knowledge and information.
But the art director instead, decided to leave it all up to me. He supplied the company brand plan and basically told me to have fun. I was really surprised and almost nervous. So I read through the brand plan and sketched and inked this piece.
At that point I decided on the color palette based on the brand colors and that's when I stopped. My instinct when working with an art director is to show him the progress and get any input along the way, but then I thought about how the art director went with his gut and I felt I needed to do the same. The following is the result of that decision.

I've been doing this for way over a decade, and I'm always learning. This project allowed me to see that sometimes you don't always have to plan. When the factors are all in place and the confidence is present, you need to go with your gut. Trust your instincts not your feelings. This can be done when a level of experience is present on both sides. If the art director hadn't had the confidence in me this would have turned out very different. There were no revisions and it was almost immediately approved. The client was happy and I was very proud of this piece. Obviously it would probably not have been possible without the instincts of my art director. So I thank him and thank you for reading.
Have you ever just gone with your gut? What were the results?

17 comments:

Brad Johnson said...

I've had to make some major calls as a musician where I just went on impulse. The results were great. I guess you gotta balance it out though or else you might get into some trouble. Awesome board.

Rob Berman said...

Dennis:

You need to listen to your gut when you get that feeling. Its the heart versus head argument. Your gut lead you down the correct path so you should feel more comfortable trusting it the next time.

Rob

Tanoshiboy said...

@Brad I'm glad you chimed in. I know this type of thinking is relevant to anyone, not just designers.

@Rob I definitely will. Thanks, Rob!

Insightful Nana said...

I'm also a designer by trade. My best work comes out of "Instinct." I think when recognize this... it allows creative flow to come through you not from you. I've found there is a big difference.

Keyuri Joshi said...

I love this post. You are spot on about respecting our intuitive power. When my coaching clients have a specific problem, there are many possible solutions to entertain. I allow myself to get quiet and listen. I almost always choose the right path. It's a wonderful little tool.

Tanoshiboy said...

@Kathy I agree, Kathy.

@Keyuri I'm glad you're able to relate. Great point when you mention listening. That's still very important when dealing with me clients. It's their need in the first place.

Joan Oliver Emmer said...

I need to go with my gut more often, but I often lack confidence and waver back and forth. Definitely a goal worth pursuing!

Sherryl Perry said...

What a great experience Dennis! They went with their instinct too by trusting you. I usually listen to my intuition. I like to call it the stars aligning. I think when it comes to a creative process like your design work, and web design, if they give you the main elements and just let you go, they can end up with some amazing work which is exactly what they got!

Heather Fonseca said...

That really does sound like a great experience, and the work turned out amazing. It's very very cool and I'm sure it'll do well for them. So often I think projects are over controlled by those in control, and the end result is neither here nor there. By contrast, your art really says something! It's powerful.

Susan Oakes said...

Hi Dennis,

I think your feelings actually are involved with listening to your gut.

I have a saying about marketers and that is the best ones I have been assoicated with have an intuitive feel and that is something you either have or don't have. I would also apply it to designers.

Catarina Alexon said...

Sounds like a good client! Hope you hae a lot of assignments for him.

By the way what's the name of the Nordic god of the snowfall?

Tanoshiboy said...

@Catarina The god's name is ULLR.

@everyone I'm glad so many of you relate. Thank you for the kind words!

Sarah Wu said...

Hey Dennis, you did a such fantatsic job on the snowboard. I like the design alot.

Tanoshiboy said...

@Sarah Thank you!

And thank you all for your thoughts. I'm glad you could relate to this more than anything. :)

Lydia said...

Hi - I found your site through your comment on Heather's Design Blog. Looking forward to reading more!

Re: following your gut...I find that whenever I do this, my teaching improves. There are certain types of activities suggested by coursebooks that just don't fit with my personality, and when I've tried them despite this feeling, they've failed miserably. But when I adapt these to an activity I feel confident about, the students respond well. People can see fakery from a mile off, so I'm learning to go with what feels genuine for me rather than mindlessly following the advice of other teachers. It's a constant learning process.

Lydia

Tanoshiboy said...

@Lydia Thank you for visiting. You're always welcomed. I think for teachers this speaks volumes. And you remind me of a teacher I once had in high school.Mr. Phillips. We all loved him because he talked to us not down to us. He made a huge impression on me and I ran into him last year. I thanked him and it made his day. I think what you're doing is great and I hope to hear more. :)

Jeannette Paladino said...

Terrific designs. Trusting your gut really means that unconsciously you are drawing on all your life experiences and past decisions that form your current course. It's automatic -- we think it's a happy accident when we trust our gut and it comes out right. But it's everything coming together in lightening speed that guides your decision.