Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Create or Copy? Do what keeps you leading the tribe...

I love this blog from Seth Godin.

The challenge in eyewear design is just the same dynamic - and it's a challenge those clever people at JFRey and Morel (who manufacture Oga and Koali) have more than met. Having seen the next seasons introductions at SILMO this weekend has reassured me that they can do this every 6 months!

The same could be said for your practice design, the way you interact with your customers and the eyecare services you deliver. The challenge is to know what your tribe (or target tribe) will love.

Building fans of our art is what we should be about (in Seth Godon language that is)...

Accounting for taste

Taste is the ability to select, combine and create experiences that the tribe likes--before they know that they like it.

John Waters, the filmmaker many accuse of having bad taste actually has great taste--according to a small tribe of people. He establishes a look and a feel and a story that (for this group) is then emulated.

Successful chefs like Thomas Keller invent restaurants and the dishes they offer--and are then rewarded for having the good taste to make precisely what we like. But of course, the 'we' isn't everyone.

Martha Stewart, according to a larger group, also has good taste. She's not merely copying what came before (that's not nearly as difficult or as valuable)... no, she's staying half a step ahead of her tribe, establishing the standard as she goes.

Great graphic designers have good taste. They understand how to use type and imagery to create objects and advertising that resonate with people likely to buy. Copying a book cover or a business card or a mayo label isn't good taste, it's copying. The difficult work is doing a new thing in a way that people who have never seen it before will 'get it'.

The other difficult work: understanding that your standards might not be the standards of the tribe you're seeking to connect with. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's in bad taste. If the market respects the creator, takes action and then adopts the work, it's in good taste.

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