Japan is famous for their beautiful manhole covers. They come in a variety of designs and attract many tourists.
This post features a collection of creative Japanese manhole covers.
[original image source: unknown]
[image credit: Manhole Blog]
As president of the Design Management Institute, I am often asked: “How can we develop a great design organization,” and “How do I convince our CEO about the value of design?”
Good questions, simple answers: Determine what matters to the decision makers and improve it with design. Then, either inspire the CEO, or become the CEO.
Do I hear you scoffing? “Thanks, Lockwood! ‘Become the CEO.’ No problem! Will tick that right off my to-do list.”
I understand. But here’s the problem: While there are many examples of great design, making them happen without executive support is a pretty tough challenge whether you’re an in-house firm or not. In this post, and a subsequent one, I’ll explain why.
Design follows money
It is really that simple: Design follows money. Get budget, get design. Design firms don’t design without clients (which requires budgets), and in-house departments are not very effective without great people (which also requires budgets). Think of this as “Designomics.”
I’m not talking about the fancy design that sometimes passes as fine art. I’m talking about hard-working commercial design. The kind created to drive business results–increasing sales and profits, improving customer experience and loyalty, enabling innovation, connecting emotionally, building brands. It is relatively rare to find really effective corporate design without strong executive support, or at least a history or culture involving design. I would like to say this is the result of good business practice–and it is–but it is also the result of funding for design services.
Client Interview with Adrienne Pitt
Artist/Illustrator used: Meg Hunt
Title of project: Gardening section, Jamie Oliver magazine
Describe your target audience/client base: Those who are fans of Jamie Oliver and his work and food, those who love to cook and desire to get more involved in cooking, or those who are interested in a gorgeous lifestyle magazine which covers a range of topics from food to travel.
What creative/business goals did you have with this project? The Gardening section appears in the front of the magazine with a lot of newsy items surrounding it. As such, the pages really need to sing out – be colorful, attention grabbing, and beautiful. Also, Jamie’s gardener Peter Wrapson is so passionate about his subject, I knew I needed illustrations that would reflect that passion.
Were there any special hurdles or requirements that the artist had to address? In each issue, Peter talks about various things that are in season, gadgets to try out, or new techniques to use. The illustrator I needed to do these pages had to be someone who could illustrate not only food, but also plants, people, activities, inanimate objects… The list goes on!
Describe the final outcome of the project: This section has become an ongoing job for Meg, as her colorful style and attention to detail really combine to create illustrations that jump off the page. Some of the topics are a little tricky but she always comes up with charming and detailed works that enhance the words on the page.
Tell us about your experience working with our artist: Meg is a delight to work with and strengthens the visual brand of the magazine. She’s friendly, delivers on deadline, and most importantly, sets her amazingly imaginative mind to every assignment given to her. You know when you hire Meg for a job that she will always go above and beyond to make sure the illustration is amazing. I’m happy to have this ongoing commission with her, and always look forward to seeing the work that she creates!
A brilliant idea can change your life. Just ask Steve Jobs. And think about it – how would one incredible idea affect your work? How would it affect your personal creating? Your career? Your confidence and opportunities?
These days, new ideas aren’t just inspiring; they’re essential. A narrow-gauge mindset doesn’t work in modern business. Consumers aren’t loyal to cheap commodities. No, they love the remarkable, the human, the unique. And those ideas don’t just fall from the sky. (Usually.)
So where do they originate? Since Scott Hull Associates is in the business of ideas, I figured our artists ought to know. They surprised me with their answers, citing everything from “cross-pollinating synergetic associations” to cracks in the driveway. Enjoy.
Aren’t you silly…Ideas come from the stork, just like babies. – Andrea Eberbach
From an ever expanding and curious mind. –Von Glitschka
I’m not sure where they come from, but I’m pretty sure – starting in 2012 – that there will be a federal tax on them. -Mark Riedy
Personally, I group them into two broad categories: surprise ideas and task-oriented ideas. There’s an enormous area of interaction and cross-pollination between these, but if I think about it, most everything I do whether art-related, fixing a faucet or otherwise, fits somewhere in the continuum. In the area of ideas for art, surprise! Ideas are just that — out of nowhere, triggered by who-knows-what…smells, memories, dreams, emotions, even stress. Task-oriented ideas are usually, at least for me, more forced and rarely complete at the beginning — they need refinement and tuning, and the trick is to retain something good and fresh enough to keep through that refinement process. Most won’t make it to the end, and many aren’t worth fooling around with from the beginning, but each has to be weighed before discarding. Working in collaboration with commercial clients, most illustration ideas are going to be task-driven, and will be a blend of your ideas and the client’s regarding concept, style and desired results.
Somewhere in here also has to be addressed the impact of original vs. derivative ideas. For a visual artist and especially one working commercially, purely original ideas are hard to come by. We’re bombarded by visual imagery from the first day we open our eyes, then later are drawn to and/or repelled by most everything we see that other artists have done – this can’t help but affect our style and how we see the world through art. How we control and channel our own likes, dislikes and influences through our work, all the while adding whatever personal flavoring we bring to the equation determines how original our artistic solutions will be. Recognizing and utilizing influences is a balancing act that’s always there when generating ideas.
Lastly, I think ideas spring from that overused word, passion. It’s why we do what we do instead of pursuing any of the millions of other occupations available in the world. Speaking only for myself, I want to add my spin and polish to whatever visual problem is put in front of me, as long as it’s something that I can relate to. Generating good ideas is more often than not hard work, and the effort needs to be applied where it will do the most good both for the artist and for the resulting work. -John Maggard