show them the post-its!

Time to read: 2 minutes

I have a confession to make. I never show clients my sketches. Because for some reason, people only see what is in front of their eyes, not the message that is being conveyed. Which is ironic, given that our brains are programmed to fill in the gaps of our perception.

And I sketch a lot. I work in IT, and I love design. I make dresses, write documentation, compose presentations, and build websites. All of these need to be designed first, and all those sketches start off in my notebook.

Let’s try a concrete example. One of my best friends, Dana Forlano, has recently taken to the web to express her views on style. I set up a blog for her (still a work in progress), introduced her to pinterest (and mentioned polyvore, although not by name) and she has been pouring herself into them since then. To the point that now, I could almost start calling her a fashion blogger, if she really weren’t anti-fashion. You see, she preaches style, not fashion. Fashion is a fad. Maybe a work of art. That’s not style. Anyway. She says it better than me and you can read her style manifesto posts in your own time.

What seems to be the next step for hyper-social Dana, is business cards. She has this fluency with talking to people anywhere, anytime. She’s the friendliest and nicest person I know. Want an example? Whenever she sees a woman trying on a garment that looks amazing on her, she’ll say so. Clearly, loudly, emphatically. Dana is a fan of beauty and style. And she always speaks up. This invariably ends up with her talking about her recent blog / pinterest / polyvore posts, and them asking where they can find it. So. We need business cards.

And this is where I break my rule. I am going to show her the sketches I have made. Why? Because I know her. I know she sketches too. I know she can read a fashion drawing and understand what the lines are referring to in real life and reconstruct the finished garment in her imagination. She can visualise. Which many people cannot do. And I know I can trust her to not see just what is on the paper.

This is slightly different from my usual client work. And, as my friend Peter Mahoney argues, it is crucial to show them how it’s done before you’ve gone too far (down the wrong avenue). And I agree – read the twitter conversation. (yes, he blogs a lot, I love it) So this is me doing that. Live and learn, right?


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