YOU MAKE YOUR WAY—IT’S YOUR MAPPING,
YOU MARK THE WAY FORWARDS—
A PATHWAY THAT YOU TAKE,
AND YOU ACTIVATE YOUR
FIRST STRIDE FORWARD.
To get somewhere, it’s up to you to take the first step.
That, of course, speaks to your life—
the journey you’re on, what you’re “doing.”
And two—it speaks to the work, the brand engagement,
the tuned attentionality of the work that you do,
and the landscape and vistas around you.
Walking, as I work, I contemplate these allegories—the storytelling of
the movement of and through place, and the places that you pass,
it’s all a procession, a transition through ideas.
As a brand-working person, as a designer, I think about the sequencing of information, the experientiality of the movements, in moments and momentum, the tiering of the messaging.
As the song goes, “walk this way,”and that is an open-hearted stride, eyes and ears wide open, touch-pointing towards broad sensualization—whole sensate design strategy.
Simple, contemplate sighting from afar, hearing at a distance, touching—up close, scenting the air, foot falls, which is then: street signage, shopfront, entry, light levels, aisles, shelves, labels, talkers, packaging and at shelf packaging collateral, which comes down to plot, on narrative, and on story.
That’s a walk, that’s process, that processing, that’s procession.
Thinking of attentionality, that comes up to the horizon line of focus,
studying the movements, the growth, the unfurling of the pathway, the plantings that curl around you,
the sight-lines of incoming weather, the rise of the river and the swells of the sea.
All allegories of the roiling scenarios around you, your business,
your brand, working life, and personal explorations.
Walking—you’re looking for irregularities on the path, encroaching complications, tangling root-work, unexpected water-dangers, sliding stones and falling rock. Obscuring winds and mists. That too could be in the trends of market movement, the insinuation of competition, new calamities and financial chasms, uplifts and breezes of new opportunities.
You have the path, stay the course, keep on,
that journey, regardless of the shifts.
In the work of the brand, these days—everything is shifting, everything is changing—and it’s like a stride in an known and unknown land—still, as a journeyer and watch-captain, the sentinel; yes, brand shepherd, you have to keep the look out.
Walking the long trail, and the long tail—which is intimately relevant to retail and retelling—the tailor tells—I contemplate the movement of the through, the far, the short, the deep—in nearly a half century of brand-related, design development and [r]evolutionary work, I continuously think of the patterning of the wandering, the journey making attributes of everything we do. It’s all a movement. And you’re either moving. Or you’re dead. Same with brands, of course—activated or stagnant.
You—you’re out there—and studying the scale of the wind, the size of the waves,
the swaying of the grasses or the swing of the trees.
They’re all signs and speaking to you.
You’re out there, studying the market, the emergence of old, recognized and new, unrecognized competitors. Heading from the office, I was walking home and, I studied the wind, the birds’ movement, the turning light, mists and their color in the sun, or the absence of light. Storytelling, homebound.
And, is there another collaborator in the walk out, homestretch, or the wander back—and what progress do they make? You’re always watching for the other—your co-journeyer, your team, collaborators and colleagues, co-workers and inspirational partners in the working wander. The watch is the guard, the sentinel, the synchronizer of measuring and time—but the ancient meaning is “to be awake.”
I sense the allegory of the circle around each of us—spherical sensationalism—the cast of the street, the sidewalk, the shop, the shelf, the attendant—the arrangement of service; and, as well, the sequence in and the egress out. How did you come in, what happened, then you left, came out?
In everything there is a path — but the pointed question would be:
“as you make your way, what is your watch? How awake are you?”
In some points of analysis—aligned to the business and brand world—the strategists might think only of the closest proximity—they do not see out, the farther watch, the horizon, the bigger spin, wheeling and turning in the machinery of time. At the table, the shelf, the shop—what deeper sight do they offer? They would show that, hopefully in the bigger wander—and the wonder—the meaning of shelf, of object, of presence and of story?
What are you looking for—as you’re out there?
Clarity. Accessibility. Storytelling. Memorability. Resonance and embracement.
To what degree, your wakefulness?
How close, your study of the circle around you
in the experiential ring of your journey?
Walk this way, the mindful stride and
there is more to be seen—
in scene, wholly.