Exploring the construct of brand, community, enterprise and the work that we do.
I’ve been a designer for a long time; and working in the creative space is in my blood. My mother was a painter, an artist in every sense of the world, the word. My father is a farmer, a physician, a tree planter, a surgeon. That engendered a kind of strange amalgam in me, my work.
For a while, I’d really thought of myself as a scientist, a biologist in my earlier career openings, decades ago. What I came to explore was something that — in more of a scholarly way — spoke to global art, architecture, culture and the bridging adhesion that holds them together. There was, of course, something that intimately tied them together. A love of the written word — especially, therefore, the beautifully scribed word — the calligraphic letter.
Some of you, as designers, might think of the calligraphic legacy as — arts and crafts, old stuff, antique arts, something that has seen, truly, its time — it’s out of date, an obsolete practice. But I believe that there is more to the art of the beautiful letter than might be quickly surmised. It is, I believe, what lies beneath. There, in the 4 millennia of its evolution, lies the bones of language and design.
What I’m getting to is the idea that design, by the very nature of its exploration and opportunity, is about finding and exploring what lies beneath the immediately accessible. What this really gestures to is the idea of looking beyond the normal pale of the obvious, to the archaeology and patterning of ideas that reach below the mantle of the superficial — that is, to the heart.
As marketers, strategists, brand stewards, designers, we need to be living and working here. That might be the conceptions of identity in storytelling, like the kind of work that I engage in for the entertainment space — movies and theatrical design.
What I’m looking for is the center-point — the wellspring of the brand, the human. And it is about this — the heart, the heat, that lies within the conceptions of enterprise — the gears of commerce, and how they relate to people; and how people relate to them — psychically, physically, emotionally.
In a manner, the very essence of calligraphy, at its profoundest place, is about spirit. And the work that we do, as designers — brand thinkers — ignites in the place of the lustration — the polishing of ideas — and bringing them to luminous life. So, too, that people can relate to them. Kallos+graphos, is about bringing beauty to that transaction.
To do that, you’ve got to range, inwardly — towards the center, where the pulse originates. And, in capturing that sentiment, that quintessential framing of brand presence, or human ideal, you need to speak the language, have the design vocabulary of 4,000 years. Not two decades.
The sparks of textual design, that — literal — context of creative construction are broad wildfires — they can sweep long stories into the night. Stories that people see, sense, relate to. And finally share.
I look beneath, to find what’s now; I look back, to find the archetypal pulse of the heart; I look forward, to hear the lessons of the past — one tide, another, surging forward.
This blog article is a reference to a talk that I’ll be giving at WebCam 2009, in Bend, Oregon. The talk explores cumulative thinking – cumularity and the cloud mind, as a creative process of collaboration. More on the conference here.