AEAChicago2007 – “Dealing With the Both of You” by Jim Coudal

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located a mile and a half directly east of here
colocated with 37Signals
create names and identities, ad campaigns, short files, tv
	commercials, package design
for their own businesses and for others
many people have private projects that we have enthusiasm and
	passion for
and also 9-5 jobs where we have bosses and clients that we have
	less passion for
so how can you get passion into client work and pragmatism into
	personal projects?
spent night worrying about microformats - no, drinking with others
one bridge is craft
becoming better typographers, filmmakers, writing clean code,
	learning about pre-press
all that translates from work to personal projects and vice versa
learn things that are both related and unrelated in the two arenas
Coudal is in many senses a very traditional design company, and
	in others totally bizarre and new
curiousity got them into this position
1959 C. P. Snow's The Two Cultures lecture/book: growing divide
	between art and science
specialization and people being stuck in roles
so much information necessary: all your brainpower devoted to
	being a thermal engineer
humanity is worse off for the loss of the generalist
for today, define the gap as between designers and programmers
also between clients and creatives
what's the one reason he's all over the place?
their voracious and extremely short attention spans
filmmaker who works for Coudal has series called Regrets
"whereas a normal person would see a bird and say "oh look, a
	bird," then go back to their life"
"find a good spot to watch spastic rocks"
*** find this. no really.
for him, it's the discovery that's important. "ooh, headphones!"
it's not necessarily a negative to have a short attention span
when you bail on something, you create room for more enthusiasm
if you can manage that enthusiasm, you can do amazing things
"This all might be a big rationalization for the fact that I can
	never finish anything."
last winter someone called and said they'd made a new print of
	Days of Heaven
new Criterion Collection DVD coming out
showing new print at Music Box on north side
"people are talking really good eavesdropping stuff"
they're the kind of conversations that you never have
went out for a drink and started talking about way to develop
	business idea
show these very accessible American films that you almost never
	see projected - Chinatown, The Godfather, Days of Heaven, 
series of Tuesday nights, meet at bar afterward, website with links
	and short essay
get back to studio and everybody's enthusiastic
start doing research - spreadsheet for cost of space, getting print
start designing an identity - "Projective, I'm in the dark"
and then client thing bursts into flames, and then swapmeet, and
	then something else
eventually Projective is like in Tupperware at the back of the
sounds like a story about a failure, or at least a waste of time,
	but really a great success story
"we learned all kinds of crap that we didn't know before."
sharpened business skills
got to design a logo with no client, so that was worth the whole
	thing right there
and all that knowledge is going to show up somewhere else
so how do you get some of that into your day-to-day business?
basic concept at Coudal is very subtractive
get together, talk about it, do research, argue, start throwing
	things away until we're done
best way to find answer is like peeling the onion
	(remove everything not the statue)
going to use logo design as an example
pretty smart but don't often hit a home run instantly
some Japanese designer, very famous, old, tons of corporate
	identities in Japan
has 12 junior designers who work with him, each gives him
	12 ideas
goes to meeting with client and displays all 144
says "This is the work we've done for you." then takes out
	145th and says "And this is your logo."
which he has designed
can't build a company based on design director getting a
	brainwave at a toll booth
don't have too many meetings, marketing speak, employee
	handbook, vacation policy
but need process, procedures that help maximize that
	spur-of-the-moment brilliance
capturing "wouldn't it be cool if" ideas
use a metaphor for process, like roads
assuming have to struggle through, do the research and get up
	to speed quickly
	the one skillset you have working for clients that can be most
		beneficial working for yourself
	is the ability to learn quickly, get up to speed
get up to speed, talk a little, work to get 10-11 ideas
not sketches, pretty fully formed, but not complete
works well for logos and names
some are expected probably, some innovative, some derivative,
	some from left field
then sit down with client and go through it all and talk
educating the client how got to where we are at the same time
	as plumbing for interpretations
want to get the most sunlight on the most concepts we're
	interested in, especially weird ones
also do meeting to get rid of most of them. get rid of 7, now have 5.
now try to get out of sterile environment of presentation board
Photoshop onto billboard, put on t-shirt, etc.
get client back in, talk about these five, open for a late arrival,
	get it down to 2.
then do again and get down to 1.
advantage is have opportunity to have most interesting ideas
	see the most light
other advantage is client is in boat when leave the harbor
like what Jeffrey was talking about
client has helped make all the decisions with us
so very rare get to end of road and have to restart
not a trick, a collaboration
nothing will kill your revenue like doing jobs twice
next way to get spur of moment into designs is to rip off designs
unless your a student, then you have to be your own professor
"we value, above all else, we value taste"
above technical ability, speed, amiability, cuteness
can teach anything but taste
need to look at two things and know which is better
not enough to just know, need to investigate why you feel that way
great way to investigate is to rip off the design - recreate, remake it
reason you're doing it is not to take advantage, but when you
	remake, you talk to the maker
it's also another skill, you understand that poster in a way that's
	much more real
in web design particularly appropriate, because web site is art
	and view source is science
so easy to see how people have done things
if you think all websites look the same, same is true of other
	genres ('50s fashion magazines)
"I like the way he did that" and change it to work for me
we are getting more specialized and also getting more insulated
you might work by yourself, even if you're in a cubicle
or you're at your house, or in a distributed corporation, or in
	very small teams
power of adult conversation cannot be overemphasized
easy to get caught up in details and dead ends when by yourself
	without serendipitous conversation
at Coudal, conference room B is actually the bar down the street
don't get so tangled up in yourself
last part is do the work. don't talk it to death.
have to understand how to set a headline, whatever it is.
while you're doing the work, you can find inspiration, whether
	work or personal project
perhaps you could avoid that by coming up with buzzwords
Coudal video about video to try for the Subway account
buzzwords like "activate their customers" -> sandwiches are awful video is linked on Coudal's site
if the RFP is more than two pages, we don't respond. Happy Cog
	maybe goes to five.
if they spent all that time, prorated cost by sending it to everyone
when we evaluate whether to take the job, ask three questions
1. Are we going to be able to make money? (not always required,
	but usually)
2. Are we going to be proud of the work?
3. Are we going to learn something new along the way?
career as continuing education
most of the time, the learning question is required.
can also use own personal projects to learn about corporate
	work and vice versa
made short film to be shown to five people in a boardroom -
	looking for a licensing deal
involved buying every single cocktail umbrella in the Chicago area
could do anything we wanted if communicated what they wanted
fascinated by Apple Mac commercials - not because love John
	Hodgeman or hate PCs (though both are true)
love background - antiseptic but warm white
so made film using that idea
have done a lot of things on - contests, blogging, etc.
used those ideas on client sites
one other chasm: between people who write the words and people
	who design the layouts
Copy Goes Here video - new copywriter teaches coworkers to read
	and is let go
fun, got attention
don't often show to audience who get the Paul Rand and CMYK jokes

About Jennifer Berk

I'm an analytics and data leader with a marketing and product mindset. I like online newspapers, science fiction and fantasy, and ugly fish.
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One Response to AEAChicago2007 – “Dealing With the Both of You” by Jim Coudal

  1. Pingback: Information Squid » Blog Archive » An Event Apart Chicago 2007

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