​1. We are not creative problem solvers.

What does that even mean? Does it mean solving problems creatively or solving creative problems? Does either matter? Whether you solve a problem creatively or not its still solved, right? If you do solve a creative problem, who cares?

We solve business problems.

2. There’s only 3 business problems...

that we’re interested in—attention, perception, and revenue. These are problems faced by anyone trying to build something whether its a business, an organization or an idea. 

Attention—Whose paying attention to you now? Who do you want to pay attention to you? How do you earn that attention?

Perception—What does your audience think of you? What do you want them to think of you? Are they fans or customers?

Revenue—How do you make more money? What aren’t you creating for your fans that they are eagerly waiting for? 

What we do is simple. We ask “Who do you need to talk to? What do you need them to know? What can make for them?” and then we fill in the blanks.

3. Everything is marketing

If you have an idea, product, event, movement that you are planning to share with the world then you are a marketer. You are bringing something to the market and hoping that the market adopts it. To pretend otherwise is to kill your work before its had a chance to take its first breath.

4. All design is product design

Everything no matter how ephemeral or effusive gets used by its recipient. We don’t watch movies we use them to be enlightened, entertained or frightened. We don’t read books, we use them to learn or to be comforted. Sometimes we don’t even care about reading them and we use them as decoration, status symbols, or declarations of our values.

When we design an object, we ask ourselves if we’ve made something with a life beyond the moment of its intended use. We think a postcard has a chance to be beautiful and useful beyond the small window of time and use that it was intended for.

5. Your logo is not your brand

Your brand isn’t your logo, its the perception that the market has of you and your work. The market? That’s broad, right? More specifically, its the perception that your customers, fans, strangers and enemies have of you and your work.

Don’t believe us? Change your logo and see if every negative complaint about you is nullified or if all the goodwill you’ve built up disappeared. Logos are important but lets not forget what they really are—a shorthand for your name. Its everything else that builds your brand.

6. We don’t need permission to work

We don’t need someone to hand us a brief in order to work. We write our own briefs. There’s strategy to be discussed, books to be written, services to be created, products to be designed, schools to be started, and, sometimes, posters to be hand screen-printed. 

Graphic designers tend to wait around to be picked; for someone to hand them a brief and say “your turn.” And when they don’t get them, they don’t write real compelling briefs and get to work, no, they make minimalist posters about pop culture. 

We don’t differentiate between Client work and Personal work. We don’t do “serious” work that requires briefs and research for clients and then do some light-hearted work in an effort to get blog play when no client is present. If we’re going to work it should offer a challenge and be worth the effort regardless of who benefits from our labor.