I got nothing!
“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” As screenwriter Gene Fowler memorably explained.
Writing this blog is easier typically – a quick scoot around t’internet, find something that sparks a thought, bash it out on the tube coming in, and job done. Today… not so lucky. I am staring down the tyranny of a blank page. So I wanted to write about blank paper. Chatting with a colleague yesterday we were both chuckling over how the new generation of design interns seem to dash straight to Google after a brief, assuming the answer lies in a lucky trawl. This does suggest they undervalue the power of the computer in their skull to generate more interesting solutions. While not wanting to sound all ‘kids today…’ about it, I would suggest two pieces of advice. Firstly, learn to draw. This is a matter of practice, not talent. Secondly, get a blank sheet of paper. Make a list of thoughts. Add to it. Edit it. Do some sketches. Then, by all means, fire up Google.
What’s the marketing equivalent of falling back on Google? The last ‘must read ten laws of branding’ book? Research groups? Stopping for a coffee and using one’s eyes might be a productive alternative. Derek Thompson sat around watching his daughter and pals drinking milkshakes through straight straws too tall for them to comfortably use. So he invented the bendy one, using some thread and a screw. The whole exciting tale is here.
Which is just to say, for designers and marketers alike, the really great answer is probably not to be found in the most convenient place, but taking pause for thought might reveal gold. However, if you still want to go Google, here is another piece of advice from Gene Fowler, aimed at writing but equally true for scoundrel designers: “The best way to become a successful writer is to read good writing, remember it, and then forget where you remember it from.”