The person must first be inspired.
Inspiration is what you give them.
Enthusiasm is what they give you.
People inhale inspiration and exhale enthusiasm.
They cannot give you enthusiasm until you give them inspiration.
Neither is a product of instruction.
There is a time to instruct and a time to inspire.
We often think we’re doing one when we’re actually doing the other.
Is your enthusiasm contagious or is it contained?
Are you inspiring those around you?
Never is this more important than when you’re working with artists.
I spent a lot of money recently* in a series of experiments with 99 Designs, the logo development firm that allows graphic designers around the world to submit logo designs in the hope of winning your prize money. (I know several designers who are deeply insulted by this crowd-sourcing of their sacred art and I understand their feelings completely, but technology is a freight train that doesn’t care who is standing on its tracks.)
The new logo for Wizard of Ads came from a designer in Italy.
The Wizard Academy logo came from a designer in Minnesota.
Indy’s Rabbit Hole logo came from Croatia.
Angel Skating: Indonesia
Whisk(e)y Marketing School: Germany
DUI Rescue Guys: the Philppines
Last week my sons decided to invest in a logo for VidBetter, the hardware and training division of their online video business. They gave the logo designers instructions that sounded very similar to the descriptions business owners give you when you ask them about their businesses:
We invent equipment and produce training to help non-professionals make better videos for their businesses. Friendly. Helpful. Step-by-step. Simple. Quirky. We want our customers to feel empowered to make great videos that share who they are, and what they have to offer. The resulting videos are always unscripted. The personality of our brand is witty, natural, authentic, real, light-hearted and smart. Our customers aren’t children, but they aren’t boring/stuffy businesses either.”
All the logos my sons received during the first two days of the contest looked surprisingly similar, just like those predictable ads that are created when you focus on your “unique selling proposition.”
So they sent the designers some new instructions:
I get it. The words ‘Vid’ and ‘Better’ are abstract and don’t lend themselves to cool visuals. Triangular play-button icons come with the territory, and we’ve seen a lot of them. (Actually, some of them are pretty awesome.) That being said, I’m also very open to ridiculous, attention grabbing visuals, as long as they’re done well. I have a deep appreciation for off-beat, over the top, and silly things – again, as long as they’re done well. If you have an absurd idea – even if it doesn’t match the words “VidBetter,” bring the madness. A giant fire breathing grizzly bear with a propeller beanie and a jet pack, clutching a video camera? Cool. A 19th century nature sketch of a proud fox with a vintage camera strapped on its head? Awesome. A squirrel with a camera, riding a dog as it chases a cat? Nice. I’m totally serious. The money is guaranteed in this contest. If we end up with a strategically safe logo for VidBetter, that’s fine. But I’m hoping for one that people see and think, ‘That’s crazy, what the heck is VidBetter?!’ This is your chance to run with that crazy idea that always made you laugh – but was too risky to ever use. Take that idea, stuff it with dynamite, wrap it in bacon, hurl it into the sun, then wrap the sun with more bacon. The parent company is sunpop.com.”
The bloody-nose impact of the second series of logos they received is amazing.
But the talent of the designers hadn’t changed.
It was the inspiration that had changed.
See the logos on the first two pages of Indiana Beagle’s rabbit hole. Just click the rhinocerous at the top of the page and you’re there.
Roy H. Williams
* These experiments were funded entirely by me. I never experiment with client dollars. I learned how to extract the best designs from the 78,000 graphic designers registered at 99 Designs so the Wizard of Ads Partners could confidently guide their clients through the process when those clients need designs. (Believe it or not, I spent so much money in such a short period of time that 99 Designs contacted us and offered to pay $500 for a few minutes over the telephone. Woo-hoo!) 🙂
Does it seem funny to you that the same people who created a whiskey marketing school are also creating a national network of DUI Rescue attorneys? It seems funny to me, too, but the wizard says both are inevitable. – Indy