This is the first installment of a new column, Little Lessons which will be centered around tidbits I’m learning as I move along through life and business.
By nature, I’m a planner. And if I’m being honest, I plan a little too much. This mindset definitely spills over into my client work big time. While it’s important to be prepared so you can carry out your best work (that’s what you’re being paid to do, after all), sometimes, there just isn’t time for that.
Two weeks ago, a surprise project from a long-time client popped up on my radar. It involved branding, packaging and the potential opportunity to land on the shelves of one of my favorite national retailers. The problem was, time was almost nonexistent and if we wanted to make it happen, we had to make a move immediately.
I sat at my desk early the next morning as a wave of fear slowly boiled to the surface. What had I just committed myself to?! I had a good idea but just that one. I tried a few other things, but nothing felt quite right. As I moved along, staring at the screen, I kept going back to the first. My gut had told me that it was the right direction all along but I was afraid to present just one solid idea.
With little time to do much more, I sent off the presentation with some quick notes:
This direction just felt right. I feel that it’s very on-brand for you and very now. And yes, that’s my handwriting. I hope you like it!
Within about 10 minutes, the client had responded — she agreed. We got the packaging done and off to the printer the next morning, just in time to hit the deadline.
A few days later, another deadline was on the horizon, this time for a workshop. Once again, one direction felt perfect and nothing else I tried was working. “This is it. This has to be it,” I kept telling myself. “I hope she likes it because my gut says this is perfect for her.” I once again felt an internal tug-of war about presenting just one idea but I sucked it up and fired off an in-process screenshot anyway. A few minutes later, I had the thumbs-up to build out the rest of the assets.
In the past, when it came to projects like these, I would keep doubting myself and exploring, pushing out more attempts that never felt quite as perfect as the first. Now, I’m learning that our intuition rarely leads us astray so we should trust it in life, relationships and yes, even design.
Lesson learned: listen to your first instincts. Go with your gut.
Photo: Made U Look.