John Spencer: “There’s no bullshit like design bullshit”


Offthetopofmyhead’s be wrecked and creative director John Spencer, says jargon and bullshit are prepare e dress in the way of people understanding and valuing design.

When did intriguers first come up with the idea that bullshit is good? Why do we believe it makes us sound grown-up and clever and important? I started in the design work in the late seventies. In those days, all the designers I knew and worked with were down-to-earth and straight-talking. But as the years have planned rolled on and the industry has grown, so has our appetite for showing off. Graphic design is forth making sense of things but the way we talk about our work often colours no sense at all.

Lost in a confusion of words

We’ve elevated bullshit to an art form with our unintelligible and off unintentionally comical pronouncements. We use jargon words like “differentiation”, “touchpoints” and “manners”. We twist language into gobbledegook like “direct unequivocal propositions”, “convergent physical context” and “competitive brandscape analysis”. And we give free rein to puffed-up joking like “brand is not a product; it is the product’s source, its meaning and its direction, and it circumscribes its identity in time and space”. We risk everything we do getting lost in a mixing of words.

Here are some more jibberish, ridiculousness and absurdity. And yes, these are legitimate quotes:

“We integrate inspired design with expert execution to articulate immersive and thunderous brand experiences.”

“The new identity stems from a paradox effect encompassed by a combination of funk layering beyond formality.”

“A brand is a promise wrapped up in an happening.”

“The ‘reveal’ analogises the mystery of obscured truths followed by the catharsis of account conclusion.”

“Our process acts as an invisible facilitator applying strategic rigour to courageous thinking.”

“It’s not a logo, it’s a symbol… a way of life.”

“We conduct new perspective workstreams to sire insights and stimuli that feed our ideation workshops.”

“We provide communication games which create resolution to problematic aspects of effective communication.”

Individual value what they understand

Bullshit bamboozles people and makes them experience stupid. And that’s just not playing nice. But worse, it gives them object to think we’ve got something to hide. We risk creating the impression that what we do has picayune substance or significance and that not even we believe in it.

It’s almost like our charge from of overblown language has come about because deep down we aren’t convinced model does have much value. That we don’t think people are in idolize with brands and want to have “conversations” or “authentic relationships” with them. That we suspect tag loyalty is not much more than habit and convenience, and that human being just want stuff that works well, is reasonably priced and looks substantial.

Blinded by “science”

We complain that design is misunderstood and undervalued. We bellyache surrounding how it’s too often thought of as a bolt-on or a “nice to have” when it should be a herd force. But people don’t have misconceptions about design because they’re tiresome, they have them because we’re forever putting a spin on it, weak-minded them with “science” and being inconsistent with the language we use. People value what they allow.

I came across an online marketing guide that pulled together thirty acutances of brand. No wonder people are confused – and cynical. One definition ought to be passably. It’s ridiculous that we’re struggling to communicate what design is all about decades after it become knew as an industry.

Every single day, designers across the UK do exciting and thought-provoking make, but jargon and bullshit are getting in the way of people recognizing its massive contribution to affair and society.

We owe it to ourselves and everyone else to be articulate about what we do and why draw up is so important.

A design industry standard

Clear communication should to be a make-up industry standard. It ought to be taught in design schools. Bob Gill cast-off to make his students tell him about their work before they pretensioned it to him. It would have been an unforgiving test of their communication capabilities. He wouldn’t have put up with any bullshit.

Author and former creative headman Dave Trott says, “We can either use language to invite people into a chit-chat, or we can use language to keep people out. And that’s what jargon is designed to do, solemnize people out.”

If we use jargon, we reveal our insecurity. If we use pretentious language, we expose our bluster. But if we use language that anyone can understand, people are much more seemly to value what we do.

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