Design *isms

Marketing: “Do we have any info or feed back from customers and what their preferences are?”

Design: “Do you mean the kind of info you would get from a marketing survey?”

Marketing: “We don’t have time for things like that!”

This really happened when I was working for a vacuum manufacturer. After that we (the designers) were told that we were being difficult. What a world!

I have two favorite Markasms:

  1. I was taken out to the VP of Marketing’s brand new BMW and given a lecture on their craftsmanship and elegance. He then had me kneel down and look at the shimmer of the new paint. While we were kneeling down he said, “wouldn’t that blue look beautiful on our phone?”

  2. Same Marketing VP, I was invited to his house to meet his cousin from England. Because he was European, he had a good sense of European style (I was told that too). I brought the three models of the final selection of color palette. A (BMW) blue, a silver, and a chocolate brown and warm silver version.

The VP was losing the battle on the BMW blue so I was there to be convinced by his cousin that the blue was best. His cousin liked the brown best. The clincher was his 8 year old daughter came up and said, “The blue looks dumb daddy, make it the brown”. The product was made brown.

wasnt the zune was it?


“you don’t need a designer, you need a photocopier.”

“loose the number.”

wasnt the zune was it?

Nope, we were ahead of our time :wink:

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
…A lie, but frequently heard.

“We need it yesterday. For free.”

Rarely is this explicitly spelled out, but dig deep enough and many clients are actually thinking this…

“Ideas are cheap, it’s implementation that matters.”

“Looks fast standing still” … I never quite understood why things that don’t move should look fast…

Specifically not marketing or design, but I heard this one often:

“I don’t disagree with you.”

Maybe its just me, but I hate this type of passive-aggressive BS. What’s wrong with saying, “Good idea,” or “I’m with you on that.”

obviously already off the *isms thread and into common responses,

my fave (after a 1hr, detailed technical product presentation) first responses are-

“how much does is cost?”




“I need to fit 10 pounds of sh*t in a 5 pound bag.”

I love the one above!

Overheard in a professional design critique:

“Just 'cause you pour syrup on shit don’t make it a pancake.” I almost had to leave the room I wanted to laugh so hard.

Here’s a favorite “designism” of mine, a response to seeing a product whose concept is a cross-pollination of two other ideas:

“It looks like an A got into the B cage and spawned a brood of bastard offspring.”

Example: A hunter’s reaction to seeing a compound cross-bow

“It looks like a bow got into the rifle cage and spawned a brood of bastard offspring.”

or a designer’s response to the form factor of Apple’s original Airport base station:

“It looks like a breast implant got into the Mac cage and spawned a brood of bastard offspring.”

Feel free to add your own. :smiley:
Potential candidates for cross-pollinated designs: the iPhone, hybrid cars, printer-scanner-fax machines, etc.

I’ve also heard it put as “Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder.”

Henry Ford was once asked about innovation, his risky venture, and the cars he made, and he said this: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said, ‘a faster horse’”.

In other words:
innovation must come from innovators; people don’t know what non-existent products they want until they see it and find themselves lusting for it.

(That’s one of my own ) :smiley:

I was onced asked if i could…

“put this pen in the replicator and make me a copy”


I heard this from a certain SCAD prof (we’ll call him V. E.).

“The client has two jobs - pay you and f@#k up your design.”

When in doubt, leave it out.

People want outcomes, not artifacts.

Silence is tactful.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Without clear goals, design is either art or gambling.

craft is a handjob.

(saw it at a museum yesterday)