80/20: A Process for Tasty Results!

By Hannah Chance, Lead Graphic Designer

If you swing by our office on any given day, chances are you’ll hear someone say, “Remember the 80/20 rule!” Usually, it’s right before we start a project, and it’s to remind ourselves of this: Plan and think before putting all the pieces together.

Think of it this way: You’re making dinner and the recipe says it will take one hour to prep and cook. Now you wouldn’t just take all of the unmeasured ingredients, dump them into a skillet and wait an hour, would you? Nope! There are vegetables to chop, meat to season, and sauce to be made. Without taking the necessary steps, nothing would cook properly, ingredients would be added at the wrong time, and the meal would not taste or look as intended. Bottom line? Gross.

In hindsight, the recipe probably called for 40 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of actual cooking. You would sort out which ingredients belong to which group, chop, season, sauté, and mix accordingly. What you get when you take the time to prep is a delicious, ready-to-eat meal.

Design must begin with prep. When it comes to a new project, the 80% part of the design process begins with a conversation with the Account Team to review the creative brief. We walk through the purpose and final goal of the project. From there, we decide on a creative direction that will fit all the requirements. Sometimes we exchange questions: Does it need to be a bigger document? Where will it exist and for how long? Does it all align with the client’s overall purpose? We brainstorm, sketch, and iterate, iterate, iterate until we are ready to refine to the final stages.

The 20% portion is when I head to my computer with a load of information, sketches, and clear direction for putting it all together. This is the beautiful moment when content and form merge. It moves swiftly because we have done all of the prepping. This is ALL a part of the #designprocess. Brainstorming is key to a successful outcome. You can defend the result because every piece has a purpose and a reason.

Think. Brainstorm. Have good ideas. Have ideas in general! Get it all out of your head and onto paper. Refer back to the strategy. Question if it all makes sense. Come up with a million more ideas. Edit, edit, edit. Aha! Things make sense! Time to make it come to life.

The next time you have a project, consider taking the 80/20 approach before you get overwhelmed with the task at hand. Take a step back, look at the ingredients, prep them, ask questions, make lists, sketch it out, pop the product into the oven, and voilà! You have an AC&C casserole! Is anyone else suddenly super hungry?

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