Obsessed by Design

Every time I see an Airstream my heart races.

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Its design is distinctive, retro, shiny… equipped with all the modern technology, within the smallest of spaces, customizable, movable… a space to live, work, play… and inspires adventures by land.

Airstreams are not for everyone, but that’s what makes them so desirable. You’re buying into an exclusiveness that appeals to a certain crowd. Much like Harley Davidson. Not everyone owns one, or wants one, but these brands give people a sense of belonging, identity, community and experiences for enjoying life.

People are obsessed by design and brands that make a difference.

Image: Airstream

Feel The Comfort

Five simple things that create a truly comforting experience:

Log Fire
Apple Pie
Warmth
Wood Cabin
Greenery

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Johnny Ripe, a produce driven bakery and eatery just outside Melbourne, prides itself on “simple and honest foods” being “one of the true joys in life” and they source many of their ingredients from their orchard and farm.

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This place has queues of people waiting to be served at both the take-away counter and seated in the cosy eatery. People really feel the comfort; from the pies, the fire, the cabin-like interior, the warm, family vibe… it’s everywhere. And when it comes to the menu, the home-made offerings instill a belief and trust that what you’re eating is really honest and good.

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It’s no surprise that it’s loved by the local community as well as attracting people from afar, because Johnny Ripe has created something you can’t get everywhere.

They’ve nailed ‘comfort’ and who doesn’t enjoy a big serving of that?

Fear of White Paper

When you’re faced with a blank sheet of paper, the first page in a new notebook, the thought of marking it with your pencil, or pen, for the first time can be quite confronting. But it’s just a piece of paper. Isn’t it?

shutterstock_171554138Transferring thoughts from head to paper is just the beginning of creating ‘something’. Like any first steps, they have to start somewhere before they can grow into wonders. But if you don’t start, you won’t go anywhere.

The next time you come face to face with that daunting blank page, quickly get your thoughts down before the fear of white paper overcomes you. Or just pop your coffee mug on the page, at least it’s a start.

And there you have the beginning of creating something wonderful.

Your ideas are bigger than a blank sheet of paper.

Be Yourself: Simplicity and Difference

There’s been a lot of coverage on the quote “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” (Oscar Wilde). It’s timeless and powerful.

Two major challenges in today’s highly competitive environment are difference and simplicity (converting complexity to be understood). Understanding what you can be the best in the world at, and building upon this, will help you become great (as an individual or company).

In the book ‘Good to Great’, Jim Collins talks about the ‘Hedgehog Concept’, which describes three simple points of understanding and the vital intersection between them:

  1. What can you be the best in the world at?
  2. What drives your economic engine?
  3. What are you deeply passionate about?

There are many designers that are passionate about what they do, and believe they can be the best in the world, but fail to understand their economic engine. On the contrary, companies generally understand this, yet lack insight into what they can simply be the best at, which goes far beyond a core competence, or discovering what makes them passionate. You need all three to be great.

Great possibilities and creative dreams often fail to convert into great realities because difference and simplicity isn’t achieved with one big idea. Individuals, companies and their brands scurry around trying to be all things to all people rather than focusing on their one powerful idea, and this is when they melt into mediocrity.

Be yourself. What’s your big idea?

Art Inspires Storytelling

In her recent TED Talk, creative writer Tracy Chevalier describes how she selects and analyses paintings, asking herself questions and using intuition to imagine a story behind the art. Her best selling novel Girl with a Pearl Earring (also made into a movie) was inspired by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s masterworks Girl with a Pearl Earring.

ImagePeople love a good story. Chevalier believes it’s “within our DNA” and that stories help us make sense of the world. Some of the most loved art is a mystery and leaves room for people to create their own story.

Not everything has to be explained or literally translated for us. Leaving space for a little imagination gives people the chance to connect, create and conclude for themselves.