Inspiration Wednesday: Winning Decisions

What you don’t need is just as important as what you do need.
—Romare Bearden

Selecting, discarding and assembling just the right elements used to create effective communication tactics are essential creative skills—if deployed strategically, ones that can facilitate the successful proliferation of a corporate brand. When all the proverbial stars align, these tactics could garner the creative team major accolades. If in doubt, take a look at the award-winning work created by those leading corporate teams featured in HOW’s In-House Design Annual. These folks definitely knew what wasn’t needed along with what was in the work produced for their companies.

romare bearden_imageHave you ever wondered, as an in-house manager, what it took for managers of those award-winning teams to stick to their guns, get their team’s ideas pushed through upper management, even in the midst of red taped obstacles like shrinking budgets, hiring freezes or worse, a disbelief in capabilities?

I can’t help wondering about the blood, sweat, and maybe even a few tears shed by some who not only got the job done but done extremely well under turbulent, corporate conditions. It must be sweetly gratifying for those managers in particular, knowing they pushed through the red tape, made the right choices and emerged (with their teams) triumphant in creating work that satisfied the needs of their employers and received recognition from their peers too.

I also think, as a designer, about all the good work that wasn’t selected and featured for one reason or another. Does it mean the work not selected was bad? No. But we’ve all made mistakes and experienced failures in our selections of what we believed to be the right stuff, the correct combination of talent and ideas in crafting what we thought would produce a winning solution. We’ve also had the experience of explaining to an internal client why it isn’t a good idea to wedge 400 more words into an ad’s body copy—for goodness sakes, kudos for winning that decision alone!

Just because your work wasn’t selected for an industry recognized award, doesn’t mean you didn’t make the best choices for the good of your organization. Keep refining. Like Romare Bearden says, “You know what you don’t need is just as important as what you do need.” You’re the key maker who knows exactly what it takes to unlock the door to your company’s brand. Unfortunately, some of our best efforts will never get recognized. That’s okay. Keep pressing.

For anyone contributing to a corporate in-house team, reviewing award-winning work in any design annual is inspiring and motivating. It can get your creative juices flowing and believing excellence can be developed in the confines of a corporate setting—it’s more than just a possibility, it’s a reality.

About Romare Bearden
Considered the preeminent American collagist, Romare Bearden was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and received his college education from New York University. After many decades of showing his work in galleries and on the covers of magazines like TIME and Fortune, in 1987, Bearden was awarded the National Medal of Arts. Bearden’s work is in the permanent collection at MOMA and in many other museums and private collections throughout the world. Curator Lowery Sims once said, “Romare Bearden has gained prominence in the last two decades through his artistic achievements as a collagist. He has raised the medium of collage to a mode of expression so intensely personal that it is difficult to think of another artist so closely associated with it.”

HOW January 2014 Cover-100px
The In-House Design Annual
Take a look into the in-house design team of “Bloomberg Businessweek” and get inspired with this year’s In-House Design Awards. Be sure to download or pick up your copy of the January Issue of HOW magazine on newsstands.