Sometimes something sits on your shelf, slips your mind, you forget about it, and then you write something and you recall why it’s important. This afternoon I was having a discussion with an artist friend of mine about the roles of aesthetics of ideas, that is, how do we use aesthetics to reach out to others? I suddenly recalled a volume that I had seen a year or two ago by Tom Guarriello and Jim Biolos, titled, Work Different: Design for the Rest of Us. I took it off the shelf and remembered how much I enjoyed it the first time I looked at it and how important is its message for the contemporary proactive leader operating in a design culture.
The authors maintain that their goal is to help us be more successful in the ways we develop and deliver our work, to make sure that our ideas don’t “flutter to the ground like an orange leaf during fall foliage in the Shenandoahs.” What Guarriello and Biolos tell us, it’s not enough to concern ourselves with ideas, it is also essential for leaders to think about how people experience their ideas.
Leaders have to think about the aesthetics of design. As they say, most of us, “fall short on the visual component of our storytelling. We may drive home our points in words and numbers, but we fail to engage the hearts and emotions of those people whose opinions matter most.” In this volume, the authors open our eyes to the importance of design as part of our thinking necessary to achieve results. Today, more than ever, design has become part of our everyday life. The balance of image, words, and numbers, the delicate waltz between aesthetics and content, is no longer an exercise in neo-Kantian philosophy, but, as the authors point out, a critical challenge in getting out our message.