Fletcher Ward Design - 020 7637 0940

Visit our website at: www.fletcherwarddesign.co.uk

Monday, March 31, 2014

Design Matters

The Designers Mantra. "Quality. Speed. Low cost - pick any two". The Myth.

When choosing an expert for your latest creative project you may well come up against the designers often quoted 'mantra' - "Quality. Speed. Low cost - pick any two!".

You may expect quality, speed, and low cost, but however re-arranged the third option will more than likely be shaped by the other two choices. 

Quality + Speed = Expensive.
You need a superbly designed 12pp brochure promoting the latest Jamaican cooking trends on your desk in the morning for a brain bashing board meeting, pressures on.  It needs to be a finished concept, correct text in place, images and layout seamlessly fitting in with your marketing strategy.  If the board approves, it needs to be with the printer by the afternoon for a 25,000 print run.  The Design team use several designers working overnight to meet the deadline.  You'd expect costs to rocket.

Quality + Low cost = Slow.
The same superbly designed 12pp cooking collateral that's expecting to propel your company up to the next level needs to be created to a strict low-budget.  The Board needs to allocate most of the budget to a Jamaican themed corporate hospitality event called 'Rice & beans live!').  The Design team still give the project the same attention to detail and meet the budget requirements, but less creatives working on the project means slower development, overtime costs are cut and the time it takes to complete is extended.

Speed + Low Cost = Low Quality.

This 12pp brochure is really going through the mill.  Board wants it fast! and they don't want to pay much (Chairman needs a bonus this month).  The single designer works as fast as he/she can, less development time, corners are cut, ideas and concepts shelved for being too time consuming or costly, as a result the quality suffers, it looks ok, functional, but not hard hitting.  You truly get what you pay for, this is the least favourable choice.
The problem with this designers mantra is that whatever the client says, they actually do want 'quality'.  They may say that they need it fast and cheap, but when the project is delivered they expect the quality.   

As a rule beware, "Quality. Speed. Low cost - pick any two!" - don't fight against it. The laws of designology rarely allow you to beat it.  Setting concrete goals at the start of a project and measuring throughout development will serve both the client and yourself more than promising them the world at the beginning: quality, speed and low cost.
Interestingly, this designers mantra can be inserted into many other areas of business, although strangely not true of cuisine - i.e. Rice & Beans = Healthy, Fast & Cheap.

In our experience we find "Quality. Speed. Low cost - pick any two!" should not begin the design process as it ignores the larger question: what is the purpose of the design project? What is going to work for our client?  Putting cost or quality issues before questions of purpose is putting the cart before the horse. With this philosophy driving us coupled with our design experience, knowledge of the client and their needs we actually often succeed relegating the Mantra to a Myth.  
We use the three goals as a positive driving force to aim for, often hitting all three targets: quality, speed and cost, almost as a by-product.  Then we hopefully add to the mix an overlaying experiential layer in terms of  "Loyalty, Honesty and Trust". 
Using this blueprint, hopefully our clients find the perfect solution and receive the quality, speed and cost they (actually) expect.  
Now where's that Rice & Beans?  all this blogging has made me hungry.