Beyond the buzzwords

Sep 30th, 2016

If you work in the creative industry, you are probably sick of hearing the words ‘innovation’, ‘collaboration’, and even the word ‘design’ – says me, a recent postgrad who studied Design Innovation and Service Design. To be quite honest, before I started the course I wasn’t 100% sure what I was letting myself in for. Coming from a fashion design and business background, I guess I wanted to broaden my horizons in the design world. Throughout the year, I found myself constantly changing my opinion, pondering over words that had been used so often that they’d almost lost all meaning. Everyone knows that feeling, is that really a word or am I reading a foreign text? But sometimes we can be pleasantly surprised by those things that have been right in front of us. Thinking about the etymology of these words made me think about exactly why we, as designers and creatives, were originally inspired by such ideas.

The word ‘innovation’, comes from the Latin innovatus, which means ‘to renew or change’ and is made up of two words: in which means ‘into’ and novus which means ‘new’. So, to innovate is to go into the new.

This definition helps give a better context to our primary purpose: It’s our job as creatives to go into the new. It’s our job to break existing patterns. That’s our goal. And it helps remind us of our responsibilities. We certainly want to help our clients find success, but if pattern makers make money, it’s fair to say that it’s the pattern breakers who make history – and money…

Deriving from the Latin word collaborare, the word is made up of com – ‘with’, and labore – ‘to work’. Really, the brutally simple meaning of the word is about labouring together. Work means applied effort, and effort implies a push against some form of resistance. Work isn’t easy and it shouldn’t be, but the results are worthwhile. Sometimes.*

*all the time

There’s always been a heated debate about what design is, and who can design or what even makes you worthy of the title ‘designer’. To be more literal, design means ‘to mark out,’ from de, which means ‘out’ and signare – ‘to mark’. It’s a fascinating definition—one that speaks simultaneously to a physical act and a strategic act. The best designers ‘mark out’ ideas that fulfil a strategic intent or purpose and that’s why you need more than a process to make great design. You need talented people to mark out and exercise the best way forward.

By now you’ve read a number of definitions and have been buzzed around by few words, so why am I acting like a dictionary and how does it all add up?

Innovation is about finding a new way forward; collaboration nowadays is the way to get to innovation, and design is about mapping out a distinct future. When you put the words together, you begin to see what we believe to be the goal of great design: to work together in setting out a new and better way forward. That’s why at Front Page we have designers working with copywriters, working with account executives.

After a year of studying these three words (it wasn’t just about studying what three words mean, take that one with a pinch of salt!) I somehow managed to truly appreciate them and how they affect society. How, you ask? You’ll need to wait until my next blog.

Long winded drum rolls please…

With a small galaxy of design and business skills and a stellar love for all things penguin and panda, Vanessa has finally taken lift off from art school and is on her own astronomical adventure.