There are a lot of viewpoints about what design should be. Many, from the side of clients, have a lack of knowledge or a biased view. Others comes from within the design community, which is very opinionated. It is my viewpoint that many of these opinions have value in moving the conversation forward.

As designers, the challenge is to create a balance between art and commercial design. The latter being a fairly straightforward practice; design for commercial profit. The former is a bit more complicated. I see the practice of art to be an exercise in making beautiful pieces, whether they be visual or audio. These are broad statements to include many of the different practices including but not limited to videography, sound design, music, painted artworks or experienced spaces.

There are a few guiding principles that help sort out how Neighbor approaches partnerships with clients. First and foremost, projects do not move forward without understanding from both sides. We must be clear in the direction, the objectives and the outcomes identified. Listening is more than writing your objectives on in a brief. It’s reading between all the spoken goals to gather and implement the long-term outcome of this initial effort.

The Long Game

All of today’s attention is focused on the present moment. Businesses look at the current trends, waves of attentions and the whims of society. In times of downturn, panic over unpreparedness and the quick shift of attentions.

Neighbor puts an extra emphasis on figuring out the long game for each client. Design is the method in which businesses move their companies forward. Each and every action taken during the process is meant to take one or two steps closer to the future. Otherwise, the efforts from both sides are rooted in the fading present.

The Balance

Art is timeless. Art is rooted in a cultural moment reaches deep into the viewer and makes them feel something. Often times, that manifests itself in abstract ways. It also takes time and effort to identify the connection and allow it to show through the specific artwork.

Commercial design’s main purpose is to spread a message that helps sell products and services. It goal is to tell that message as quickly as possible and attempt to make a connection with a limited amount of time and attention. Our (the collective world) attention has become shorter and shorter as more and more is presented.

Neighbor’s involvement in each of these practices builds the balance between creating a timeless message and presenting the message in the right applications for the message. It is a slow burn. It is a methodical and thoughtful practice that takes effort between Neighbor and client. The relationship deepens over time and the true message can be presented in the correct ways.

The Result

Most everything when thought out and structured to bring about an honest message, is seen for the value that it holds. Each step of the process unfolds the story of your company. And when looked at as a whole speaks louder than the impermanent methods of today’s social marketing schemes.