By: Lucia Conchello
If you can quickly discern the difference between look-a-like fonts Helvetica and Arial up close, chances are pretty good that you can distinguish the difference – albeit from a safe distance – between a bonafide living-dead zombie versus “Shaun of the Dead” cult classic movie star Simon Pegg and company pretending to be zombies. How is this super power possible? Designers are trained to have a critical eye for the most subtle details. During an insatiable zombie apocalypse, awareness of one’s surroundings can mean life or death. And while being able to recognize the slight difference between sans-serif fonts Helvetica and Arial may not physically save your life when you’re about to get attacked by brain-dead cannibals, having the ability to quickly recognize a way out to escape the chaos definitely will.
This designer ability may sound much like the first reason listed above, but think of having keen eyes as a micro trait and being a born observer as a macro trait. An essential part of the graphic design process is to not allow oneself to get bogged down by the details when there is so much more information to consider. A good designer will note the barely perceptible veins of a leaf as well as step back to view the overall appearance of the entire tree. Designers excel at looking for the mural-sized picture along with seeking out the small mosaic-like details. This skill is insanely important in a zombie apocalypse. In order to escape attack, one needs to have a solid grasp on both the present (“Just how close are these killers?”) and the future (“How can I maneuver this brain-hungry mob and where can I turn for safety?”) in order to ensure survival.
When planning a visual project, a designer will collect information first, then analyze it, and only then start to create. Designers are trained to assess the data they’ve observed and make relevant connections in order to solve communication problems effectively. When a designer looks at something, they zero in on the key elements and then begin to make meaning out of the relationship between the parts. Likewise, being able to analyze your surroundings by means of quickly noting visual cues and then making confident decisions based on this gathered information is an essential skill in a zombie-induced life or death situation, which always requires quick reflexes paired with soul-saving strategic moves.
During the beginning stages of the design process, after research and analysis, designers will then return to examine the initial parameters of the project in order to find the best solution to solve the problem. Designers have to constantly flex their creative muscles to challenge the resistance of obstacles encountered while effectively managing client considerations such as budget, timing, technological limitations and more. On that rare occasion when you find yourself trapped by circumstances and about to be turned into a lunch buffet for a horde of hungry zombies, it’s beyond helpful to be able to think outside the box of real world limitations. Coming up with a creative exit strategy can make all the difference in this type of terror-inducing scenario. And since designers are constantly churning out multiple solutions to one problem in order to find the perfect visual solution to meet their client’s objectives, they are exceptionally prepared to fight the living dead with the strength of these well developed creative problem-solving skill sets.
Successful designers have thick skin. They are taught from the very beginning of their design careers to not take things personally and to learn how to grow from objective criticism. Designers learn early on how to face – unafraid – the objective reality that’s in front of them, and to make the best of it, and more often than not, to improve upon the situation. They know that every challenge is an opportunity for growth. When a designer is faced with the physical uncertainty and emotional despair brought on by a band of approaching zombies, they are likely to rely on their aforementioned critical eyes and adept problem solving skills to find a way out, all while maintaining a realistic half full/half empty perspective on the situation. Designers are used to performing under pressure. Constant exposure to heavy work loads, tight deadlines, and technological complications, along with the need to maintain a healthy work/life balance, builds a been-there-done-that experience layer that insulates a designer from being easily frazzled. Having this type of emotional armor will certainly protect a designer in the case of advancing zombies, which one can only imagine might be a tad bit more stressful than creating an eye catching explainer video that gets a lot of views and measurable engagement based on its creatively executed content.
Designers, whether working at a large agency existing as part of a hive of creative professionals visible from every corner of an open office layout, or experienced freelancers creating quality work from the luxury of a home-based design studio, all must be able to collaborate with other professionals. In order to handle all of the moving parts of a variety of creative projects they have to establish strong, trust-based relationships with clients, programmers, copy writers, photographers, illustrators, project managers, print shops, and so on. They need to be good at communicating what needs to be accomplished while being able to understand how their partners in the design process work and what they need to be successful. Finding strength in collaboration is an especially helpful trait since traveling in a group is one of the best ways to stay alive – and collectively ward off danger – during a zombie apocalypse.
One of the most important aspects of being a successful designer is adaptability. What a coincidence! That’s also a beneficial skill to have during a zombie apocalypse! Life can throw curve balls, and clients tend to have a special talent of tossing a few when least expected. Design emergencies can include any or all of the following: a complex project suddenly needs to be completed by end of day, the design strategy of a creative brief changes drastically, the legal department declares problems with body copy, and numerous edits have to be made on the fly. Designers are constantly prepared to expect and handle these types of changes. They quickly learn where to find answers for their problems and how to effectively execute client requests. All the while, designers are constantly adapting to new computer programs, keeping up with communication design trends, and uncovering the best technological routes to get them where they need to be both creatively and professionally. Designers. Never. Stop. And that ability to keep moving while armed with emotional intelligence and visual reference can quite possibly save them from an untimely demise when face to face with an active zombie apocalypse.
Need help with a creative communication stand-off of your own? Contact the zombie-proof design team at SAC Designs and we promise to protect your sanity while delivering what your business needs to survive AND thrive.