Walking the talk – Design comps – A hover above

Small triumphs

Our industry is no different than any other. Some weeks are more of a grind, littered with meetings and deadlines. Others are punctuated with small or large triumphs that energize the team, the project, the day, the week.

This last week proved to be the latter. Our tagline at Designing North Studios is, “It’s not a location. It’s a mindset.” We aim to consistently deliver north of expectations – a hover above what’s expected. This week, after working around the clock, quite literally around the world, we presented design comps on a very large project (still cloaked in secrecy).

Exceeding expectations

Instead of delivering the minimum number of contractually obligated design comps, our design team provided twice that. They were on a roll, and let their creative juices and our discovery findings be their guide. Because we are responsible for providing content, we were also able to include key messaging that led to a more authentic initial experience for the client. Hence, the client was able to grasp true manifestations of the end product in a variety of styles and formats.

The client had provided good direction in the form of inspirational websites, but in the end, the winning design took the benchmark websites to another level. The client was able to see what they had initially imagined, and then, although they liked those concepts, they were able to confidently eliminate them as a design direction. They weren’t wondering, “What if?”

A good  kind of unusual

The selected design direction featured key elements of the inspirational websites, but cleverly incorporated the client’s branding guideline components in an unexpected way. Or as the client said, “…in an unusual way – the good kind of unusual.” Our designer had provided three variations on his particular theme, so the client was able to pick and choose the favored blocks for moving forward. We concluded the design comp review (all done on GoToMeeting from coast-to-coast) with great enthusiasm and excitement for the next stages of the project.

The seminal lesson here was that the extra effort was not at all wasted. By seeing several concepts of what they thought they wanted side-by-side with a more innovative approach, the decision process was unambiguous. Thus, the overall project can proceed with greater confidence, and likely with less iteration.

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Her Life, Our Future: How Linked Foundation Found Their Way

Why is Dorothy Largay designing north*?

She’s a technophilanthropist on a mission to change the lives of women living in poverty in Latin America.

Don’t let the diminutive figure of former director of worldwide leadership development at Apple, Inc. fool you.

Despite her petite frame and soft voice, Dorothy Largay is nothing but high-density energy. And we are all blessed that she is directing both that intrinsic verve and her financial resources to make the world a better place.

After receiving a ‘windfall’, both she and her husband, former Google Vice President of Engineering Wayne Rosing, decided to focus their talents and treasure on the things that interested them most. For Dorothy, that meant launching sustainable and scalable health initiatives in Latin America, and for Wayne, it meant developing a global network of telescopes to advance astronomy.

Because of Dorothy’s Linked Foundation and its dynamic partners, thousands of women and their families now have access to basic health needs through their rural pharmacies models.

Dorothy treated the foundation like a start-up. It was 24/7 to start, but is now chugging smoothly along, thanks to hard work, a great team, learning from mistakes, and sharing successes.

“My husband and I have a very nice life, but we wanted to keep it simple – uncomplicated. We didn’t want to spend our time managing our ‘things’. That has zero interest to me – too much complexity. We were excited about the potential to make real change in our own lifetimes.”

Read Dorothy’s 10-year Linked Foundation anniversary interview written by Designing North’s Head of Marketing Julie Farrell here.

Check out more on Linked Foundation’s initiatives here.

*Many people in this world “add a little extra” to whatever they do: their career, how they live, the relationships they nurture, or just a random act of kindness — and we consider that *designing north* — designing your life and living it just north of the average bell curve.

Dorothy Largay is designing north. Are you or someone you know? Tell us. We’re looking for the global count.

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