Saturday, December 6, 2008

Design by committee

Ruth's Chris Steak House?

Lettuce Souprise You?

WTF! What is a "Chris Steak House"? I would say this about the worst choice I have seen for a restaurant name except I have a hard time picking between "Ruth's Horribly Named Restaurant" and "Lettuce Surprise You With A Really Bad Pun". One of my wierd eccentricities, I will refrain from patronizing establishements that have made bad marketing decisions for that reason alone.

Actually these do not surprise me. Why not? One big reason... Steve Jobs aside, taste does not often correlate with power. Many executives, managers, owners, directors etc. have great vision while at the same time, have little to no aesthetic taste or ability to remove themselves from their own shoes in perceiving their vision. This realizes itself when project owners, sponsors and their bosses give "creative feedback" in the only way they can. A bad way. "It needs to POP more", "I love Apple's taste for design. Make it like that with MORE!", "Be MORE creative!" All of these exact quotes belie the same actual lack of a clear vocabulary and understanding of design and are the result of a desire to imbue a design with their fingerprints so they can feel they were a part of the design process without any actual aesthetic motivation.

One of my favorite illustrations of this sort of behavior is...

props to Danny Elfman - composer for the music, originally from one of the modern movie masterpieces... "Pee Wee's Big Adventure".

One of my smartest friends once told me - when you take two great visions and mix them together sometimes all you get is a watered down version of both that actually appeals to no-one. Someday I hope to run into a sponsor who can own the vision and be confident enough in their own contribution to let designers do their job


Business Executives making design decisions - Crap
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure - Like it.


furiousBall said...

one day, there will be a beer commercial with a reference to the beer posse and we will all sue someone and make millions

Rashid Z. Muhammad said...

I vaguely remember the story of Ruth's Chris but it goes something like: Ruth's steakhouse bought out Chris' steakhouse but one of the sticking points of the negotiation was that Ruth couldn't drop the name "Chris Steak House." So it became Ruth's Chris.

Regardless, your point is well taken.