Working with a Great Graphic Designer: A Case Study of Extended Cognitive Productivity

To extend our own effectiveness, it is, of course, not sufficient to study. We often need to turn to experts. Often, they are consultants. Success here is partly a matter of finding the right person. It equally is a matter of being an excellent client.

From the time I was 10, I have always tried to play, study, and then work with the best minds I could find. By choice and good fortune, I have had truly world class friends, teachers, professors, and colleagues. In a great, productive relationship, I get to play with, work with and learn from the refulgent mind at the same time. For example, although I don’t particularly like to travel, I chose to do my Ph.D. in Britain in order to study with the best minds in Cognitive Science, including the person I still consider to be the most brilliant and insightful AI researcher, Prof. Aaron Sloman, who was my Ph.D. supervisor (thanks to Commonwealth, NSERC and FCAR scholarships). As a Ph.D. thesis examiner, I chose Prof. Maggie Boden of Sussex University (who had recently failed a Ph.D. student as examiner, but that didn’t bother me), who is, amongst other distinctions, the foremost historian of cognitive science. Everyday, I draw from the knowledge I gained from them.

Here at CogZest, I often feature brilliant minds. Today, I would like to shine some light on a particularly fruitful working relationship I forged last year, with a very talented person suggested to me by the also luminous Sharon Bratt. It is with Lam Wong of Design+Format.

I recently wrote a blog entry on how he responded to the demanding requirements of crafting the icon for mySleepButton. You can read about it in “How our Visual Hammer (Icon) Was Designed to Drive Home our Verbal Nail”.

I’d like to point out that, in working on this icon project with Lam, I applied the principles I described in Cognitive Productivity. You will notice in reading that article, for example, that I refer to Laura Ries’ excellent book, Visual Hammer. I also, of course, applied knowledge from several other resources that I’ve instilled. The subtitle of my book sums this up: The Art and Science of Using Knowledge to Become Profoundly Effective.

This article celebrates both the process of working with a great visual artist and the fabulous visual that resulted from it.

Published by

Luc P. Beaudoin

Head of CogZest. Author of Cognitive Productivity books. Co-founder of CogSci Apps Corp. Adjunct Professor of Education, Simon Fraser University. Why, Where, and What I Write. See About Me for more information.

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