In the late 80’s there was this show on PBS called “Secret City Adventures“. Even though it was corny and low-budget, and I was probably waaaay too old for it (*cough*juniorhigh*cough*), I loved it and would rush home from school so I could watch it. I would sit through the lame sketches and stilted dialogue because, eventually, Commander Mark would get to the drawing part.
He taught you how to take drawings beyond the flat. Learning about volume, and perspective, and shading fascinated me. It was like magic being able to draw in three dimensions. I’d lay stretched out on the carpet in front of our big-ass console TV with my sketchbook and pens. It was the happiest time of my whole day—the world just melted away.
Until a few weeks ago, I really couldn’t tell you the last time I’d sat down and drawn something. Even though that’s what led me toward graphic design, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d picked up a sketch pad. It made me sad to think that I’d gotten so involved in designing in the browser that I didn’t make the time for being creative on paper, where I can explore and iterate and really think through solutions.
So yeah. What the heck does that have to do with branding?
While I was thinking about making time for what’s important to me, it reminded me of a conversation I had at a party a few weeks ago. I was talking to a WordPress developer I know about all the Meetups we have in San Diego and Orange County. “I’d love to go,” this guy told me, “but I just don’t have time.”
And even though I know how important it is to make time for giving back to the WordPress community, and encouraged him to go and get involved because San Diego and OC Meetups are all kinds of awesome, I catch myself falling into the same busy trap when it comes to stuff that’s important to both me and my brand.
One of my core values is presenting the best solution I can for any given business problem. Sometimes, though, I let myself I get locked into just customizing a theme early in the design process because I feel like “I don’t have time to waste drawing.” Even though I know how much better sketching makes the eventual solution because I’m able to think more quickly and clearly on paper.
I’m also guilty of skipping Meetups, too, because I get “too busy” or “don’t have the time” to make the drive up. I wind up ignoring some of Creativity Included’s core values because I think I can’t find the time for them. Heck, this post was scheduled to go up last Friday, but I made other stuff more important and here it is Monday evening. I know it’s time to get better at prioritizing.
If it’s important, you’ll make time
I did an interview with Rick Knudston at Flywheel, and he told me how he still wrote a handwritten note for every box of swag that they shipped out. Maintaining personal relationships with their clients is one of their core brand values, so he *makes* the time to write those notes.
Consistency is one of Chris Lema’s core brand values, so he *makes* the time to blog every single day, no matter how busy he is. These guys respect their core brand values enough to make sure, no matter what, they follow through. They *show* you what they value, they don’t just *tell* you.
Respecting my core brand values
So the other day I decided I’d make some time to draw. I went outside and sat in the sun, lost in ink bleeding into paper while I finally put a few interface patterns I’d had rattling around in my brain on paper. It reminded me of why I fell in love with my job in the first place.
It also helped me get a bunch of ideas into a sketchbook that will make a project I’m working on 100 times better. Best of all, it just plain felt good to make time for something that matters to me. I plan on making a lot more of my core values a priority. If I don’t, they’re not really my values, right? They’re just things I *say* matter to me, not things that really *do* matter to me.