Great design comes from good ideas, and good ideas come from good conversations!

November 2, 2023

Have you ever had that amazing experience of bravely sharing an idea you have had with friends or colleagues, and seeing them suddenly react enthusiastically, energetically expressing their points of view, encouraging you, excited to see your big idea come to fruition?

Great designs are borne not only from initial great ideas, but also from amazing vibrant conversations that build momentum, add expertise, examine all angles, and create excitement around concepts!

If you subscribe to the idea that humans are social creatures who are not designed to be islands, then you can appreciate interactions with others is vital, and this type of thinking is one of the corner stones for creating great designs.

Great designers collaborate, percolate ideas, appreciate different points of view, interrogate, and seek different experiences. Like us, they do not exist in a vacuum or bubble, rather they are always eager to spread their wings via conversations, education, research, and investigation!

At this point you might be thinking what are the characteristics of good conversations that can lead to great designs?
According Harvard Business Review, two important concepts that encourage openness and flow of ideas during conversations are ‘permission’ and ‘safety’.

In Make your meetings a safe space for honest conversation published by the Harvard Business Review in 2019 and authored by Paul Axtell, the concept of ‘permission’ refers to giving permission to people at the start of a meeting for what can be talked about. Articulating permissions allows people to confidently participate in conversations. In the context of graphic design this could include establishing what parts of a client’s brief can be openly talked about. It’s about laying some ground rules, so people feel comfortable!

The second concept of ‘safety’ in the context of conversation refers to the need for people to feel that they are occupying a ‘safe space’ before they will allow themselves to be vulnerable and share ideas. In a graphic design agency setting this could involve a lead designer guiding discussions by asking participants to devote full attention to each speaker, giving people time to express their thoughts and ideas, and unpacking what is valuable about other people’s comments and questions around creative design concepts.

If graphic design agencies can create ‘psychologically safe spaces’, then good conversations will be able to flourish, paving the way for amazing design outcomes!

Recommendations for achieving ‘psychologically safe spaces’ for conversations include;

  • Make sure each person when speaking has the full attention of the group
  • Allow time for each person to complete their thoughts and ideas
  • Invite people into the conversation if they appear to be not saying much
  • Attribute a person’s name when referring to earlier ideas
  • Summarise important aspects of conversations taking place
  • Explain how design ideas will be actioned using input from the group
  • Acknowledge positive aspects of discussions and thank everyone for their input

If you are interested in collaborating with a Sydney-based graphic design agency, that knows how to create the right space for the development of great designs, then contact us at Fresco Creative.