Ever wanted to get inside the mind of one of the design industry’s greatest minds? Well, if you have, read on, because here’s Waltor Landor’s five secrets on how to be the best creative you can be;

First. Look critically at everything. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t allow your vision to be numbed by routine and familiarity. I mean truly look. Go through life every day looking at every environment, every product, every package, every graphic design, every photograph, every piece of furniture, all the way down to the manhole cover — on a daily basis. Next, sit back and enjoy it. And then figure out what you could do to improve it. It’s a wonderful exercise that will keep your talents fresh and your creative skills well honed. It is an exhilarating way to go through life.

Second. Learn to listen. This is difficult. We all enter a dialogue with preconceived notions—nearly unshakable convictions. It is all too easy to shut out another’s point of view, to dismiss it as irrelevant before we have truly heard it. A good way to overcome this is to postpone arguing against another’s point of view until you find yourself receptive to it.Then question it. This will do wonders for you in design critiques and client meetings.

Third. Become articulate. “But we are designers,” you say. “We are not word people. We express ourselves through our creative work.” That’s not enough. The business world is verbal. Try to overcome your shyness and trap yourself into talking at crucial moments—quietly but articulately. You will be amazed at how well you can hide your insecurities once you start expressing yourself convincingly. Believe me, we all suffer from insecurity. You can see I’m shaking right now as I stand in front of you.

Fourth. Trust your intuition. This is not to say that you should grab at the first design solution that pops into your head and declare it the final word. Many of you will go to work in design groups or in agencies where you will find yourselves required to attend design briefings, study copious market research reports, read statements of design objectives, and analyze the client’s competition. You may wonder, “When do I get to design? All that left-brain thinking for a right-brained designer? Something is wrong.” No. Nothing is wrong. Welcome to the world of strategic design. You may wish to develop what I call a “right-brain-left-brain volley.” Learn the rhythm of the game. And then, then trust your intuition. Finish the set with a smashing right-brain serve.

Finally, and very importantly, develop a third eye. That’s the eye that views anything you design as if someone else were looking at it. You see it one way because you’ve created it. You are a prejudiced party in that sense, and you bring to it clusters of your own associations that do not necessarily exist in the design itself when perceived by others. Look at it with your third eye, as if you were just an average person who has just happened upon it for the first time. When you master that, you will be a great design communicator.

The end

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