In journalism, editorial bias can’t simply be denied, it must be overcome.
Because they’re human, journalists will have personal beliefs and preconceptions. But, to be truly impartial, they must check their bias at the door when interviewing a source or covering an event. If not, their reporting can fall victim to their own prejudices or those of their sources. And that means the rest of us – the consumers of the televised reports and written accounts – risk being cheated. The “facts” we hear or read are tainted. In the end, it damages the reputation of all credible journalists.
Similar situations exist in the design and marketing worlds. Whether the primary goal is expanding profits, creating long-lasting relationships or advancing their own political or social agendas, some design firms build clientele based on their own tastes and preferences. They have a concept in hand and find a client it fits, or they seek out only clients with whom they feel “safe.” Or worse, armed with their preconceived notions, they fail to see clearly their clients’ true needs.
That can give all design firms a black eye.
Indeed, it would be silly to walk into the first meeting with a client empty-handed – or empty-headed. But the best design firms realize that creating an image or a new brand isn’t one-stop shopping. It’s a process.
And the process requires flexibility.
For a time, the most popular phrase in business was “thinking outside the box.” It means taking an unconventional path; it means finding a new perspective beyond the obvious. Today, creative teams at smart design firms have gone beyond thinking outside the box. They think outside the mind. They don’t restrict their thoughts. They listen to other people – their clients, the marketplace, their spouse, the person next to them on the elevator or in line behind them at the movie theater. They take it all in, put aside their preconceptions about a client or a product, open their mind and consider any idea a possibility.
And that’s just the beginning. Once they narrow the concept, they flip it, spin it and toss it around. They constantly reevaluate and reassess. They poke it, prod it, put it aside, then come back for another look. In the end, the idea has changed. It has evolved. It is something new and unexpected.
It’s the kind of thinking that gave the world the immensely popular television commercials where talking babies go online to conduct stock trades. Initially, those advertisements probably weren’t an easy sell. When the designers presented the concept to their client, the idea of talking babies promoting an Internet brokerage likely took the room by surprise. Because it wasn’t what they had in mind.