Why do we create what we create? What is our purpose?
July Monthly Feature: Purpose
No one likes to stumble around, not quite realising what it is they really want to do with what they’re creating, or how a client really wants to see a brief fulfilled. By being able to create, identify, and use purposes we can eliminate some of that confusion and make every project from here on out much simpler to understand and more effective in execution.
Because it’s such an important concept we’re going to be exploring it as our feature throughout July. This post kicks it all off by talking about purpose, what it is, and why we should bother and then over the next couple of weeks we look at creating purposes, identifying them in existing projects, the two main types of purpose, and how to use them.
What is Purpose?
According to Uncle Google, a purpose is:
The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
As a broad definition that’s perfect, and exactly what we’re looking for. The reason behind what you do, and create, or why something exists. We can take this definition and apply it to just about everything, from a kid building a sandcastle to one company buying another.
Taking it into our industry though there are two levels of purpose that I want to explore within this series. The first is business purpose. Examples of that include making business cards to generate more leads, designing an e-commerce site to increase sales, starting a t-shirt line to increase brand awareness. Anything that relates in some way to money, visitors, and power can come under the ‘business’ purpose.
The second purpose, and probably the more fun one, is the ‘creative’ purpose. This deals with the less tangible meanings, like educating someone, causing a tear with your story, encouraging laughter, changing a behaviour, awareness of an issue.
I propose that in everything we do as creative professionals, we should be defining both of those purposes.
Why bother with Purpose?
- 1. Stay on message
If you know exactly what you’re trying to say and why it’s much easier to build that into whatever you’re doing. Design and functionality choices become more focused because they’re there to enhance rather than define.
2. Measurable results
When there’s an end goal, you can test and track your product/project to see how well it’s progressing towards that goal. And make tweaks where you need them.
3. Clarity in Execution.
Ever reached the point in a project where you’re not absolutely certain what you need to do next to improve it, take it to the next level, or complete it? By knowing what you’re trying to do you’re in a better position for planning, and deciding when it’s done.
What happens without one?
We do our best. And guess. Some of us are exceptional guessers and can get work done for clients and themselves really quickly and effectively (personally I think these people are subconsciously determining the reason first), others not so much.
Can’t answer for anyone else, but I’d much rather work on something while knowing exactly why I’m doing it and what the outcome is. Wouldn’t you?
Next week we’ll be looking at how to create both types of purpose statements. But before you go; what is the most poorly defined project you’ve taken part in?