Weird is Wonderful

(An excerpt taken from a job questionnaire regarding having a different perspective)

I think weirdness is one of the most vital traits a person can have. Not the creepy ‘muttering and staring at strangers on the bus in a trench coat’ weird; but the kind of weird that makes you stop and reassess the way you see things. No matter how that manifests in someone — the work they do, the clothes they wear, their mannerisms, their jokes, their ideas, their perspective. Society seems to have this aversion to weird that is so counterintuitive and uncomfortable — I don’t care what people think: weird is fun, it makes people smile, laugh, grimace, squirm, question; it makes them feel something completely alien. It’s a breath of fresh air in an age where you could almost be forgiven for thinking that originality has arrived at its terminus — the digital era has made everyone and everything so interconnected, there is a distinct sense of duplication and monotony between ourselves. Like it’s all been seen, heard and done before. But it hasn’t. Weirdness is the key to going beyond that. It’s kind of like a form of creative intelligence.

Comms Council Windup

I'm absolutely chuffed to have won an award at this years Communications Council windup for my course work in Strategic Planning Principles. The event was attended by over 150 industry pros, and celebrates the best of AdSchool and marketing & advertising grads from across WA.

Congrats to all the other winners. Suss out the write up here.

The Biggest Problem in Design

These days, the title 'problem solver' is proclaimed pretty universally by designers of just about any capacity. Apparently, the bunch of us are altruistic bastions for catalytic, liberalising social change.

Well there's not much I enjoy more than a sarcastic, cynical stab at the change-the-world mentality, and this gem from Julie Zhuo (product design lead at Facebook) hits a lot of us pretty squarely in the balls – in the best kind of way. The apt photo at the top just about sums it up for me.

Middle Brained

The disproven left brained/right brained psychological theory speaks a lot for our distinction and segregation of the two critical models of human thought. This theory asserts that we are either grounded in logic and absolutes, or in spontaneity and intuition. In practice however, we are never as lateralised as this; the greatest human marvels are found in the careful combination of the objectivity of science and the subjectivity of art.

The coalescence of science and art often sparks something far greater than the existence of these as separate entities. In their loosest terms, science and art in this context are representations of their ideals. There are inherent problems in prioritising one discipline over the other in any form of communication. The austerity of science often forgoes the beauty in emotionality and creativity, just as the unbridled erraticism of art often lacks greater intent when forgoing incisiveness. 

In all aspects of communication and semiotics, the insertion of logic should be tantamount to the gravity of emotion. Communication that neglects either of these disciplines fails on the most common ground of realising true human insight. This inequity is precisely why today’s top-40 pop music falters in memorability and quality – our reliance on the formulaic and calculated has taken the zest out by way of predictability. Society’s fickleness toward this music is only reflective of the sorely missing intersection of the two qualities. It’s also why the pretense of much modern art misses the conspicuous, surface level enjoyment of appealing to logic and reason. 

The merging of logic and intuition, analysis and thought, objectivity and subjectivity creates a striking sense of wonder. It’s no wonder the greatest brands, novels, adverts, fashion, movies and songs appeal disarmingly to both our logical and emotional spectrums, in ways we rarely witness elsewhere. Bridging these two disparate schools of thought creates insights that a rigid framework of thinking, or an erratic, aesthetic approach alone will fail to realise. This third way of thinking is the distillation of where magic happens in communication. This greatness is something that can seldom be methodically manufactured, nor conjured from imagination alone – and that’s the undoubtedly human core of it.

Gratitude

I’m very grateful for Alain De Botton – what an amazingly percipient human he is. The Philosopher’s Mail serves as one outlet for his wisdom in the infinite quest for emotional intelligence and enlightenment. In a similar vain to The School of Life, it offers redeeming nuggets of insight about navigating modern life and beyond.

One article in particular – The Philosopher’s Guide to Gratitude – recently piqued my interest for its raw and earnest appreciation of the prosaic aspects of life. It addresses this fundamental human condition we often overlook, proclaiming that ambition is the greatest counterpoint of gratitude – yet both are healthy in equal measures. Here are a few excerpts from the piece: 

“The call to gratitude isn’t for everyone at all times. It is a corrective for those among us who are in danger of overplaying ambition.”

“We don’t yet recognise the dissatisfaction that arises when the frequency of very attractive things (superlative relationships, careers, bodies) is overplayed. We grow ungrateful because we are, among other things, very poor statisticians.”

“A failure to draw pleasure from our current circumstances is an indication of a problem which will likely dog us even if we reach the pinnacle of all our ambitions.”

And perhaps most poignantly:

“Gratitude is the dividend that is due to us when we forego false images of normality and begin to assess our lives against stark but liberating statistical realities.”