One of the best talks I’ve ever heard on how to tell a great story, by screenwriter Andrew Stanton. Have a look:
Archive for the ‘Art’ Category
Tom Fishburne perfectly captures the state of about 95% of story-telling by brands today. As he says, “it doesn’t pass the bed time story test.”
One of my favorite paintings hangs in a plain white wood frame at the Art Institute of Chicago. Chances are you’ve seen it—if not the actual painting, you’ve no doubt seen a print or mural based on the painting (there’s one a the Mall of America) or in any of these movies: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Wall-E, or Barbarella.
It’s called Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
And it’s one of the first, maybe best, examples of a style called pointillism.
The artist who painted it, neo-impressionist Georges Seurat, was heavily influenced by scientists of his day who write about color and how two colors placed side by side, create a third color at the edges when viewed from a distance.
Rather than blend the pigments on a pallet then spread them on the canvas, Seurat painstakingly placed tiny dots of paint close together. This technique allows the viewer’s eye to blend the colors optically. The effect is more brilliant and richer colors than standard brush strokes create.
It took Seurat two years to paint it.
His planning was meticulous. He created roughly 60 different studies to guide his final work.
Take a closer look at Seurat’s work. What do you see?
People relaxing on the banks of the Siene. If asked, we could count the number of boats on the water or people lounging on the grass—and we would come up with the same number. We would likely agree on the color parasol held by the woman in the middle of the painting or color of the dress worn by the little girl next to her.
But Seurat didn’t paint any parasols or little girls or even people in a park. He painted thousands of small dots of paint on a canvas.
The images we see when we look at the painting are created by our minds as they combine the different dots into shapes and colors.
Seurat’s careful planning insures we all see similar things when we view the painting.
Do you brand like Georges Seurat paints?
Do you carefully plan each customer experience, every communication, and each interaction your customers have with your brand? Do your customers see all the ways your brand communicates and walk away with the same larger picture in their minds? Do you take the time necessary to bring it all together?
Or do you brand like Jackson Pollock painted (see yesterday’s post)?
It took Seurat two years to create his masterpiece… carefully planning every dot of paint.
Don’t expect to create yours with a few weeks or with any less effort.
Posted by Rob Marsh.
Time magazine called him Jack the Dripper.
And that’s a pretty good description for the best known abstract impressionist, the artist who created dozens of paintings that made people in museums around the world say, “My seven-year-old could have painted that.”
He painted the most expensive painting ever sold at auction—a work of art titled #5, valued at $140 million in 2006 (pictured to the left).
Jackson Pollock painted by dripping, flipping, and throwing paint onto the canvas. At one point, he numbered his paintings, rather than naming them, to keep viewers from reading any unintended meaning into his work.
Pollock’s technique makes for some beautiful paintings, but others are messy and intentionally confusing. Of his work, Mr. Pollock said,
“When I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It is only after a sort of ‘get acquainted’ period that I see what I have been about. I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own.”
Today, many brand owners take a “Jackson Pollock Approach” to managing their brands. They drip, flip, and throw different ideas, strategies, and messages at the canvas and go with whatever sticks.
They are inconsistent in using colors and design. They speak with more than one voice. They change experiences and products on a whim.
Like Pollock, the are unaware of what they are doing in the moment.
The result is something like abstract impressionism. There’s no clear idea to understand or remember. No take away for the consumer.
This is the path to brand failure.
Unfortunately, in order to succeed in a crowded marketplace, there is no ‘get acquainted period’ where a brand can find its voice.
All of the individual pieces of your brand (product design, business card, pricing strategy, website, invoice, user experience, customer service, email, packaging, etc.) must work to produce a consistent message— a recognizable, memorable, and likeable story for your brand. From the beginning.
Jackson Pollock was a brilliant artist. His approach worked well for painting, but is a disaster for creating a brand.
The painting above is untitled, painted in 1949. Jackson Pollock died on this day, 54 years ago.
Posted by Rob Marsh.