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At Alexander Isley Inc., we believe...

That you should decide what a design should do before you start to think about what it should look like.

That the person who has the authority to approve a project must be among those who provide the initial input and direction. Otherwise everyone’s in trouble.

That you should be able to accurately describe a design over the phone. If you can, it means that you are working with an idea instead of a technique. This is always a good thing.

That brevity is the soul of wit. Yes, it is. Truly. The soul of wit. Yes, indeed. Brevity. It sure is.

That designing is easy. Getting people to trust you and invest their hopes and dollars in your vision takes a bit more work.

That people should be in charge of their own destinies.

That people have different definitions of design. To some it’s the tarted-up decoration that is applied to something after all the thinking is in place in order to make it look cool to the public. To others it’s the evaluation of a problem, determination of a strategy, and creation of an effective way to convey information or an experience in an exciting and memorable manner that captures people’s imaginations. (Guess which one we prefer.)

That people are inherently good.

That O.J. did it.

That it takes a whole lot of effort to make something seem effortless.

That there is no point whatsoever to salt-free potato chips.

That Elvis is alive. Thankyouverymuch.

In luck.

That sometimes luck needs a little push.

That Krispy Kreme doughnuts rule.

That design is a process that requires research, rigor, a nimble mind, and an appreciation of beauty (however you define it). It’s not a bunch of people sitting around a table wearing berets and coming up with “notions” and sketching “concepts.” Although don’t get us wrong—we do like berets.

That your identity is more than a logo, a typeface, and a color palette.

That organizations have personalities in the same way that people do, and you are judged in much the same way: By what you say, how you look, and how you behave. We can help with the first two.

That “mandals” are not appropriate business attire. Even with socks.

In the power of duct tape.

That, come to think of it, we believe we will take a look at the cheese trolley after all.

That we won’t do speculative design work.

That women really do like pirates for some reason. (Or at least Captain Jack Sparrow.)

That the 1972 men’s US Olympic basketball team was rooked big time. We’re still angry about this one.

That if working out of a barn in Connecticut was good enough for Lester Beall, it’s good enough for us. And that Paul Rand guy, too.

That if you buy quality you only cry once.

That you should never send an email when you’re angry.

That the best barbecue is North Carolina-style pulled pork with vinegar-based sauce. (That’s not technically a belief, actually—it’s more of a fact.)

That, in an ideal world, you should be able to judge a book by its cover.

That there can be only one fifth Beatle, and it was not George Martin, Murray the K, Billy Preston, Brian Epstein, Pete Best, Neil Aspinall, or even Yoko but Stu Sutcliffe. Phil Spector? Please.

In ourselves.

That most scallops you buy in the store are really stamped out of fish with some kind of cookie cutter thing.

In what we do.

That Pal Joey is the great underappreciated American musical. Discuss.

That toe rings are cheesy.

That designers who don’t use prooferaders are crazy.

That yes, the typo in the previous line was on purpose.

That “56” will never be broken.

That Dom Pérignon was never fully appreciated because he lived in the shadow of his older, more accomplished brother, Joe.

That there are more typefaces in the world than just Palatino. (Just because something comes on your PC doesn’t mean you have to use it.)

There’s no way that Batman and Robin could have put on their costumes while sliding down the bat poles in stately Wayne manor. It just doesn’t make any sense. Who would believe that? Come on.

That if you are a designer and you actually take the time to learn about a client’s business, you’ll do a better job. (OK, some of these are pretty obvious, we admit it. But a lot of people don’t seem to get this one.)

That if you are a designer, there is no way you can do a good job if you haven’t read the manuscript. Um, duh.

That suckers walk.

That Bruno Hauptmann did it.

That “Louie, Louie” is not inherently dirty.

That if you build it, they will come.

That SpongeBob rocks.

That it was really annoying on “M*A*S*H” and “Happy Days” where, near the ends of their runs, the actors just kind of gave up and walked around wearing 1970s hairstyles and clothes, not even pretending to make it seem as if the events took place in the 1950s.

That Mrs. Partridge was hot.

That watermelon tastes better with salt on it.

That if you can remove an element from a design and it still works, remove that element. Keep doing this until it falls apart, then put the last thing back in.

That “sustainable design” means more than using soy-based inks on flecky paper.

That if you “could care less” about something, it means that you hold it as something of importance—not the opposite. Grrrr. (OK, we’ll shut up about this kind of stuff. We know it annoys people at cocktail parties and on Websites. And don’t even get us started about “chomping at the bit.”)

In Zimmerman, in Elvis, in Beatles.

That you should work with and for people you like.

That good work only happens when there is trust.

That you should beware of creative firms that offer some sort of Proprietary Branding Methodology Process™. (Hocus pocus, nos amis.)

That taking a champagne bath really stings.

That when clients are honest and divulge their budgets upfront, they’ll get a better, more resourceful, and more creative solution from their designer. Really.

In half-full glasses.

That you have to work hard in order to get it right.

That you can always learn more. And you should always try to.

That having interests outside of work is healthy. And fun.

That while vanilla definitely has merits, you can’t beat chocolate.

In honesty.

That you can’t create a good design by noodling around on a computer. Do some research. Make lists. Get some ideas. Get better ones. Make a sketch or two. Talk about them a bit. Make some decisions. OK, now it’s all right to fire up the computer.

In schedules.

In laughter.

In loudly speaking actions.

That inspiration is contagious.

That your workplace should be invigorating.

That when a client says to us, “I trust you; do what you think is best. I know you won’t let me down,” we will not fail. We will expend incredible amounts of time and effort ensuring that the results are perfect. (It’s human nature to rise to that kind of challenge.)

That if you ask us to do “work for hire,” we’re most likely going to push back.

That you can never have too many pairs of shoes.

That teaching offers a good opportunity to learn things about design and life.

That every design we undertake addresses considered areas of inquiry, exploring tropes that incorporate critical thinking and utilize methods of agency that are informed by post-structuralist theory. Just kidding!

That looking at design annuals is a terrible way to get ideas. (Or at least it’s a terrible way to get original ones.)

In knowing when to be open-minded and when to be stubborn.

That the estate of a distant dead relative we’ve never heard of in Nigeria is about to deposit $20 million in our bank account.

That in branding and promoting themselves, companies are animals that follow the law of the jungle. They can either:
(a) Try to blend in so that they won’t get eaten, or
(b) Try to stand out so that they will attract a mate.
We like companies that opt for the latter.

That people are smart, and we design accordingly. It makes us crazy when we are asked to dumb down stuff to ensure that everyone will get it. There’s enough dumb stuff in the world already.

That after you’ve packed for a trip, before leaving you should go back and take one-third of your stuff out of your suitcase. Then you’re good to go. Don’t forget your cell phone and PDA chargers!

That if you’re in a hotel and you did forget your cell phone or PDA charger, you should ask at the front desk. They often have extras that people have left behind.

In being generous with credit to our clients, team members, and associates. We’re in this together.

In being optimistic and full of enthusiasm.

That it takes real courage to do something different.

That if you are willing to not take yourself too seriously, it indicates to others that you have confidence and competence. This goes for companies as well as people. (Hint.)

That if you’ve made it this far down into our Website you must be interested in some way, so quit lurking already and give us a call!