At Alexander Isley Inc., we believe...
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
That designing is easy. Getting people to trust you
and invest their hopes and dollars in your vision takes a bit more
That people should be in charge of their own destinies.
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.
That sometimes luck needs a little push.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
That most scallops you buy in the store
are really stamped out of fish with some kind of cookie cutter thing.
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.
Pérignon was never fully appreciated because he lived
in the shadow of his older, more accomplished brother, Joe.
are more typefaces in the world than just Palatino. (Just because something
comes on your PC doesn’t mean you have to use
There’s no way that Batman and Robin could have
put on their costumes while sliding down the bat poles in stately Wayne
just doesn’t make any sense. Who would believe that? Come on.
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.
That suckers walk.
That Bruno Hauptmann did it.
That “Louie, Louie” is
not inherently dirty.
That if you build it, they will come.
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
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 Elvis, in Beatles.
That you should work with and for people you like.
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
That when clients are honest and divulge their budgets
get a better, more resourceful, and more creative solution from their
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.
That while vanilla definitely has merits, you can’t
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 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
the results are perfect. (It’s human nature to rise to that kind
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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
that people have left behind.
In being generous with credit to our clients,
team members, and associates. We’re in this together.
optimistic and full of enthusiasm.
That it takes real courage to do
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!