Feel free to contact me with questions or comments…
- email: victor (at) victorlombardi.com
- AIM: vittoriolombardi
- mobile: 347.249.9470
Learning Objectives: This class helps you understand the fundamentals of business to improve your effectiveness as a designer. You will learn: 1) how companies work; 2) how to see design challenges from your clients’ perspective, and discuss your work in business language, 3) how decisions are made and how to infulence those decisions to sell your work; and 4) how to combine your creative skills with analytical skills to create more robust designs. You will learn these skills by creating your own simulated business.
- If we’re doing it right, the class should be fun. If you’re not having fun, tell me! We’ll try to change something.
- Come to class. Really. We like you, and it’s more fun when there’s a bunch of us to hang out and talk.
- If you can’t come to class, the usual Pratt policies apply. Personally I don’t care much whether you had a good excuse or not. I just care about your learning. So if you missed a class what really matters is making an effort to find out what happened in class from me or another student.
- All assignments must be submitted by email unless otherwise noted. If you’re having technical problems let me know.
Class 15 (date):
- Review and critique final design comps as a group
Class 14 (date):
- Review and critique design comps as a group
- Decide what final changes to make to the comp
- Eat pizza
- Refine your comp to arrive at a final version
Class 13, April 16:
- Review and critique design directions as a group
- Select one direction and start to develop it
- Create gorgeous and powerfully-effective comps from the one design direction we chose
- Be ready to present the background of your company, the marketing proposal, the three directions, and your comps to our guest expert in class
Class 12, April 9: Starting three marketing piece directions
- Discuss how to think about moving from the proposal to creating three design directions
- Spend time in class working through this process to consider what your directions might be
- Individually review your proposals from last week and discuss any initial design ideas
- Assuming your proposal was accepted, start the client work by creating three directions
- Each direction should have a name and show a visual idea as well as a written description of why and how the visual idea addresses the client’s goal.
- Directions are called that because each should go in a different creative direction. Three variations on one design are not three directions.
- Make the directions as detailed as you can. Given that you only have one week and you need to do three directions, you can only go so far –- so sketches or wireframes are just fine. If you have time to go further, you’ll have an easier time next week doing the comp.
- I won’t be grading the stylistic quality of the directions. I will be grading based on how well you created a design that shows an understanding of the business client’s goals. For example, if you create something that looks great but emphasizes differentiation when the business is all about low price, it won’t grade well. If you represent the business goal well, it will grade well whether or not it looks good.
Class 11, April 2: Developing a Marketing Proposal
Learning objectives: From a designer’s point of view, understand how a business should be marketed to its target audience.
- The Road to Hell: Now Paved with Innovation? which is all about spec work. Come to class with your opinion, will you do spec work or not?
- Review real-world project proposals [Acme 1] [Acme 2] [Ford]
- Discuss what our clients (the businesses we created) need next in terms of marketing and advertising, what audience is most important to speak to, what message needs to be sent to that audience, and what format is the best medium to carry that message.
- Write and design a proposal for an advertisement or marketing material, illustrating your insight into how to sell to the customer in a way that expresses the unique competitive advantage of the business. The proposal should include these sections:
- About this document
- A summary of the client’s situation
- What you propose doing to help the business
- What benefits the business will receive
- A schedule of how long the work will take and an outline of the process you will follow
- How much you will charge
- Your credentials (similar work, qualifications, testimonials, referrals, etc.)
- Your contact information
- Two-page magazine advertisement
- Direct mail print piece
- Website (you’ll design just the home page)
- Email newsletter
Class 10, Mar 26: Class canceled
Class 9, Mar 19: No Class — Spring Break
Class 8, Mar 12: Review and Refine Field Research
Class 7, Mar 5: Doing Field Research
Learning objectives: Learn how to do actual research to validate business ideas
- Review our presentations
- Gauge their quality through a stock market game
- Watch the IDEO Shopping Cart video and discuss the process they used (e.g. secondary research, personal discussion, primary (field) research, brainstorming, voting, refocus, rough prototypes, combined prototype, test)
- Discuss research and prototyping techniques
- Review and refine our research plans
- Do research according to your plan.
- For each type of research you plan on doing (Market, Competitive, Product, Customer) add a “Findings” section to your presentation and summarize what you learned. Note that everyone has to do customer research, speaking with at least five potential customers of your business.
- Here’s a text-based example: Word version | Text version
- If you want examples of creative ways to do the research, look at the IDEO Method Cards available at the Pratt Library.
Class 6, Feb 26: Expanding Your Business Idea
- Review our first draft presentations
- Continue to refine your presentations, completing each step and making it as visual as possible
- Review my draft presentation (Powerpoint) as an example
Class 5, Feb 19: Three Business Ideas
- Review the answers to last week’s test
- Introduce the presentation format we’ll use for our business plans
- Workshop our business ideas in class
- Take one of your business ideas that has the most potential and start describing it using the presentation format we discussed. Try to make it as visual as possible: use sketches, illustrations, collages, information graphics, photos… anything to more concretely tell your story. Don’t worry about perfection at this stage, just try to get it all done and we’ll improve it over the new few weeks.
- Some more background on this format: Perfecting Your Pitch
- PowerPoint template (coming soon)
- An example: Smart Experience (coming soon)
- Email your presentations to me and we’ll workshop them more next week
Class 4, Feb 12: Start Designing Your Business
- Talk about product development concepts (platforms, systems, razors/blades, etc.)
- Talk about scaling a business beyond features and products/services to opportunities, as well as strategic delivery points
- Invent three ideas for new businesses. Each must:
- Somehow take advantage of your design skills
- Be more than just a product idea
- It should have the potential to be big enough (generate enough revenue) that you would hire employees
- Write down:
- A working name for the business
- what the business is/does/makes/sells
- who the customers/consumers are
- and why the business is better for those customers/consumers than whatever currently exists
- Email your ideas to me, and we’ll workshop them next week
- Example: Delaborate is a mobile phone service that helps busy people lead simpler, less stressful lives (de-elaborate, get it?). The service works like an IM chat bot but converses with the consumer via SMS. It uses principles of positive psychology to suggest ways the consumer can be happier. The competition is both personal therapists and the self-help industry, but I think there’s a lot of people who would like an inexpensive way to improve their happiness that’s integrated into their lives. Because it works over SMS, the potential audience is huge. Derivative products could give advice on subjects as diverse as weight loss and gardening.
Class 3, Feb 5: More Business Fundamentals
- Triple Bottom Line
- Porter’s Generic Strategies
- What the CEO Wants You To Know, Part II (Chapters 4 & 5)
Class 2, Jan 29: Learning Business Fundamentals
Learning objectives: Learn business fundamentals and the relationship between costs, revenues, profit, and customer satisfaction
- Discuss what we learned from playing the Lemonade Game
- Learn about business fundamentals
- Explore why a good design isn’t enough to succeed
- Play Disaffected! until you understand how the game works.
- Take a screen shot when you’re done and email it to me or bring it to class.
- Consider what is the single biggest lesson you’ve learned from it. How does that change how you would start a business?
Class 1, Jan 22: Introduction to Business Ideas
- Introduction to the course
- Look at innovative new business ideas
- Play The Lemonade Game
- Try to make as much money as you can while achieving high customer satisfaction and popularity scores.
- If you make a lot of money, great, but you won’t be graded on this. I want you to simply play until you understand how different decisions about making lemonade results in different business performance.
- When you’re done take a screen shot of the End of Day Reports screen and email it to me.
- What the CEO Wants You to Know, by Ram Charan, Part I (Chapters 1-3)
- Ten Reasons Young People are Afraid to Start Their Own Business
- Company Building for Eight-Year Olds