Techism’s History and Philosophy
The word techism was coined in 1994 to describe a philosophy of industry that seeks to humanize technology, and our interactions with technology, as much as possible. It seemed a natural label for a creative agency specializing in a lot of GUI and Web-based work. That’s what it means to me – but what can it mean to you?
I’ve worked my way up from laying vinyl and burning screens, rapid production industrial illustration, worked professionally as a color calibration expert and studied basic color theory. I’ve stood on ladders 50 feet in the air placing a logo design on the side of a building. I know the pit-falls and practical considerations of design.
Our minds tell us there are infinite solutions to any creative problem, but our hearts know that some solutions are more right than others. Solving problems the right way is my passion. I paid my dues so that I could know how to do things the right way.
The right way should be: fast, efficient, cost-effective, and provide emotional and fiscal results.
When I make a logo, I’m thinking about who you are talking to, how much it will cost to reproduce, where you are likely to be using it, and optimizing each action toward those simple perfect goals. The right solution is the one that solves your initial problems, and goes further to guide you in your future. It should empower you. I am not fixing your leek. I am repairing the pipe, showing you where I got the materials, and walking you through the install so you don’t have to call me next time.
The right solution is the one that empowers YOU.
Does your image empower you? Does it guide your employees? Does it bring unexpected insight into who you are each time you look at it?
Does your website make your communications easier or harder?
Does anyone care what you are saying? Do you even care?
We can talk about PHP, CSS, HTML and all that business till the cows come home. I know a little about that stuff, so that you don’t have to. Your focus should be on your larger picture, your actual business goals.
Techism’s creative solutions are:
- Low maintenance. – We all know how some web technologies require expensive licenses and hosting bills, but let’s take something as innocuous as logos for example…Some logos solve one or two problems, but not the important ones. How much will it cost to convert this to a web banner? A 60 foot trade-show banner? A black-only, one-color version for our faxes? Do you even have all the file-types you need? How much time do you waste talking to design resources about what format logo you have, who has it, how it can be converted into this or that? My logos follow best practices, and since I’ve worked with just about every kind of graphic production from the lowest levels on up, I know how to answer all those questions before they are even asked. I don’t just give you a logo. I give you an expertly crafted identity kit with all the assets you need and a guideline PDF on use. No more paying rent for your logo in wasted time and money at the production stages.
- Fast – I’ve worked just about all day, every day, since I was 16. As a result I’ve gotten a bit impatient with inefficient work practices. I work a lot, so I’m streamlined.
- Honest – Slick is great, but is it you? I’m staunchly white-hat in my marketing. I believe that creative communications should connect people who will genuinely benefit from each other. Consequently, I don’t offer people “some creative solution” – I walk with you to help you find YOUR creative solution. I’m also pretty secure with a string of creative victories in my career. I have no problem telling you if I feel I’m not a good fit for your project. I encourage my customers to do the same. Trust me, you get a thick skin when your heart-felt expression of somebody’s best image comes back with, “Have you ever seen the movie Ishtar?” Most professional designers develop a thick skin after a few years. I’ve been in this game for decades. :)
- Human – Despite the name of my business, I don’t really revel in technology. It’s a tool, and a rather imperfect one a lot of the time. I’d much rather empower you to control your own technology. I rely upon my years of executive experience to communicate with you openly, personally, and humbly as we work together to achieve your goals. I make an effort to keep the techno-babble to a minimum while avoiding condescension.
- Authoritative – I’ve been doing creative work for a living for decades, and have been making websites since the beginning. I’ve been with the web for the whole ride. Despite humble beginnings and no formal degree, I’ve taught seminars on my rapid-production illustration techniques to Parisian fashionistas.
- Natural – I’m a bit of a creative expression enthusiast. I’ve studied Munsell color theory, divine proportions, classical art, and practice formal cultural arts such as sumi-e (a Japanese brush and ink style), as well as contemporary painting, pen and ink, watercolor, pencil art, photography, and even several genres of music. I also believe my studies in Aikido help me understand motion, connection, flow and non-contention in communication. I do my best to live deeply in tune with nature, and I hope this is reflected in my art.
- Integrated – I’m familiar with every tier of graphical production, so your website, identity, banner, photoshoot – whatever – is made to be easy to implement and maintain.
- Flexible – The majority of my clients are businesses who come back to me for the ROI that I deliver with my unique recipe for creative solutions. One ingredient here is that I design creative assets to be reusable, scalable, and easily recontexted. I also encourage my customers to be flexible, taking first-run ideas as just that, being open to adjusting course and altering details as necessary. Anyone who believes that your identity is carved in stone, is selling you a dead, static name. Is anything about your company, or life at all, ever set in stone? You company changes, learns, grows, adapts. Your creative materials should be designed to do the same. Just look at the story of Google’s logo over the years. No creative project lives in a vacuum. Nothing we say is immune from consequence. I know how to speak in the visual arts in ways that give you maximum potential for growth and flexibility.
- Reliable – This is a business. Unless I’m in a seminar or on-sight consult, I’m here at my desk, M-F, 9-6. 206 801 0433. I don’t work weekends, as I believe that shows I’m well organized :)
- Un-invested in my own work – This might seem strange to list here, but I believe it’s an important feature for a contract creative resource. I strive to keep my ego out of the process, and keep my mind on your goals, your problems, and your best solution. If I can’t make it work, I have no problem setting up an exit strategy for you and making sure you are taken care of.
- Invested in your well being – Frankly, I should be making a lot more than I do. It’s kind of embarrassing. I’m not a good business person, really, when it comes to client care. By this I mean that I will break the bank to make sure my clients are happy. For example, I’ve got this one client who is still paying me hourly work to do simple text updates. This profits me greatly, but is terribly expensive for them. I am always encouraging them to upgrade their web solution, so they can stop paying outrageous monthly maintenance expenses to me. They seem to be catching on, at last. That’s the kind of guy I am. I can’t stand a dishonest dollar, so I don’t do terribly well as a contractor :) This should tell you what my services are like too…I believe in offering positive paths to outshine your competition with your own best self. I won’t help people “get over on the other guy” – I prefer a “lift everyone up” approach to communication over a “tear everyone else down” style.
- Diverse – I’ll admit that maybe I’m a little too diverse. One client recently asked me for samples of my illustrative abilities, and I sent a 12 page PDF with hundreds of examples, from hand-painted fairy-tale illustration to photo-realistic 3-d modeled product designs. She responded, “I still have no idea what to expect.” It’s true, a lot of artists have one signature style that can be reassuring to buyers, and allows for a lot of refinement. In my career it has been more useful for me to be adaptive. I can do a fair imitation of just about any style of art / photography / music / and maybe even writing. I learned to be flexible in my work at fast-paced, competitive, East coast marketing agencies.