Our job as communicators ordinarily demands we get to the point. Quick-snap. We’re paid to reward with clarity, supposedly because we possess some kind of second-sight that our commissioners lack (or pretend to. I know most of my clients are way smarter than me.)

Leaving our audiences perplexed or confused? How’s that going to help shift barrels or mint a return? 

But bewildering (which is such a beguiling, magical word), or rather allowing ourselves to be bewildered is really important. You become be-wilded, open to all kinds of new ideas, all the things that your certainly will have dogmatically kept you from. 

Our jobs, across so much media and with so many tools, tech, platforms and spaces in which to begin, figuring out what’s what and which is the new best thing ever is hard. But that’s a good thing, no? I like being bewildered by an unfamiliar API. 

Well, actually, that’s not true. It’s annoying. But that’s the point: when something forces me too actively have to think about it, I’m engaged. 

OK, so there’s a limit to how much annoyance to factor in to anything (there must be a rule of thumb for adding annoying-ness as a feature?) – but being able to discover why something works how it does and then see a new way of doing or using it? 

That’s what makes design such bewilderingly wonderful work.

The image is Jean Tinguely’a Meta Machine, check out that amazing world.

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About Richard Hill

Creative director, writer, designer, illustrator based in the UK with global project experience and consulting skills across sectors.

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