paul skidmore andparabolos

cinematic storytelling, strategy, and advice

design isn’t what something looks like

if a friend told me he’d picked up a rusted, busted refrigerator on the side of the road, took it home, and put all his food in it, i’d worry about him.

”it’s okay,” he’d assure me. “i repainted it.”

even so, i won’t be accepting his invitation to a homemade chicken casserole dinner next week.

and yet, so many people want marketing companies and artists to come in and make their existing stuff “look better”. they want someone creative to paint the outside of what — in some cases — is a bit rusted and busted. some companies just need a little refresh, but most companies — especially small businesses, not to mention churches, ministries, and non-profits in particular — need a real overhaul from the inside out.

i’ve met many people who are doing the best work in the world with such excellence, and have a hard time raising money or attracting help because they simply have trouble communicating with donors, clients, and volunteers.

these hardworking people don’t need a better color or trendier font. they need a distillery, someone who can help them rise above the details of their day-to-day service and clarify their message. a creative that can make something beautiful for them is nice, but a creative who can help them connect with the community around them is really what they need. before letterheads and websites, that starts with vocabulary, understanding, and strategy.

when people debate “intelligent design”, they’re not talking about what the universe looks like, although observation is an enormous part of the discussion to be sure. they’re not even talking about how the universe works, although revelations of science and astrophysics are a crucial component of either position on the issue. the debate, at its core, is about what the universe IS. what’s its purpose? where did it come from? was it made by a “Who”? and if so, who is that, and what implications does that have? what does it all mean? when people talk about “intelligent design”, they’re talking about all of creation at its essence and the implications of it all.

design isn’t what something looks like. design is what something is.

good design will be informed by how something works. great design will inform the user of how it works. take a stereo that has “good” design. you can look at it and see for every function it has, there’s an appropriate button, knob, etc. but a stereo that has “great” design (like the famous Braun models of old), tells you how to use it just by looking at it.

i am more than happy to help someone take a video, print, or web project they have and make it better. but honestly, that’s only kinda fun for me, and usually doesn’t serve them best. what i enjoy most is to talk with people about the passion they have for their mission, the calling they have in ministry, or the love for the people they serve in their non-profit. by getting to the essence, we can usually build something great from the ground up.

i aim to create something want to look at over and over again. if they can’t stop looking at it, then they can’t stop thinking about your mission. and what people think about rises in importance in their minds.

a while ago, i wrote a review of one of my favorite films where i declared, “spectacular Mystery beautifully interrupts.”

the Creation was a spectacular, beautiful, interrupting Mystery. for me, to make spectacularly beautiful things for others is to be close to the One who designed it in the first place.


skidmore | administrator

believer. follower. filmmaker.

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