I read a riveting Fast Company Co.Design article about Alexey Brodovitch, the long-term art director for Harper’s Bazaar magazine, the other week. Brodovitch was a pioneer in graphic design who would not be confined by perceived limitations. He was brilliant.
By no means am I a fashionista, or even an art expert… so more than Brodovitch’s accolades and accomplishments, I was captivated by his desire to exceed expectations. In fact, he constantly challenged his colleagues to “Astonish me.” He saw the expected and went beyond that. He wasn’t satisfied with industry standards. Rather than get caught up in the deliverables, he cultivated ‘bold-thinking’ and visioneered something bigger than himself.
The article transitioned to a business-focus where the author spoke on how Brodovitchian thinking has infiltrated his experience with big and small design firms. It’s a fascinating article. Near the end, he continues with what he feels the difference factor is:
What sets famous, successful brands apart from obscure, struggling ones can be reduced to one fundamental value: ambition. Not the Porsche-driving, Rolex-wearing, eighties kind of ambition, but the kind that says, “We are only going to be here for a while, so why don’t we invest everything we do with real meaning? Why don’t we make every communication we put out there a gift? Why don’t we stop waiting for ‘the perfect opportunity’ and make this one as perfect as it can possibly be? Why don’t we stop making excuses for our mediocrity and use our talents and our influence to make this package, this commercial, this poster something special?”
Translating this into our own lives…
1. Be present and engaged with my family. Give them my voice and attention — they deserve it.
2. Are my words kind, affirming, and encouraging?
3. How can I be intentional where I am right now (instead of waiting for the ‘perfect opportunity’)?
4. Live in your gifts.
On top of all this, as believers we have another ‘difference factor’: Christ in us, the hope of glory. We don’t have to rely on our own strength to do any of this. We trust in a God who sustains, loves, and provides at all costs.