There is a lot of talk these days about ‘Web 2.0’ design. It’s important to note and clarify that ‘Web 2.0’ design isn’t just a graphic style, but a new form of online communication. For instance, it seems that what defines a good logo today seems to be ‘Web 2.0’ style and typography, but perhaps this confuses many internet users and takes away from some of the meaning or a unique and appropriate design.
Some time ago I had the ability to share a desk with a manager of a group of airports, who shared an anecdote with me that inspired this post. This corporate group had organized an architectural competition that was to design a bridge to cross from the airport to the waterfront on the Rio de la Plata, bypassing a busy avenue. The idea was simply to facilitate people to cross this street and the concepts were to be judged by several very distinguished names concerning architecture in Argentina.
At the end of contest, amongst all of the overflowing designs and proposals of various quality and variety, each and every member of the judges panel easily knew and agreed on who was the winner. There was an inescapable uniqueness in the work of the winner that separated his work from the rest. The competitor had designed the bridge, of course, but the bridge was moved up the bank a bit further and ended up several feet into the river, turning into a pier. And that’s why the competitor won, not only because the competitor’s design was merely different, but because it was functional—a mixture of inspiration and intelligence.
However, if the bridge’s pier had been transformed into a huge metal tongue that turned and turned, or interacted with the river’s water, surely it would have been a magnificent piece of art worthy of tourist brochures. It might have been called the “Big Tongue” and maybe one day would be an icon of Buenos Aires, just as the Obelisk or “Caminito.” Yet, few individuals except some risk-lovers have been enjoying this marvel.
To this day neither the bridge nor the pier exist beyond the realm of creative ideas. For this reason, save for the few of us that had the opportunity to be at the table discussing this contest know about this imaginary bridge. Yet, the anecdote that I mentioned illustrates the following point regarding creativity. Everyone looks for creativity each and every day: when we go to work, listen to music, drink a coffee or tea, or debate an issue with friends. This search ‘go a little bit further’ always serves a valuable purpose and solves some the original basic problem.
The moment in time where intelligence and inspiration coincide is always the moment that marks a great idea.