Although it was a while ago, a lesson that has stuck with me since school (and has certainly helped me as a designer) was one taught to me by my professors: observe and select.
While walking around a local harbor on a bright, comfortable, late winter’s day, I noticed a number of people with cameras were photographing all around me. They were shooting the harbor, the surrounding trees, the various ducks, and the building: the obvious. None of them bothered with the wonderful patterns that were appearing in the icy waters. I selected the scene above, shot it, and stood and waited to see if others would see it. Sadly enough in the half hour I waited no one bothered to really check out the ice patterns – other then just a glance.
In design, advertising, and marketing today a similar thing is occurring. People are in such a rush to get the job done that they miss the most obvious of things – and if they do see interesting forms and trends, they tend to overlook them and do what everyone else is doing. It seems to have become a rush to mediocrity.