Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Duffy & Partners

Duffy & Partners has long been one of my favorite firms. They’ve put out some fantastic work over the years, including one of my all-time favorites, the Knob Creek Whiskey bottle (seen below). I bought a bottle years ago just to put on my shelf, to admire and take inspiration from it. Unfortunately, one night a friend opened the bottle and started pouring drinks from it, not realizing I was keeping it for less practical purposes.

Duffy has a new website which showcases their high-quality work very well. It also gives a good insight into principal Joe Duffy’s M.O., which really sees the client as collaborators in the creative process, from the very start, before pencil has even been put to paper. This is central to my design process as well, so I'm drawn to this company on many levels.

They’ve included some videos on their site too, one of them featuring a few of their clients. I was struck by this comment by Andy Wyatt, CEO of Cornerstone Capital Management:

“We had an idea of what we wanted for our website, and frankly if we would’ve gotten what we wanted, it probably wouldn’t have worked as well. We needed to let go of the reins a little bit and bring in a professional.”

This is the kind of client every designer wants.

Wyatt cut to the core: “Do what you do best, and hire the rest. And let them do it, when you hire them to do it.”

When one is looking for a designer, it behooves one to have this attitude. You may know what you want, but it’s best to hire talented professionals and to let them simply do their jobs. Of course, it’s also best for you to hire a creative team that will collaborate with you, as Duffy does.

But if you had to have your pancreas operated on, you wouldn’t seek out the best medical professional in the field, and then presume to tell him/her how to do his/her job. You’d work with the surgeon to ensure s/he was getting all the relevant information about your medical history, what outcome you were looking for, and what risks you were willing to take.

It’s more useful to recognize expertise in others, invest trust in that expert’s skill, and let them work unfettered to bring your project to the best result in the end.

Whether it’s your pancreas or your new logo.

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