Designers < Directors

The recent beta of Apple’s iOS 7 is getting a lot of press, much of it somewhat dubious to downright negative at best. But all the gyrations regarding font weight, color palettes and icon size are missing a much larger point, best explained by iMore’s Rene Ritchie here.

I agree. iOS7 is, one way or another, going to be HUGE. Whether it’s hugely successful or a huge flop remains to be seen, but either way, it marks a fork in the road for any creative:

Are you a designer? Or will you become a director?

In my view, with iOS7, traditional (and even what can now now be referred to as “traditional new media”) designers need to become more like motion picture directors with type, color, and shape being staged like actors who require motivations that are consistent with their character. Anyone who’s ever taken an acting class has heard or asked the question “what’s my motivation?” Looks like apps will now need to be asking it too.

Design needs to make way for motion physics and theatrical character development. Just like how Pixar’s best animators are de facto actors who understand the concepts of motivation and character, iOS7 opens up an entirely new universe for design.

Is your app/user experience spritely, delightful, and capricious in character? Buttoned-down, authoritative and direct? Your audience, the iOS7 user, will need to know—and now you have a completely new set of tools to tell them.

Scary. Exciting. Unproven. High risk. But is the higher risk being left behind?

Can’t wait to find out.

– dp

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