I just watched “The Giver”.

It was a refreshingly good film. I recommend it.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s the basic plot:

In the future, after the world experiences near extinction, the new society is founded on a few immutable principals which ultimately rob the individuals of passion, and sensual experiences including color. Everything is black and white, except for 2 people who can see things differently: in this case, with color.  There are many more layers to this… but for the purposes of this blog post, it’ll do.


It’s this seeing things differently that got me thinking about how designers and visual professionals experience the business world. It’s very similar to being the only person in the room who can see color, while every one else is looking at grayscale.  Grayscale can be lots of things.  Talking points.  Data.  The first paragraph from the press release.  15 stock photos.  Times font.

A good visual designer sees an emotional connection.  Two elements that cause the right kind of tension.  When elements cause the wrong kind of tension.  Sees the flow, and relationship between items on the page.  Tries to see the design through the eyes of the viewer, the targeted audience.

When working with clients in the private sector, we have noticed that non-designers are usually very good at what they do, but they are usually terrible at visual design.  That’s okay.  Not everyone can see color.  It’s especially okay, when the colorblind person is particularly good at his/her job.

Take Away

Be good at being you.  Improve.  By all means, improve.  But you may not be a designer.