Some days back, I was invited to speak at the 2017 Orange Academy Annual Immersion (graduation) Ceremony. After meddling with the thought shelves in my head, I wasn’t satisfied with the topic ideas I had. I went about with thought clouds on my head, trying to pull out something that will be interesting, educative and fresh but all my efforts were like trying to weave my eyebrows; fruitless.

Finally, I found a topic; Perfection.

I used to suffer from this a while ago and I still do, always having that niggling thought that “this is not yet perfect” when I’m done with a task. From what I have observed, many of us do suffer from this actually, especially creatives. Something is always missing.

However, as I have painfully discovered on many occasions, perfection is a mirage. It’s that puddle of water you see in the distance when driving on a tarred express road on an oven-hot afternoon. Yes, you (almost) see it in your mind but it keeps eluding your grasp. The closest we get to it is creating an illusion that it’s there. There are just too many dynamics that bar the existence of perfection. Time, situation, effort, resources and other factors.

Using Lagos as a point of reference, we are well aware of the fact that the word ‘calm’ will be hard to truly associate with it. More like ‘chaos’ will do. Interestingly though, in this seeming chaos lies an order that is observed in the daily workings of the activity in the state. A typical Danfo driver knows which roads to take when he has an expired license, people living on the mainland and working on the island know the best times to move and with kids, not just in Lagos but in some major cities as far as Sao Paolo, without a football pitch they still find a way to have great fun playing football. All these points to the fact that Lagos people try to make the best use of what they have got, so should we as creatives. In the chaos of the design demands, rejections, wants and needs of our sphere, we should look for a pattern, an order that will help in making the best use of what we have to create the best that will work for our clients. Often times, this is presented in form of culture, “our own way”.

There are times though when we are fully immersed in the process and it seems everything is just a horror of activities with no direction. That’s when there’s the danger of losing focus and getting frustrated comes in. Right then is the cue for us to step back and reassess the situation. Be a drone and take an aerial view of all that’s going on. This will help in affirming how far in the journey to the goal we’ve travelled. Take this old shot of Tejuosho for instance, when you look at the picture closely, you see a pattern, a kind of order. But if you’re within the place in the picture, you’ll definitely not see that.


Yaba, Lagos. Credit: GettyImages


Much as we seek that order in our chaos, we mustn’t create that for our clients. What we create must be simple enough to be used with ease. In a provision store as packed as one of those in Dosunmu, the trader always knows where to search whenever you ask for an item. This ease of access should also be a point of note when designing for clients. This can be done with the use of landmarks or references that’ll enable a better user experience.

Even with all these, there’ll still be some frustrating challenges that will make you want to hit your head or another’s head on a keypad. At such times, what happens? Do you get knocked out or bounce back and give all you’ve got?

-by Kayode Olowu