Cathy shares her secret trick to making it easy to create design that is BOTH strategic and gorgeous. The best of both worlds.
Hey everyone, this is Cathy Olson and a welcome to the Secrets of Gorgeous Design Podcast. I am so, so, so excited about today’s topic because it is something that, oh my gosh, so many people need to hear. Um, and I think that it’s one of those things where people have the ones that have figured this out or not telling anybody else. It’s a very juicy, juicy, juicy topic and introduce juicy secret and I’m probably actually going to get some mean messages, social media saying why did you tell everybody that that’s like our big secret. I swear like this is a big one. Um, so I can’t wait to pull back the curtain and spill the juicy beans with yet. Let’s jump into this episode.
My name is Cathy Olson. I’m part of a group of entrepreneurs who are the founders and creative directors of their businesses who have a discerning eye and a ton of heart. If you ask those get rich quick types, they would say that pretty designed isn’t functional and doesn’t sell. Yet. We are proving everyday that beautiful and thoughtful details do sell and in fact attract unstoppable beauty and wealth. We believe that we can have it all and that sales can be gorgeous. These are the secrets of gorgeous design and we are here to make creativity, lucrative, build gorgeous brands and sales funnels, and to make the world of business a gorgeous place to be.
Let’s start this off by saying that if you have been listening to me at all in the past, gosh, I don’t know, six months at least, um, you kind of know that I really harp on this idea of the design has to be both beautiful and strategic and it can’t be one or the other if it’s just beautiful but not strategic. It’s a wasted money, wasted time, wasted space to be honest. Or if it’s only strategic but it’s ugly, it’s gonna, you know, you’re gonna lose your credibility and you’re gonna basically leave a lot of money on the table. Basically, you’re able to charge as much as you want to. So that’s really, really important to have these two pieces that are in concert that work together. But the problem is, gosh, this is a hard thing to do. It’s actually a really difficult thing to do, to be both gorgeous and strategic and hello, that’s the whole reason I created this podcast, but, um, you know, to share this with people.
But I think the reason it’s so hard is because it is so hard to do and I feel like I cracked the code on why it’s so hard because I struggled with this for so long. So I definitely came from the design world. I have a bachelor of fine arts and design, went to school for it, did the whole thing, the whole college thing. Um, I worked as a professional designer in several places and I, that’s, we really weren’t taught strategy to be totally honest in, in college. It’s all about design principles and the look and the feel and the brand, right? Like what are we actually trying to portray by the brand, but the marketing side and the strategy side is a different profession altogether. Um, and it’s funny because even in college when I, we basically had, we took some advertising classes and took some marketing classes, but they, it’s a, it’s like you kind of went one way or the other and you either, you know, started taking these media classes in these press kind of type classes.
Um, and then you would be either a designer or you would be a media like marketing person and you would sort of like head off on your little Mary Marketing Way and the designer people would head off on their design way and we would never see each other. And that’s exactly how it happened and in college. But I think that even now, right? And so the problem, and I think that the reason we struggle with this is it’s because we’re really left brained and right brained. I think the strategy side, although it definitely takes creativity, it uses a lot of that kind of computation. Figuring things out, putting pieces together, organization. I’m seeing the big picture. It’s just very, it’s very left brained. And I’m going to say that loosely because I know it’s probably not technically love rain because I know it’s creative, but I’m just going to say it’s a certain part of your brain.
I’m just gonna call the left for now. And then of course the design side is very like artistic and very inspirational and very just like moody and just how do we feel about things that will get in touch with our emotions are right. It’s a very right brain and actually it’s kind of masculine and feminine as well. I would say that’s probably why a lot more marketing peeps are, you know, um, male, it’s kind of a male dominated career. And then I wouldn’t say that design is a female dominated career by any stretch of the imagination, but the, you know, the really emotional storytelling, um, you know, just kind of get in touch with like how do we feel right now is, is a, is a very feminine trait. The problem is that you have these kind of two sides of these two pieces and they just kind of don’t speak to each other.
They’re sort of different people and the problem with that is it’s cool. Of course you can have sets of people do this, you know, obviously there’s agencies where people two different people do it, but what I think makes you a killer pike powerhouse and what is so cool about nowadays is if you can do both, you’re just a bad mother. Shut your mouth, like you’re amazing. Um, if you can do both, and that’s where I think the secret sauce is and, and, and the, the awesomeness. And I think that although you can have separate, you know, uh, professions and that you can either be a marketer or a designer. Again, I think that you’re this boom, Shaka Laka powerhouse if you can do both. ZThat is what I want to talk about today and how to do it because I don’t think it’s actually as hard as people think it is.
I think people think that it’s like you’re either good at or not, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think there’s actually a way. Actually, I know that there’s a way that you can do both of these things. But what the secret is is in separating them and doing them separately, because the struggle comes in when you try to do them both at the same time, your brain doesn’t know what, which way is up, which way is down, what are we doing? Are we left branding? Are we right branding? What’s happening? I’m so confused. I’m exhausted. I’m done. Right? I kind of developed this approach over time because I wanted to start charging more and I wanted to do start doing more of the strategy and because I was learning the business side, I thought, gosh, why is this not a bigger part of what I do?
I understand the strategy and I understand this marketing and understand the sales, but why I’m. Why is this not a part of one of my traditional background and what I had learned. I just started melding them together in any way that I could. But I got really exhausted. I discovered this I guess on accident, but basically that I just had for my brain, I had to do these totally separately. And it was because when I was trying to shove them together and do them at the same time, I was just getting exhausted and burned out and I just didn’t want to do it anymore. Then I realized when I separated the task it made it so much easier and actually gave me my brain in that space to breathe and understand and just fully go there. Like if I’m in that left brain sales and marketing brain, just go, just, just, just, just run, running the field of sales and marketing.
Right? And then when I was in that really right brain inspired zone, just like fly and just, you know, get super creative and go for it, right? Because they separated them, I was able to really soar and just fill in those spaces as much as possible. I want to tell you three things that you can do today in order for you to just kill it at both, at the sales and marketing and the design side. And just have this like really cool synergy of the two together. The first thing is that I do my left brain tasks first or left brain, like I said, just loosely, is basically the strategy side. When I do all my planning and my kind of type a’s stuff first and I find that I, if I do that stuff, it’s very kind of methodical and doesn’t take a lot of.
It does take creativity, but it’s easier for me to just kind of go through a checklist of things. It’s just, it’s just very linear, right? When you have your strategy, you can write it all the pieces you’ve got all your life. If you get your sticky notes or something, you know, write everything on sticky notes. You can move stuff around. It’s very modular and you don’t. You can just get started. There’s not, you don’t get like too much in your head when it like when you get to design stuff you can get really in your head and not really sure and it can kind of get designer block and all that stuff. But when you’re doing the very left brain kind of compartmentalizing all the pieces together, it’s easier to just get started. I always start there and also because I’m planning, I’m literally doing the strategy right?
Like I need the strategy and need it laid out before I get to the design or else it just falls flat and it’s, there’s no depth there. That’s the first thing you want to always start off with the left brain tasks and just, it also gives you no excuses to delay or procrastinate because you literally have the pieces right there. You have everything you need to get started. There’s no writer’s block designer’s blog, right? There’s no creative block. You have all the pieces there, you just need to put them together. It’s just like taking all the puzzle pieces, putting them together, working out the strategy. And if you guys have seen my website, like strategy packages that I do with my clients, that’s where this all comes from. We do this whole roadmap and we do a whole state architecture before we even get into any of the design.
We think about who are our clients, what are we trying to say to them? How are we selling to them? How are we different? We’re thinking they’re in the narrative and so that’s what I want you to do. I want you to do all of this left brain planning stuff first. Get a huge like you know, like yeah, just like a blueprint of all the things you’re going to build with and just remove all of that creative, creative, artistic like stuff that’s up for debate. Subjective stuff, right? Just remove it all, do it very black and white skeleton boxes and get that left side brain strategy out there and done. And then once you have that done, you have the building blocks. Now, now all you have to do is your second thing and that’s make it pretty. Now you, once you have all that strategy, you can just switch over to your right brain and do all the amazing, cool and fun design stuff.
And you don’t have to think about any of the strategy at that point because you’ve already thought of it. You already know who your people are, you already know what they like, you already know what your story is, you already know what your angle is, right? And you already know the mood, you already know the field, you know, you know it’s all taken care of, and all of that strategy is all laid out for you and you just get to be creative. You just get to be an artist and it’s so much more fun when you don’t have to think about any of that left brain stuff because you’ve already done that. You’ve already done like the math homework right now. You get to do the fun creative writing side, right? That’s kind of what I think about. And so that is how it makes it much easier.
And then the other thing that I wanted to say, the second thing is switching back and forth, um, when you do it that way, it’s exhausting to your brain. So what’s so cool about separating this is that you’re actually putting your, you’re, you’re using your brain in two separate ways at two different times, but you’re also saving that willpower because when you’re, every time you switch your brain from left to right, left to right, left to right, left to right, it gets exhausting because you’re kind of changing gears. It’s likes, it’s like slam on your brakes and then starting your engine again and you’re like burning all that fuel over and over and over and over again and you’re going to run out of steam much like quicker than you would if you were doing them separately. And it also gives you a fresh perspective because then you get to see it the next day.
Or do you know at basically whenever you picked the project back up again and you get to see it with fresh eyes and so you’re not just going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth are going to be way more. It’s kind of like, like not multitasking, right? It’s Kinda like mono tasking and actually separate, but you’re separating the type of tasks so that you’re doing like tasks with task and then your brain doesn’t get so exhausted and you have more willpower and you’re able to get to get through your project with fresh, a fresh mind and a fresh perspective. And the third thing is the reason that this was a really great way to do it. Um, and something that I would always suggest basically from now on, don’t ever do, don’t ever not do this from now on, um, is because you’re making, you’re making sure it’s strategic.
Because when you take this time to separate these items out, do the strategy and then do the design. You’re making sure the strategy actually gets done, but you’re also making sure that the design is strategic design. So instead of trying to do, be strategic as you’re designing and thinking through all those little pieces, kind of in the back of your mind, you’re actually already have that foundation laid and you can make sure that your design isn’t just pretty. That’s the big thing, right? Because you’ve laid this foundation of strategy ahead of time, now we can really do some fun things. We can just kinda go and just get free and do some awesome stuff that nobody’s ever seen before, but it’s not like crazy stuff that nobody’s ever seen before. Right? It’s going to be stuff that is still strategic. It’s still going to help.
It’s still gonna help sell and it’s still going to move the needle forward because we’ve already done that step. So that’s what makes it really, really important to do these separately because you know it’s done, you know, it’s crossed off the list, you know, it’s going to be awesome and you know, it’s actually going to help either your business or your client’s business move and make more money and do all the things they want to do and actually share their, you’re the genius with the world because you know, there’s that strategy behind it and that it’s not just some shallow design that’s going to fall flat in, you know, next week, right? That it has that low, like really strong foundation. Those are the three reasons you want to separate out your task and how you do this, how you make something street, both strategic and gorgeous is you separate them out, you give your brain that time to reflect and just fully dive in to the left and then fully dive into the right and then kind of come together and it just gives your brain that time to, you know, really reflect and to be separate and actually just do its thing and just mono task right and not to have to, you know, have any excuses not to get started or to have you will help you not get overwhelmed, right?
And it’ll help you have that willpower will have to switch back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and then you’ll make sure that there’s a strong foundation and that it is strategic design so that you can make something super incredible. That’s both strategic and gorgeous. Thanks guys. I hope that was helpful. I appreciate you so much and I’ll see you on the next one.
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