We are not any smarter than our clients, and they know their business 50 times better than we do. I can’t do my job unless there is a really true partnership that is very honest, intense, and open. We never dress up or have an account guy talking for us—we are the ones talking to the CEO and designing as we talk. That is the layer of connection that we need to have that level of quality and speed. We are firm believers that the highest way to get an idea across is prototyping. All of us are working on becoming better prototypers, because it is everything. You have to touch it and use it and love it.
However I do think there are core, fundamental values if you really want to get into this. Learn your grids; they are everything. It is the language of what we do. The second thing is type. You can’t teach someone typography, because it takes like ten years to get decent with it. And the third thing is prototyping. Focusing on those three things is important, but honestly, the only way to get ahead is if you are working harder than the guy next to you.