Strategy Will Compensate the Talent

Strategy Over Talent?

“Strategy will compensate the talent.
The talent will never compensate the strategy.”

Interesting quote from Marco Pierre White on the balance of strategy and talent.

Marco is speaking of a chef’s career, but I believe the same observation can be applied to graphic design and branding.

Talent is essential to creating something visually pleasing, but it’s the strength of the strategy that enables graphic design to achieve desired goals.

Not only does strategy define goals and frame the direction, but it also helps maintain budgets, meet deadlines, and clarify responsibilities. It can also—somewhat surprisingly—be the most exciting and creative part of a design project.

There is no need to answer all these questions

I am always disappointed when I meet with potential clients that are unwilling to invest in developing a robust strategy for their branding. The most common reasons I hear are they “don’t have the time,” “don’t have the budget”, or simply feel “there is no need to answer all these questions.”

The designer and client that spend appropriate resources on strategy shine a bright light on potential pitfalls, and illuminate the path to a solution—often providing the elusive ‘a-ha’ moment.

Strategy informs and equips a designer to engage properly in a business exercise, and not just dabble in creating something pretty but potentially ineffective.

All the strategy in the world still requires a talented designer

Translating strategy into something visual, a concrete representation of all the conversations, questions, and research is not easy. It takes talent.

And while talent is essential, it is easily wasted when the graphic designer has little in the way of strategy.

What are your thoughts? Do you embrace the strategic portion of a design project with the same passion as the ‘design’ component?

Kitchen photo ‘Next – Sicily Kitchen Table’ by Edsel L.


  • Rachel says:
    Feb 5 at 04:10

    Great point. I agree on the strategy. The designer must also understand how to communicate to the audience in a visually articulate way in order for the work to be effective.

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