Tuesday, 21 February 2012

the tighter the specification you have, the less it'll be the same...

Sorry for the delay – had car trouble.

It’s another musical one.

Check this out:


and then this out:


The same piece of music (one of my favourites) but performed by different people. There is definitely a difference. Personally, the Chinese sisters are note crisp, technically brilliant and sharp on the Cadenza at the end whereas Sir George Solti and the boys provide a fuller, mature and more emotional delivery...

And it’s here I try an make a point.

Classical music has notes. Strick instructions on what to play, when and how loud. Music notation jumps across language and cultural barriers. So an F major scale played in China sounds EXACTLY the same as an F major scale played in Italy.

Or does it.

My music teach told me a G sharp is played differently than a A flat (they are the same tonic note). It took me a while to understand how or why but in the context of something bright and cheerful and fizzy, a G sharp is part of the positive message. In a piece that’s sad and pensive, the same note revisited with be an A flat and in that context it takes the listener to a new direction.

It’s the same for good design be it product or instructional.

We may lay down instructions that make total sense to us. We may stipulate how something should be said, what should be instructed and some exercises and suggestions to land the points. Some clients insist on the very stories, statistics and punch lines. Yet still the workshop experience is different for all who attend.

When it comes to the built environment, we can stipulate colour, form, shape and design specifications – yet beauty still is in the eye of the beholder.

Our clients’ always want something that they can scale and spread across culture and language etc. They believe that making the instructions as clear as possible that they’ll succeed in doing so. Like a magic marker or a pantone colour – we think it’ll work the same with humans.
But it doesn’t and it won’t. Ever.

In fact, the more specific an instruction you give, the more stimulus you provide for people to be even more creative as it’s those very boundaries that create the framework for people to experiment, express emotion and personal interpretation.

Look no further than personal interpretation of the same two pieces of music.

Mozart would be proud.

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