Mr. Lawrence J. Schau, Jr

Member Type Non-member
  • Lawrence Schau commented on the article "What’s Equal Pay Day and how do we make it a reality?"

    If you truly want to change the behavioral patterns and mindset around the value of design and designers, you will need to elevate your strategic thinking and assessment beyond women. While statistically, and unfortunately, the gap in gender pay may exist, that is merely an effect of the cause, which is the devaluation of design within most industries. It is my contention that in order to truly impact this epidemic, we must reposition and redefine, What a designer is?, and, How design fits in the overall structure of business and society? What I've learned after nearly a decade is the common perception surrounding design as it pertains to business, is that design is a necessity that should be acquired at the lowest possible cost. When we think about how businesses go about hiring lawyers or accountants however, they often spare no expense at hiring top tier firms or individuals at a premium cost, regardless of gender. This identifies a significant disconnect between businesses and organizations not understanding the value of design or a designer. Fundamentally, design is not thought about as a vital function within the typical business structure. This is reflected by a vast number of poorly executed brands you see throughout various markets and industries. Our goal as a collective should focus on two areas: 1. EDUCATION. Every designer should be mandated to take courses in business management, business strategy and psychology. Why? In today's world, businesses are looking to become more strategic from a financial, communication and brand perspective. As creatives, we too must understand that is not enough for designers to enter the business world with an in-depth understanding of the Adobe Creative Suite. In order for us to change the mindset of what a designer is, we must bring comprehensive ideas to any organization that balance business strategy and an understanding of human/consumer behavior. Complimenting our creative capabilities with a diverse business understanding will dramatically shift the manner in which design and designers are viewed, understood, approached and integrated into business discussions. 2. STOP DEFINING DESIGN AS A CRAFT. Some will argue this is semantics, however, design is not a "craft". A craft by definition is, an activity that involves making something in a skillful way by using your hands. This definition dilutes the true value of design. While design to an extent requires us to make something using our hands...design is so much more. Design is a discipline, one that is rooted in understanding and distilling complex challenges into simplified, elegant and concise creative solutions. It directly correlates to some of the most critical aspects of business (i.e.branding, marketing, communications, digital media, user experiences/interactions, product design, etc.) The cohesive experiences we create have an ability to connect consumers with engaging and valuable experiences, that augment a businesses reach, impact and subsequently, the human experience. This requires in-depth levels of research, understanding, strategic thinking and strategic development. I've far too often seen many younger and seasoned designers look through the very narrow prism of how attractive a design looks. While execution is very important, what a design communicates, who it resonates and connects with and how it fits into an overall business strategy is significantly more important than how beautiful a design looks. This puts us at a very important juncture. The onus is on us to redefine and re-establish our value within our society as designers. I am confident that these two areas of focus play a significant role around the redefining of what a designer is and the impact we can have on both businesses and our society. Shifting the focus on and raising the overall value of design from a holistic standpoint, should address the gender pay gap as well. If the value of design, and a designer is clearly defined, businesses and organizations would be hard pressed to express how gender would have any implication on getting the best ideas, from the best designers, to move their businesses and brands forward.

  • Lawrence Schau commented on the article "What we heard: your voice on AIGA's future"

    This is such an opportune time for us to collectively move the needle forward in elevating and communicating the value which both our industry and designers had, have and will continue to have on business, society, and the overall quality of life. However, there seems to be a disconnect between the board and the members, which I believe is creating much frustration. I am convinced a systemic reason for this is, the board has not, at least in my view, given a core objective and goal that their strategy will support, and ultimately look to achieve. Things have been very generalized, and vague up to this point. An achievable list of tasks is a nice to have, however, if the strategy doesn’t augment and achieve a unified objective that benefits the industry, it is nothing more than a task list that needs exorbitant funding. With no clear objective, I fear this very discussion regarding our industries future will be had, once again, in the next 5-10 years. In my view, the way for us to be most effective is to begin to understand and gather data regarding the challenges our industry is facing, specifically as we are experiencing the vicissitudes of our economy, and with rare exception, the low value businesses are placing on the industry of design. Once completed, it should be communicated to the members. From there, we should tier (primary, secondary, tertiary), the challenges we face as an industry, in order to figure out what’s realistic and achievable in the immediate and long term future. Once completed, it should be communicated to the members. This would give us the framework to build a comprehensive strategy that addresses, solves, and positively augments those challenges in a responsible, efficient and disciplined manner. Once completed, it should be communicated to the members. This pattern is not meant to be obnoxious, rather to showcase that a collaborative approach would maintain a unified understanding that ensures everyone is current on what is going on, while giving an opportunity to contribute their opinions and feedback throughout the strategic development process. It subsequently allows the board to remain more nimble and agile where adjustments that need to be made, don't necessarily mean going back to the drawing board. In my opinion, there are too many segments to the boards proposed strategy, and far too many things to get done, in particular the selling of the AIGA headquarters, which in itself requires its own strategy, and process to sell, move, and reset an entire operation within a smaller space. If we are to elevate the quality and value of the design industry, and design itself, then we must exemplify patience, focus and diligence in order to ensure things are done with maximum impact. Further, if the history of failed business can teach us anything, it's that organizations looking to get involved in doing too much, without a clear objective often begin to take a downward turn. I would hate to see that happen here. I am finalizing a thesis entitled “The Relevancy of Design” that I will look to share on Monday or Tuesday of next week, after I it submit it to the AIGA. I hope everyone will partake in sharing their views on what I believe needs to be our focus in elevating, educating and communicating our presence, and value, so that we, and those who succeed us, may flourish in this wonderful industry. Thank you and I truly appreciate the AIGA and our wonderful industry.

  • Lawrence Schau commented on the article "The UC logo controversy: How 54,000 people, the mainstream press and virtually every designer got it wrong"

    Clearly you did not read issue 1 thoroughly. Paragraph two of "Issue1" states clearly that design must, with emphasis on the MUST I might add, always be explained because of the intricacies and intimacies of its process. My issue... to clarify again, comes with the teaching that "Good design does not have to be explained", hence why its an "Issue". Hope that clears things up for you. Thank you for your response and your attempt to insult me.

  • Lawrence Schau commented on the article "The UC logo controversy: How 54,000 people, the mainstream press and virtually every designer got it wrong"

    There are several issues I find with both this rebrand and explanation and in my opinion its a much larger conversation of our approach and what we are taught as designers.  Issue One:  Good Design Doesn’t Have to be Explained As designers, we are often taught that if good design has to be explained, then it probably is not working.  This is a key example that exemplifies a design that is, as a stand alone design, cohesive, bright vibrant and well done, and yet it simply does not resonate because its presentation and context were not understood.  Perhaps we should change this teaching about categorizing what good design is. Design happens on such in-depth, complicated and intimate levels that it MUST be presented and explained with the same delicacy and detail to all who are going to experience it in some form or another. Issue Two: Practically Redeveloping a Brand When redeveloping a brand it is important that all designers keep some resonance to its legacy and elements that specific demographics affiliate with. This is extremely important because this showcases a more seamless transition from the old to the new.  Paul Rand once said, “a logo does not sell, it identifies” and  “When form predominates, meaning is blunted” He was keen on good design solving for a purpose while remaining functional. When assessing these two brands side by side, there is truly no correlation in design element, approach and or style. Although both are attractive, their stark contrast is a visual indication of the old essentially meeting the new. In addition, the form of the new logo seems to predominate without any real meaning or correlation to the values, prestige or history of the UC. If you applied the seal to any of the updated/rebranded collateral it would not compliment but rather stick out like a sore thumb in this approach. This is not a critique of the design itself, rather using this proposed rebrand as an assessment tool of ways to develop successful re-brands from a foundational level. Of course it is my mere opinion. Developing a cohesive branding approach must be succinct and not simply modern and for the sake of modern. I feel this is a detrimental trap that many designers fall into at the expense of hoping they are recognized in our industry. Issue Three: Respect for Designers and our Community This is a clear indication that in all our amazing history and all the good we have done the world, there remains an immediate and evident need to educate and showcase our value to the general public, businesses and the design community. Perhaps the AIGA Business and Ethics should be promoted in a stronger sense to the business community, general public and corporate America, and not so much to the members of the AIGA (Just a side thought) The design community itself and all critics, must stop acting as if their opinion, or criticism is higher than someone else’s. As designers of ANY level, its always easy to be negative and tear apart someone’s work, again at the expense of recognition. Bear in mind that we ALL remain a student to this ever changing profession, and our benefit as a commuity comes from positive input to make something more meaningful. Always believe in your ideas for the convictions of a designer are what make a design more meaningful. There is no WRONG in design, actually remove it from your vocabulary because there is only making a design approach better. Even after you are finished with a design, you yourself will look back, critique and find ways to improve upon it. You can conclude that design is merely a continuing evolution of ideas. The most important job of a designer is being able to understand their clients visions, and obstacles. You want to make ensure that what you conceptualize and design communicates in an impactful, strategic and compelling way. Most of all you want to ensure it solves for the problem at hand. It is not easy and cool colors, graphics and forms are only the surface of this process. Think psychologically, think in terms of senses, strategy, perception, language, feelings and emotion. If you do that, establish your position and concept a strategy and design that is informed by and resolves your clients problems in all applications, all negative critiques will become mere opinion.

  • Lawrence Schau commented on the article "What’s Equal Pay Day and how do we make it a reality?"

    If you truly want to change the behavioral patterns and mindset around the value of design and designers, you will need to elevate your strategic thinking and assessment beyond women. While statistically, and unfortunately, the gap in gender pay may exist, that is merely an effect of the cause, which is the devaluation of design within most industries. It is my contention that in order to truly impact this epidemic, we must reposition and redefine, What a designer is?, and, How design fits in the overall structure of business and society? What I've learned after nearly a decade is the common perception surrounding design as it pertains to business, is that design is a necessity that should be acquired at the lowest possible cost. When we think about how businesses go about hiring lawyers or accountants however, they often spare no expense at hiring top tier firms or individuals at a premium cost, regardless of gender. This identifies a significant disconnect between businesses and organizations not understanding the value of design or a designer. Fundamentally, design is not thought about as a vital function within the typical business structure. This is reflected by a vast number of poorly executed brands you see throughout various markets and industries. Our goal as a collective should focus on two areas: 1. EDUCATION. Every designer should be mandated to take courses in business management, business strategy and psychology. Why? In today's world, businesses are looking to become more strategic from a financial, communication and brand perspective. As creatives, we too must understand that is not enough for designers to enter the business world with an in-depth understanding of the Adobe Creative Suite. In order for us to change the mindset of what a designer is, we must bring comprehensive ideas to any organization that balance business strategy and an understanding of human/consumer behavior. Complimenting our creative capabilities with a diverse business understanding will dramatically shift the manner in which design and designers are viewed, understood, approached and integrated into business discussions. 2. STOP DEFINING DESIGN AS A CRAFT. Some will argue this is semantics, however, design is not a "craft". A craft by definition is, an activity that involves making something in a skillful way by using your hands. This definition dilutes the true value of design. While design to an extent requires us to make something using our hands...design is so much more. Design is a discipline, one that is rooted in understanding and distilling complex challenges into simplified, elegant and concise creative solutions. It directly correlates to some of the most critical aspects of business (i.e.branding, marketing, communications, digital media, user experiences/interactions, product design, etc.) The cohesive experiences we create have an ability to connect consumers with engaging and valuable experiences, that augment a businesses reach, impact and subsequently, the human experience. This requires in-depth levels of research, understanding, strategic thinking and strategic development. I've far too often seen many younger and seasoned designers look through the very narrow prism of how attractive a design looks. While execution is very important, what a design communicates, who it resonates and connects with and how it fits into an overall business strategy is significantly more important than how beautiful a design looks. This puts us at a very important juncture. The onus is on us to redefine and re-establish our value within our society as designers. I am confident that these two areas of focus play a significant role around the redefining of what a designer is and the impact we can have on both businesses and our society. Shifting the focus on and raising the overall value of design from a holistic standpoint, should address the gender pay gap as well. If the value of design, and a designer is clearly defined, businesses and organizations would be hard pressed to express how gender would have any implication on getting the best ideas, from the best designers, to move their businesses and brands forward.

  • Lawrence Schau commented on the article "What we heard: your voice on AIGA's future"

    This is such an opportune time for us to collectively move the needle forward in elevating and communicating the value which both our industry and designers had, have and will continue to have on business, society, and the overall quality of life. However, there seems to be a disconnect between the board and the members, which I believe is creating much frustration. I am convinced a systemic reason for this is, the board has not, at least in my view, given a core objective and goal that their strategy will support, and ultimately look to achieve. Things have been very generalized, and vague up to this point. An achievable list of tasks is a nice to have, however, if the strategy doesn’t augment and achieve a unified objective that benefits the industry, it is nothing more than a task list that needs exorbitant funding. With no clear objective, I fear this very discussion regarding our industries future will be had, once again, in the next 5-10 years. In my view, the way for us to be most effective is to begin to understand and gather data regarding the challenges our industry is facing, specifically as we are experiencing the vicissitudes of our economy, and with rare exception, the low value businesses are placing on the industry of design. Once completed, it should be communicated to the members. From there, we should tier (primary, secondary, tertiary), the challenges we face as an industry, in order to figure out what’s realistic and achievable in the immediate and long term future. Once completed, it should be communicated to the members. This would give us the framework to build a comprehensive strategy that addresses, solves, and positively augments those challenges in a responsible, efficient and disciplined manner. Once completed, it should be communicated to the members. This pattern is not meant to be obnoxious, rather to showcase that a collaborative approach would maintain a unified understanding that ensures everyone is current on what is going on, while giving an opportunity to contribute their opinions and feedback throughout the strategic development process. It subsequently allows the board to remain more nimble and agile where adjustments that need to be made, don't necessarily mean going back to the drawing board. In my opinion, there are too many segments to the boards proposed strategy, and far too many things to get done, in particular the selling of the AIGA headquarters, which in itself requires its own strategy, and process to sell, move, and reset an entire operation within a smaller space. If we are to elevate the quality and value of the design industry, and design itself, then we must exemplify patience, focus and diligence in order to ensure things are done with maximum impact. Further, if the history of failed business can teach us anything, it's that organizations looking to get involved in doing too much, without a clear objective often begin to take a downward turn. I would hate to see that happen here. I am finalizing a thesis entitled “The Relevancy of Design” that I will look to share on Monday or Tuesday of next week, after I it submit it to the AIGA. I hope everyone will partake in sharing their views on what I believe needs to be our focus in elevating, educating and communicating our presence, and value, so that we, and those who succeed us, may flourish in this wonderful industry. Thank you and I truly appreciate the AIGA and our wonderful industry.

  • Lawrence Schau commented on the article "The UC logo controversy: How 54,000 people, the mainstream press and virtually every designer got it wrong"

    Clearly you did not read issue 1 thoroughly. Paragraph two of "Issue1" states clearly that design must, with emphasis on the MUST I might add, always be explained because of the intricacies and intimacies of its process. My issue... to clarify again, comes with the teaching that "Good design does not have to be explained", hence why its an "Issue". Hope that clears things up for you. Thank you for your response and your attempt to insult me.

  • Lawrence Schau commented on the article "The UC logo controversy: How 54,000 people, the mainstream press and virtually every designer got it wrong"

    There are several issues I find with both this rebrand and explanation and in my opinion its a much larger conversation of our approach and what we are taught as designers.  Issue One:  Good Design Doesn’t Have to be Explained As designers, we are often taught that if good design has to be explained, then it probably is not working.  This is a key example that exemplifies a design that is, as a stand alone design, cohesive, bright vibrant and well done, and yet it simply does not resonate because its presentation and context were not understood.  Perhaps we should change this teaching about categorizing what good design is. Design happens on such in-depth, complicated and intimate levels that it MUST be presented and explained with the same delicacy and detail to all who are going to experience it in some form or another. Issue Two: Practically Redeveloping a Brand When redeveloping a brand it is important that all designers keep some resonance to its legacy and elements that specific demographics affiliate with. This is extremely important because this showcases a more seamless transition from the old to the new.  Paul Rand once said, “a logo does not sell, it identifies” and  “When form predominates, meaning is blunted” He was keen on good design solving for a purpose while remaining functional. When assessing these two brands side by side, there is truly no correlation in design element, approach and or style. Although both are attractive, their stark contrast is a visual indication of the old essentially meeting the new. In addition, the form of the new logo seems to predominate without any real meaning or correlation to the values, prestige or history of the UC. If you applied the seal to any of the updated/rebranded collateral it would not compliment but rather stick out like a sore thumb in this approach. This is not a critique of the design itself, rather using this proposed rebrand as an assessment tool of ways to develop successful re-brands from a foundational level. Of course it is my mere opinion. Developing a cohesive branding approach must be succinct and not simply modern and for the sake of modern. I feel this is a detrimental trap that many designers fall into at the expense of hoping they are recognized in our industry. Issue Three: Respect for Designers and our Community This is a clear indication that in all our amazing history and all the good we have done the world, there remains an immediate and evident need to educate and showcase our value to the general public, businesses and the design community. Perhaps the AIGA Business and Ethics should be promoted in a stronger sense to the business community, general public and corporate America, and not so much to the members of the AIGA (Just a side thought) The design community itself and all critics, must stop acting as if their opinion, or criticism is higher than someone else’s. As designers of ANY level, its always easy to be negative and tear apart someone’s work, again at the expense of recognition. Bear in mind that we ALL remain a student to this ever changing profession, and our benefit as a commuity comes from positive input to make something more meaningful. Always believe in your ideas for the convictions of a designer are what make a design more meaningful. There is no WRONG in design, actually remove it from your vocabulary because there is only making a design approach better. Even after you are finished with a design, you yourself will look back, critique and find ways to improve upon it. You can conclude that design is merely a continuing evolution of ideas. The most important job of a designer is being able to understand their clients visions, and obstacles. You want to make ensure that what you conceptualize and design communicates in an impactful, strategic and compelling way. Most of all you want to ensure it solves for the problem at hand. It is not easy and cool colors, graphics and forms are only the surface of this process. Think psychologically, think in terms of senses, strategy, perception, language, feelings and emotion. If you do that, establish your position and concept a strategy and design that is informed by and resolves your clients problems in all applications, all negative critiques will become mere opinion.

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