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Design 101: Attention to detail

Dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s Nobu restaurant at the six-star One and Only Hotel in Cape Town is always a visual feast and a gastronomic delight.

The food is simply scrumptious  as always. But it is the presentation that makes eating such a pleasure too.

Ramsay makes sure his chefs know what they are doing. And they all stick to the recipes and the presentation – down to the last detail. If not, they will get a mouthful of expletives from Ramsay, of which we know he is never short of.

When you visit the restrooms, you are greeted by a visual feast too!

The toilet doors are plastered with huge artwork that captivate your imagination, making you want to linger a little longer. The attention to detail is impeccable. Here’s a photo taken with my iPhone:


Wouldn’t it be nice if readers lingered just a little longer with every story, every headline, every photo, every caption, every graphic, we publish?

Newspapers, especially designers, ought to take a leave from master chefs like Ramsay.

Creativity and discipline

Starbucks’ boss Howard Schultz has a great piece of advice which I believe applies to newspaper designers and artists.

In an interview with Forbes’ magazine, he says there is a fine balance between creativity and discipline.

At many newspapers, design and graphics discipline often get thrown out the window in the name of creativity. Designers and artists like to think they are giving their creativity full flight when they dabble with all sorts of colours, styles and typography, among other things. Often, these become decorative rather than informative.

Gradually, the design philosophy and principles are thrown out and the paper begins to lose its identity.

So Schultz’ principle of creativity and discipline must work hand in hand.