Branding and Design with a Growth Mindset

Approaching branding and design with a growth mindset for the multifamily industry

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A lead product designer gave a talk at Design Week a couple of years ago, challenging attendees to design with a growth mindset. As lifelong learners ourselves, that concept really spoke to us.

He distilled what it means to have a growth mindset in this blog, saying:

“In a nutshell, it’s jargon for believing that knowledge and expertise are learned and earned, as opposed to being limited by one’s ‘natural’ talent.

Talent is a thing, for sure, but without hard work and practice, talent won’t amount to much. More important, talent can give you a leg up, sometimes, but you can’t reach your highest potential without hard work and practice. And that
potential is, in many cases, only limited by your imagination and motivation.”―D. Keith Robinson

He went on to outline a three-step process for working with a growth mindset, and we’d like to extrapolate on that in the context of the design work we do for the multifamily industry:

1. Adopt a Beginner’s Mind.

Those familiar with meditation, yoga or Buddhist traditions will recognize this phrase. A beginner’s mind allows even seasoned experts to explore something familiar, or even rote, to find its nuances or to learn something new. When a yogi practices a basic, beginner pose, she doesn’t rush through it to get to the more difficult poses. Rather, the yogi takes her time in each pose; breathing, noticing and learning from it.

In design, or in any other profession, a beginner’s mind can open up a whole new perspective on a project or a problem. In design, each time we work with a color, shape, texture or any other element, we approach it as brand new. For each project, these elements combine to tell an entirely new story.

Along the way, we invite our clients to view their brands and marketing with fresh eyes. We help them see that they don’t need to limit themselves by the past and by the brand’s history.

With a beginner’s mind, and a growth mindset, both our clients and our design team can find a new way to tell a brand story. That new approach can also lead to business growth for the client, but it takes a willingness to let go of the old and embrace something new.

2. Deliberate Practice.

Robinson points out that practice is not about repetition and perfection. It’s about uncovering weak points, or previously unexplored approaches or techniques, and working to develop those areas.

For us, and for most skilled professionals, that means applying the lessons we have learned over the course of many years – but not in a one-size-fits-all manner. Rather, we adapt our knowledge and our skills to fit each particular project goal and each client’s needs. As the project unfolds, we also modify and adapt as needed.

Again, it’s about having a growth mindset vs. a fixed one: We know the best practices and how to use them, but we also know when to break the rules and when to attack a challenge in an unconventional way.

3. Feedback and Adaptation.

Top athletes have coaches. Professional musicians have conductors. Designers have our clients.

We don’t learn and grow in a vacuum. We need input from outside sources, and other people, to perfect our skills. Even the most senior professional has something to learn from the people around him, and asking for input and feedback is an essential part of any successful project.

In design, that feedback process often leads to wildly creative results that we haven’t seen before. That’s when things get really exciting. We encourage our clients to develop a “brand personality,” and that personality sings in those moments of creative breakthrough.

In the next few blog posts, we will further explore the idea of growth mindset in the context of the multifamily industry. Stay tuned.

If you need help developing a multifamily brand personality, contact us. We can help you move out of a fixed mindset to help your brand grow and evolve.