Some kind of legacy

I met some of my old work colleagues for a drink the other evening and it was lovely to catch up. They’re all super-focussed on their work and full of office gossip, some of which I can’t really follow because I don’t know who everyone is anymore. It still feels weird not being at work, even though it’s been more than a year since I left, but I’m mostly able to fill my days doing something useful, even if it’s just weeding the garden. I sometimes feel like I’m on holiday and one day I’ll wake up and find that I’ve been ordered to return to the office. That would be terrible!

Although I miss the sense of purpose that goes with having a job, I don’t actually miss the work (except for strategic planning meetings which I love). I think choosing your own projects is a lot more fun than having other people decide how you will spend your days, but I’m not very good with deadlines. When no-one is relying on you to finish a task, it’s very easy to put it off until another day. This is especially true when the task is something boring, but I also find it quite easy to procrastinate about doing things I enjoy, such as writing. It’s inexplicable really.

I’m assured by my work friends that they still mention me at the office (which was gratifying because no-one likes to be forgotten), but I was really interested to know what they remembered. They said it usually starts with, “as Marg would say…” and ends with one of the things I’ve been banging on about for years. It’s nice to think that someone was actually listening! It’s a bit like when your kids say something back to you that makes you realise that despite them pretending they were on another planet, or had cotton wool stuffed in their ears, they were taking it in all the time.

It just goes to prove that key messages do actually stick in people’s minds if you keep them short and repeat them often enough!

So here (in no particular order) are the sayings of Marg…

  1. White space is good Give your words room to breathe. White space makes complicated ideas more approachable and easier to comprehend.
  2. Slides are free, use as many as you like Don’t squash all your information on to one slide (see above).
  3. Simple is not the same as simplistic There’s a vast difference between making something clear and understandable and reducing a concept to a meaningless motherhood statement. The most beautifully designed products are incredibly complicated, but easy to use.
  4. What are you are trying to say? Once you know, you can write it down. Say it as simply as possible. Your readers will thank you.

There’s nothing really new of inspiring here, but I guess it could be worse. I reminded them of my favourite saying from the Best Marigold Hotel.

“Everything will be alright in the end. And if it’s not alright, it’s not the end”.

John Lennon

Do you have any favourite sayings that you’d like to be remembered for?

6 thoughts on “Some kind of legacy

  1. Loved this post Marg. Takes me back to the BAG days. You taught us so much about good presentation design. Even now when I have to sit through an awful presentation with slides jam packed and white text on a light blue background, I think of you and those 4 points and wish everyone followed these simple ‘rules’.

    1. Thanks Lou! Sometimes I wish I was the actual ruler of the world and could make up ‘rules’ that everyone had to follow. 😀

  2. I tell my students that white space is good! The book I used for that design class is called “White Space Is Not Your Enemy.” Lol! I also tell my students, “look it up.” As in, don’t guess on spelling or facts. Just look it up! It’s easier than ever to look things up so I don’t know why they are so resistant to that concept.

    1. I’m familiar with that book, it was a textbook in my design course too. It’s excellent, so thanks for mentioning it. My mum was forever telling us to “look it it up”, it’s an interesting question about why people are resistant to do that. Is it just laziness?

  3. Good 4 points. They’re particularly relevant to slide and document design wnich is usually appalling. Yet these “rules” are common sense and, if applied, make such a difference.

    1. Yes, I continue to see documents and presentations that are a jumble of ideas all squashed onto a page or a slide and I say to myself, a bit of white space would be good.
      But you’re right, it’s just common sense, not magic!

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