Sabaa Quao came to speak to us about the changing landscape of marketing and web design. He is the co-founder and President of /newsrooms, a company that started in 2012 and since grew into a network that builds continuous content marketing and social media coverage for brands like TD Bank, KPMG, Citrix, Audi, and more. The most important lesson I took away from Sabaa’s talk was that we shouldn’t get too comfortable with the technology we’re using today because it will soon change. Adobe CS6 will evolve into a new version, as will all our other programs and devices. The question is, will we keep up with the change?
Sabaa has a wealth of knowledge — I say this because he has degrees in Communication and Design from OCAD, a B.Comm in Marketing from Concordia, and an Executive MBA from Rotman School of Management from U of T (what a mouthful!). Sabaa spoke about origin stories and the importance of knowing yours so that it’s easier to understand what you might do next. Reflecting on this thought, I’ve realized why I have an affinity to things related to the environment, nature and animals — not that I consider myself an enviro/eco activist of any sort. Although I was born in Canada, I was raised in a farm in the Philippines. I was surrounded by nature growing up, and it is always inspiring to me. However, I wonder why I have a deathly fear of insects when they were a huge presence in my childhood. Anyway, I digress.
/newsrooms creates content in real-time, and at live events for brands that need continuous marketing everyday. Most importantly, they generate conversations.
MARKETING AND DESIGN IS ALWAYS CHANGING
Sabaa made a statement that sticks out in my mind: “The probability that marketing and design will continue in its current form is zero.” As with technology, marketing and design evolve at rapid rates, and we as designers are always scrambling to catch up. The CD ROM industry is disappearing, as did its predecessor, the floppy disc industry (can’t say I miss it). Creative companies have to keep afloat by keeping up to date with new technologies and trends. Don’t get comfortable because the minute you do, the technology will be way ahead of you.
In the future, the CD-ROM will be a relic of the past.
A “ME TOO” STRATEGY WILL ALMOST ALWAYS FAIL
Copying others and remaining complacent will almost always fail in the design industry, not to mention it’s very limiting. Highlight what you do differently than everyone else so that people will recognize your unique skills and go to you for help. You’ll begin to see that you’ll collaborate with the same ten people. Personally, I found this to be true because I’ve begun to see it happen in my design classes. I know which of my peers to turn to for coding help, and who to turn to for strong opinions on logo designs. Likewise I’m asked for advice on designs. I’m glad we’re all helping each other out.
RESPONSIVE DESIGN ISN’T EVERYTHING
Don’t let the technology control or define you. Everything we use and have right now is temporary.
It’s no surprise that mobile use is surpassing that of desktop use. Sabaa mentioned that in India, mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop internet usage, and this trend is occurring in other parts of the world. As such, companies are making responsive design a necessary part of their industry. I would argue that although it is necessary, I wouldn’t make it the number one priority. We have to remember that even responsive design will change; it’s just a workaround that is supplementary to other forms of design. I don’t think we should jump-ship on designing for desktops just yet.
• Be on top of the latest tech and design trends
• Know yourself and understand why and how you make decisions
• Don’t depend too much on any one technology as it will change and evolve, or may become out of date
• Creativity is a balancing act; it’s nothing without discipline. Like gold and diamonds, it must be refined and polished.
• Winning and losing is a part of life, we just have to be mature enough to know when to take our losses and move on.
Follow Sabaa on twitter @xsabaa!
See ya next time,