On Purpose Design

What do Frank Lloyd Wright, Braniff International Airways, and On Purpose Design have in common?

The short answer: User Experience at the heart of what they do.

Frank Lloyd Wright

America's premier architect's working relationship with his clients extended beyond a mere contract to build a house. His homes were designed around the lives and interests of his clients. To promote his view of architecture through his clients, he would create far more than just a building. The furniture, furnishings, table settings, and light fixtures were all designed by him. He created some incredible stained glass windows in which the design pattern reflected some aspect of nature surrounding the site.

On more than one occasion, he designed a formal evening gown for the lady of the house.

Even before the term was coined, Frank Lloyd Wright understood the importance of addressing the entirety of the User Experience for his clients.

Braniff International Airways

In 1965, Braniff International made an unprecedented effort to redesign nearly every aspect of the airline. Alexander Girard was brought in to design a new scheme for the aircraft and air terminals. Did he ever! Within a campaign called "the end of the plain plane", he went beyond that, even so far as designing a new typeface for the airline's logo and official marketing collateral, and the place settings for in-flight meals. Coffee mugs, utensils, paper napkin rings, cocktail stir sticks, airline ticket brochure envelopes, terminal seating, artwork, and tapestries. Emilio Pucci was hired to design uniforms for pilots, flight attendants, and gate staff as well.

As an airline, it is only in recent years that we see such an intense focus on every aspect of the User Experience by airlines. Most still don't get it right. Even back in the 1970s, you could look out the window before your flight backed out from the gate and see, not just several other airplanes nearby in splendid colors, but even the rolling carts that moved the luggage were painted in various colors, consistent with the overall theme. What a ride that was!

Have a look at the TV ad from 1965!

Walt Disney

My personal hero. Though everyone knows of his animation, his movies, and his many other creative endeavors, my personal favorite is his theme parks. Though he only oversaw the original, Disneyland, the real story is that he designed a TEAM to create that wonderful place. The team saw his vision forward to complete Walt Disney World, and later many other parks around the world. Shanghai Disney is under construction right now, in 2013.

The people who worked with Walt personally, remember him fondly. There are fewer of those people left with each passing year. I have a small library of books written about Walt and the Disney theme parks. Consider the magnitude of coordination to run an operation of the scope and size of Disneyland. There are rides, shows, dining establishments, costuming, services, maintenance, and dozens of other considerations in the planning and operation of a park. Yet, Walt was focused on the "touch points" with his guests (not "customers"), and all the little things that would delight and amuse them.

This video only "hints" at the care and attention he put into his parks.

On Purpose Design

As the son of a Braniff pilot in the late 60s and 70s, my memories are filled with a million little details of Braniff - coloring books, crayon packets, styrofoam airplanes, and more.

I studied architecture at Texas A&M University. Every architecture student has heard of Frank Lloyd Wright. I went beyond that and studied him through the whole of his career, read books by his own students, and sought out details about his life, both personal and professional. Though often not a role model as a family man, he understood that architecture was not just about buildings, but the entirety of the environment which he designed for you.

I won't suggest that I'm on the level of these historic greats. But I am always awed and inspired by them.

I strive, in my own work, to keep this all encompassing view in all aspects of my work. My work history is rich, not just with projects, or sites, but with holisitic approaches to first understand the business as a whole enterprise, and then to begin to identify and advise on areas of opportunity. I want to delight customers. The website is a part of that effort, but my focus is always more comprehensive toward overall success. You will hear ideas related to your overall success, sometimes unrelated to the website. I won't try to tell you how to run your business, but I will work with you to help you get more from your business.

Let's get started. My contact information is below.

Q So what do Frank Lloyd Wright, Braniff International Airways, Walt Disney, and On Purpose Design all have in common?
A A committed focus on great user experiences!