[When we’re done scoping out new brands to Onething and putting together the pithy words that make up this humble destination, we eventually have to go back to work. For Jon, that normally means going back in to his inbox, picking up a sketchpad, or launching something from the Adobe suite. For me, most often I return to my Dot Grid Book. It’s a spiral bound notebook filled with “graph paper” constructed by dots instead of lines, and it’s one member of a family of products produced by the Behance Network. The Dot Grid Book was one of the few things that elicited my “Gotta Have It” response from the minute I saw it, and since Onethings are often about creating that very type of moment, surely there is a Onething associated with the brand. But what is it?
The Behance Network describes themselves as “A free platform for the world’s leading creative professionals.” To be clear, the Dot Grid Book is anything but free – you might even say it’s pretty steep at $14 – but it’s a luxury that I happily pay for the privilege to use. The network is essentially a one-stop shop for creative types to showcase their work, connect with others in the profession, and learn about what’s going on in the industry. And all of that is really fine and good, and I can see how those resources would be incredibly valuable for someone trying to break in to a tough industry in a tough economy. But what I’m really interested in is gear – give me something that makes me feel like a designer when I’m staring blankly at a Photoshop file wondering why I’ve chosen a career where I get paid based on coming up with something new, different, and catchy. The Dot Grid Book serves as a great sketch pad, a great to-do list, and a great place to jot down ideas for a branding engagement.
The real Onething of Behance, though, is their ability to understand a very complex crew and deliver goods that are right in line with that tribe’s expectations. Let’s face it: designers are a rare breed, and they (we?) can be incredibly annoying. They have egos the size of mountains, they believe in the voodoo that is “inspiration,” and they’re convinced that everything they do is different because they’re “right-brained.” Behance gets that, and they provide services and products that are for designers, by designers. Every brand in the world has these people, and it’s fairly easy to figure out what they want: find one level-headed person who is your perfect target market and ask them what they want (and for all that is good and holy, don’t put together a committee).
While my Dot Grid Book is really no different from a Mead Composition book that costs a tenth of the price, I don’t care. I want my Dot Grid Book because somehow I have better ideas when I’m writing in it. I want my Dot Grid Book because it understands me and what I need from a pad. And I want it because, subconsciously, I’m raging against the Moleskine, and God knows I’m a contrarian at heart. Damn the man!