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5 Rules Designers Can Learn From Watching True Detective

Last Updated: May 27, 2014 12:07PM EDT

After covering how HBO packed enough expressive design into their True Detective intro to essentially foreshadow the entire season (right up until Rust’s final light-and-dark monologue), there still remains a wealth of design advice to be gleaned from watching the actual season and not just its ninety-second intro.
 

Here, then, is a designer’s takeaway from episodes one through eight of True Detective, season one:


1. Take Great Notes

Detective Rust Cohle (played by Matthew McConaughey) carries a full-size ledger in contrast to the much smaller notebooks belonging to his peers. Why? Because, he explains, “you never know what the thing is gonna be, do you?”

For Rust, that thing is recorded evidence; for designers, it’s everything from fleeting ideas to client likes and dislikes.

The truth is active listening and note taking are as important in serving clients as they are in serving and protecting. Relying on memory alone might work when you have only a handful of design clients each funding one-off projects, but a lot of information is going to get lost by these means once you start attracting clients by the dozen and becoming a go-to source for their every design need.

Are your meeting notes thorough enough to pull up that graphic idea you and Joe Design-Client discussed six months ago? If not, you might have lost an opportunity.

Not to play favorites, Rust’s partner (Woody Harrelson as Detective Marty Hart) also keeps great notes: seven years later, he still has his old case files to supplement those the department (allegedly) lost in the flood.

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