Category Archives: Art

Music thinking is the radical little brother of design thinking

When talking about services and service design I am convinced that music thinking can add an extra layer to the discussion of what design thinking means and especially how we can bring it to life in branding, communication and design.

“Music thinking is the radical little brother of design thinking”
Christof Zürn

When thinking about design there is the assumption, that at the very end after lot’s of prototyping, testing, etc. there is a final product, that maybe can get some updates later but is ‘ready to use’. When thinking about music (classical, jazz, pop) at the very end there will be a piece of work that has to be performed before the crowd. And after the performance what remains is the recall of an experience. If it is good you want it again, buy a CD, T-shirt or spread the word. If it is bad maybe you will ‘boo’, just turn away or tell it to your friends.
For me music thinking reflects the dynamics of daily business, working together with different experts, have to perform everyday on an high expectation level in different performance venues for an changing audience. Music thinking also knows ‘radical change’ in style, technical innovation and behaviour of the crowd, customer, consumer, user, downloader. Music thinking is the behavioural side of design thinking:

In the project approach that I am using for CREATIVE COMPANION I am thinking about the project approach more as a dance, or dance steps. There is a certain order, there is a certain style, in this case it is a Tango. You don’t dance a tango alone you do it together and you have to rehearse, ‘prototype’ and iterate many times the dance steps together to make it a real experience.

CREATIVE COMPANION project approach with music thinking

Download the
CREATIVE-COMPANION factsheet and project approach (PDF)


Best 10 principles in design, business and more – any suggestions?

Is there any need for rules, principles, commandments? How can guiding principles help you to make better decisions?

I just set up a mindmap with the most inspiring 10 principles that come up my mind when designing or thinking. Some of them have more than 10. For me it is an interesting starting point while doing something, although personally Creative Companion Nr. 10 is the one for me.

It’s a map in progress, have a look, any suggestions?
Best 10 principles in design

Christof Zürn

Download:   CREATIVE COMPANION Fact sheet

Creative Companion Manifesto

I was always fascinated about manifestos and the impact of it. Also the struggle and the discussions if you should follow all the thesis or just pick out a few is a big inspiration. Here is mine, I call it the Creative Companion Manifesto

1. You cannot ‘not brand’.
Everything a brand or person does will add up to its identity.
2. Take the big picture.
Be clear about what you are and what you want.
3. Listen to the people.
Don’t do literally what people say, observe their behaviour and translate it.
4. Get to know all the facts.
There never is too much information, only a lack of focus.
5. Everyone is right.
Many people, many perspectives. They may all be right, but not necessarily relevant.
6. Best idea wins.
The best ideas come from individuals, teams can realize them.
7. Experiment while working.
Try things you have never tried before.
8. You are not alone.
Working in a team is fun and helps to understand multiple perspectives.
9. Stick to the concept.
Along the way there are a lot of temptations, go your own way. If they make sense, adapt them.
10. Think like a musician.
Compose, invent, innovate, orchestrate, prepare, communicate, rehearse, improvise, entertain, listen, play, perform – don’t give a damn.

Christof Zürn

You may also like:
Reformation, Futurist , Bauhaus, Surrealism, Cluetrain, Repair.

Christof Zürn

Download:   CREATIVE COMPANION Fact sheet

Darwin X – Köln, Performance 06 06 2009

Face into your face

Put something into your face, without showing your face. Personal objects, mostly musical instruments, or objects I use for making music or have a personal value. It is the idea to put something into focus while hiding the face behind – however the objects may say more than the face itself.