Design to the End

Last night I went to a mansion party in LA. It was grand opening for a cool cannabis brand that has been up and coming for some time.

Cool party. Good weed, good drinks, good music, beautiful people...

There I was, finishing a joint we had sparked at this weed party where there were free lighters, grinders, weed, stash jars and more. As I finished the joint, I began looking for a receptacle for the roach. A garbage can? Nope. Ashtray? Nope. Anything like that for putting the remains of our smoking? Nope.

You see, good design is about thinking things all the way through. What happens in the beginning is important. Where do you get the weed? Where do you get the swag? What materials are they made from? What inks and paints were used? Did everyone in the manufacturing process get a good, livable wage? Very important stuff.

What about the end of a product's life? Where does it go when it has been used? How do we deal with it? Is there a process for that? Do we just sweep it under some proverbial rug and ignore it? We seem to tend to ignore it, as I noted that every good party or festival has the same problem. Not enough bathrooms, garbages or ashtrays. I guess we just don't like to deal with our own shit.

I ended up throwing the roach on the ground, as did the hundreds of other people who were lighting up. I am sure that this morning the cleaning crew became hyper aware of the lack of trashes or ashtrays as they scoured the grounds for roaches and butts. With a little thinking, that job would have been easy and much cheaper and the cleaning money could have been used for something else a little more useful and fun than paying humans tohunt for ground roaches.

So the next time you plan an event, here's a tip. Start at the end. Start with visualizing what happens when all the people are gone and you threw a successful (crowded) event. Visualize the two bathrooms you have for 400 people over the course of 5 hours. Visualize what they look like after 400 people have used them for everything that people at parties use bathrooms for. Visualize where the trash is put when people don't have receptacles nearby as they finish their drink. Visualize the containers you chose for the party or event. Red solo cups? They are everywhere. Cans? Yes you did see a couple in the street on the way back to cleanup. Visualize the thousands of cigarette butts and roaches on the ground.

You get the idea. Solve those problems first and then take care of the fun stuff like the collectible swag and the music and the activation area design... Your party will run better and people will know, even if it's subconscious, that you think about them and care about them very deeply. Isn't that what you want people to think about your brand?

Jesse Barney