“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Sir Winston Churchill, an army officer, politician, writer, historian, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945
Optimism is the belief that all will be well, that things will ultimately work out for the best. Some say it is a worldview that sees our universe as essentially positive. Its opposite is pessimism. Optimists believe that people are essentially good and that outcome of events in life will be favorable. (Wikipedia)
Optimism is imagining a better tomorrow, a future superior to the present. You can call it a vision – an image of what we would like to see in the future. How would we imagine it, what would we wish to come true for ourselves next?
You may be surprised to learn that optimism is not an innate, immutable trait. Optimism is a skill that can be developed and perfected. It’s an acquired attribute. We can learn to look at the world through positive lenses. It’s called the science of “Positive Psychology” (I recommend reading Dr. Tal Ben Shahar’s books or listening to Shirley Yuval-Yair). In a word: reality is just the interpretation you give it. What you choose to focus on or pay attention to changes your experience of reality.
So, what’s the connection between optimism and design? Designers are optimists. One of the things ingrained in us designers is the conviction that we will eventually find a solution to any problem presented to us, we will choose the right option for the client, and develop the preferred communication. How can we be so confident? Because we try and try until it works. And in the end, it does work. It’s our job. It’s the magic of design.
Not yet convinced? In behavioral economics there is a phenomenon called “optimism bias.” Displayed by 80% of the population, it means we tend to overestimate the likelihood of a positive outcome and underestimate the likelihood of a negative one.
The portfolio of projects displayed below.
The Optimist – A newspaper we designed and distributed to our clients. It came out during a difficult period, during which we put effort into shifting perspective and seeing the cup as half full (as in the background of my opening column).
The Other Way, a book on changing consciousness. It represents working notes from a journey undertaken by Galit Bar, who is now passing along what she learned with a great deal of optimism, inspirational quotes, and exercises on the way to happiness.