The gap


In their book 'Made to stick', Chip and Dan Heath explore the principles of making ideas stick in the mind of your customers, clients, prospects, students etc...

One of the stories is about a teacher trying to teach their students about the rings of Saturn. Of course no one knows exactly what the rings are made of although there are many theories floating around.

In order to make his lesson stick, the authors argue that the main technique used by the teacher is to purposefully create a gap in the knowledge of the students, only to be able to make them curious about the answer. Once the gap is made and the students curious, he simply has to close it by giving them the answer.

This made me wonder. It stroke a chord in relation to what I do, and the idea of creating a gap and then filling it.

If you're a 3D designer (a modern one), one of the main challenges you face when it comes to ideas is how you visualise them. The tools you use are irrelevant. However,  how big a gap you create in the minds of your clients or even your colleagues (if you have any) is a crucial element in relation to your creative solution.


I've observed this process many a times and the one thing I believe makes or breaks a creative solution is the gap. If you only create a sense of what you're thinking (call it a mood), then the gap is too big. Add a simple hand sketch and you reduce the gap. Make a 3D visualisation of it with colours and materials and you close the gap even more. These are all fine approaches but the crucial question is : based on your solution and your knowledge of the client, how much gap do you need in order to be able to successfully close it once your client gets excited about the direction you're taking to the solution. Doing a hyper realistic render with all the details of your solution may be way too much and therefore the gap is non existent. So your solution clearly stands the risk of being rejected because naturally, people (in general) love to be surprised. If they aren't, they're not impressed, no matter how much information you give them.

So this idea of the gap, I believe, is quite important, especially if the goal is to persuade, inform or impress.