Claudia’s Doctrine of Perfection


brown-magnoliaWhen I was working for her (my first real design job* ), my friend and mentor Claudia taught me many things. But the one I probably refer to most often is this:

The definition of perfection changes in relation to the amount of time remaining

before a project is due.

I’ve called on this precept many, many times in this deadline-oriented business of putting out a magazine.

Here’s how it works.

* * * * *

Claudia: Laura, are you about done with those logos for the [insert client name here] presentation?

Me (hesitantly): Um . . . I have some possibilities here but had hoped to get them in better shape before showing them to anybody.

Claudia: Well, [insert client name here] just called. We’re meeting with them in half an hour. So. . .  let me see what you’ve got. [Peruses the logo designs.] . . . Well, would you look at that!  . . . These are perfect!

* * * * *

See? Very efficient, practical, provides a needed deadline, allows one to finish up and move on without looking back (too much, anyway). I use this here at the magazine more than I like to admit, allowing a deadline to inform the idea of being finished.

This sliding-scale definition comes in handy in the magazine business, but you might find it helpful in your own life, as well, kind of a variation on the good-enough parent . . .


Photo: a magnolia blossom I shot in Mississippi last summer. Perfection redefined? (Well, it is perfectly brown!)

*At Claudia Pavel and Associates. (Claudia was Claudia Pavel, and I was Associates.)


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One thought on “Claudia’s Doctrine of Perfection”

  1. I have a “perfect” story for you–I’ll tell you about it today at lunch! And maybe write it up on my blog. I do think that decreeing something “perfect” is like tapping it with a magic wand. It makes it perfect. Or closer to perfect…the power of naming.


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