February 15th, 2018

You may or may not be familiar with the ‘Triangle of Truth’ diagram, but there are thousands of versions flying around the internet. Its popularity is a result of its broad relevance to so many professions – a brilliant triangulation of quality control, budget and timekeeping in a frustratingly unachievable holy trinity.

Fast, good, cheap – you can only pick two

There are some industries where you would only need one. For example: If your boiler breaks down in the middle of the night, spraying water all over the kitchen, all you want is a fast plumber. If you are awaiting a delicate surgical procedure, surely all you would desire is a good doctor.

Plumbers and doctors aside, for a design practice like Hatched, this rule couldn’t be more relevant. A large majority of new business conversations revolve around these three cornerstones. Clients want their project cheap, they want it to be brilliant and they want it ASAP. The triangle of truth plays homage to the implausibility of never achieving all three, but rather two sides that always lead to the sacrifice of the third.

Good and cheap will not be fast. (Slow)

A bit like the Megabus from London to Manchester I used to frequent as a student – it’s reliable, dirt cheap but you’re not getting there anytime soon.

For a branding project at Hatched, to be of our normal high-standard and at the low-end of the budget, the client would need to have flexibility in their delivery plan and vital patience. These scenarios are surprisingly common and can often be some of the most exciting projects that can lead to bigger and better things for brand and practice alike.

Fast and good will not be cheap. (Expensive)

There’s a lot of coffee and midnight oil needed to keep an agency working through the night.

Speed and quality are the holy grail for all agencies trying to run as efficiently as possible. But quality can take time. So, sometimes drastic action is required to achieve this goal.

Sometimes, we do work the long nights in order to deliver projects that we can all be proud of. But that costs money. Ploughing hours into the project to hit necessary deadlines for launch or a presentation is sometimes a necessity. Fast moving, high-quality work is exhilarating and highly satisfying to be a part of, but too many jobs like this can be eroding to output. Rest and balance is an essential ingredient for creativity. So a department lacking sleep from too many late nights and malnutrition from eating take-away all week is not conducive to producing high-quality work. Therefore a degree of caution, due-diligence and expense is needed when procuring this form of work.

Cheap and fast will not be good. (Ugly)

It can be cheap and you can have it by the end of the day – but it may be at risk of going the way of a dog’s dinner.

This third option is only going to end in something no one wants to talk about and it really isn’t something we get very excited by. Work that is done fast and on the cheap will never be of the same quality as if there had been more time or greater budget. In our experience, the only time we would happily attempt a job like this would be as a ‘favour’ from an already well-established client, where there is an understanding that sometimes it’s, well, not good. :(

Ever heard the term ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’? Of course, you have. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to have something created to a high standard, done yesterday, for a minimal/no budget. Something always has to give. Aiming for all three is setting yourself up for failure. It’s a hard truth, but the truth none the less (the triangle doesn’t lie).

We’ve found this principle to be a very useful tool to quickly assess, prioritise and commence work on a number of new business opportunities. It allows realism to speak on a level with a creative heart which results in a better transparency of budgets, expectations and timings within a job which ultimately leads to what all business owners desire – a successful, happy business.

Try it for yourselves.