Have you heard the story of green Santa Claus? What if I told you Coca-cola made him red?
Santa Claus is the well-known personification, the big jolly man in the red suit we all love. But before that, Santa has been portrayed in various ways throughout history. Tall, short, gaunt, elfin, intellectual, and even downright frightening.
In 1843, John Leech illustrated Santa in a traditional green loose fitted gown in A Christmas Carol — a novel by Charles Dickens (source). In 1864, Thomas Nast illustrated Santa depicted in various colours such as blue, green and yellow in “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (source, source).
Eventually, in 1931, Haddon Sundblom helped Coca-Cola create a Santa Claus for the company’s Christmas adverts. Sundblom’s established Santa as a warm, jolly happy grandfather-style dressed in red furs. It reflected the brand, captivated the public and advertised globally.
Although it would be unfair to say Coca-Cola invented Santa. But it is no doubt that Coca-cola creates a new truth and dominates our modern red Santa.
We think our mind interprets facts. But actually, our mind creates our own truth.
The truth is more powerful than fact — that’s the fact.
The fact is an established reality (e.g. reindeer can’t fly), while the truth is a feeling of conviction (e.g. Santa Claus’s reindeer can fly). Facts cannot be altered, but the truth can be enhanced or reinvented.
Product Designers use facts (data and insight) to create a better truth (product).
“Data and research are useless without interpretation, vision and imagination.”
I once came up with a new product idea that everyone hated. The concept went against the fact (the data we had at the time). No one was keen to change how our product works or functions for the business. The data said we are doing great with the way we did before.
Yes, data look like facts, and numbers can feel real in a product development world. But data is easy to manipulate — it’s all about how it’s presented.
I insisted on my idea and slowly convinced my PMs with several small design experiments. Eventually, we featured my idea in the apps, resulting in a huge positive impact on many metrics and used by millions of people.
Data and research are useless without interpretation, vision and imagination. Maybe we can’t change the mediocre fact, but we can always initiate a better truth.
Facts do not equal truth; it’s incredible how your mind creates reality.
Product Designers use facts to create a better truth.
Merry Christmas 2021 🎄