Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Design: A Model or A Puzzle?

I used to think of design as a “model” to be assembled. We have parts A, B and C you put them together and “Viola.” But I have come to realize that it is a puzzle with infinite possibilities.

When I started designing in the corporate world I would create all sorts of drawings and designs and than I would be told no it does not fit what we have. We need to use this logo, these colors and this text and fit it in this area so it looks like or goes with this. So I would take the parts and place them in a reasonable semblance that resembled the previous brochure or whatever and move on.

I have realized that this is crap and lets you slide by. NO FUN!

When you look at design as a puzzle with infinite possibilities it opens up a multitude of options. You may have certain elements you have to use and they may need to reflect or build on what has gone before. But those are the edges of the puzzle you have to work in. That is the challenge that makes it fun and interesting.

Let me take you back to Drawing 101. The assignment is for the class to draw a collection of shoes using pencil and a white sheet of paper. Those are the elements; shoes, white paper and the color gray. There are 20 people in the class and each person takes their materials and finds a seat. After two hours of drawing each student hangs their pictures to critic what they have done. The amazing thing is that even though everyone has the same elements no two drawings are the same. The same is true in design you give five designers the same elements and specs you will get five very different designs. Once I realized this the world of possibilities opened up.

The hard part is stepping back at times in the corporate world and seeing other possibilities. That is why collaboration is important. As you come up with a few good designs share them with other designer friends and get their feedback. Their ideas will feed you more ideas and help you become a stronger designer.

So work at design as a puzzle to be solved with infinite ways to solve it not a model that has a set number of parts and only makes one thing.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

First Blog

Well here is the first blog. I sit and ponder what I will write. What foolishness will spring from my fingers. Why am I doing this? Well let's go back a couple weeks to June 10-13, the HOW Design Conference. It was my first designers conference I have been to and it was great. I met many cool designers who have inspired me and I seem to have refreshed my creative flow.

I have challenged myself to do a couple of projects due to the conference and starting a blog was one of them. Why start a blog? Well I figured if I had a good idea I could share it. If I had seen something inspirational I could post it and it might inspire someone else. I thought "A blog would make my brain work in a different way and allow me another creative outlet."

So, here I am doing a brain dump.

Two of the cool people I met at the conference are Steph Doyle and Von Glitschka. Both Steph and Von are very cool and down to earth guys. They had some excellent advice for me as an "in-house" designer and how to deal with some of those issues. Going in I didn't realize Von was "famous." He has written a book called "Crumble. Crackle. Burn." His work has been inspirational to me since I found it. I find it has a quirky fun quality to it and is well executed. Steph has been an encouragement to me as I have been able to email him ideas and thoughts and get good feedback. His work has also been an inspiration. It is clean and well executed in both the idea and concept. Looking at his designs has helped me to step back from the same ol' humdrum at work and try to look at it from a different angle, a new perspective.

Anyway... here is the first blog of many (hopefully) to come. The goal is to update once a week if you start to read my blog and see I'm not doing that email me and remind me. A little accountability keeps us all honest.