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.

1 comment:

Steph said...

Nicely put Steve! So when are we going to brainstorm the next project? :D