Upon graduation from college a number of years ago, someone handed me a piece of paper that had my name and BFA Industrial Design printed on it in fancy letters. And although that is still the title inked to the business card I carry in my wallet pocket, my understanding of how I fill that role has grown more nuanced with each rising and setting of the sun.
To help explain what I mean, I turn to someone I look up to, who has been a source of inspiration. In Yvon Chouinard, legendary founder of Patagonia's book he talks about how in the practice of Zen archery you focus not on hitting the bulls-eye, but on doing all that is necessary to correctly draw and fire a bow with precision. Make sure your stance is correct. Slowly draw the arrow back while controlling your breathing. It is the sum of the details that make up the process of accurately and gracefully shooting an arrow. If you do all the small things correctly the end result will take care of itself.
It is by this approach that I have found myself growing as a designer and attempting to adhere to. I show up to work in the things I have control over and let the muses drag me forward to those elusive AHA! moments.
In a concrete sense, this essentially amounts to letting a design solution flow out of the hard work of background research, conversations, sketches and other relevant information present at the origin of a design project and really letting it take on a life of it's own.
Then it's just a matter of keeping my attention to detail awareness elevated, while executing the task at hand. Whether the next step in that execution takes the form of a brain dump sketch-a-thon with a colleague, or a solo, coffee fueled Soildworks session of course depends on the project, but the process remains the same and my playing by it's rules has served me well so far.
P.S. If you have stayed on this page long enough to have read up until now, you are probably wondering about the images at the top of the page. They are from my summer 2013 trip up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Shoot me an email if you'd like. I'd love to tell you more about it!
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