Love of Design

Lately, I've been very focused on details.  These details have been consuming my thoughts and they carry with them substantial implications for my future.  But, in the grand scheme of things, they are simply details, and nothing more.

There are two people I have recently had the pleasure of hearing give presentations that reminded me of why I pursued design as not merely a career, but a passion.  This is important to recognize because as amazing and exciting as the creative process is, it cannot achieve its full potential without powering through the often less glamorous execution.  That is where my mind has been.  That is what these designers dragged me from in order to remind me of what truly matters in the profession.

Here's who woke me up.

Craig Mod - Gigaom Roadmap - November 19, 2014

From the nuances of creating the perfect dictionary to George Nakashima's wood furniture to the art installations of Richard Serra, Craig reminded me of the beauty of the craft.  But there was also a challenge.  Make digital products with the same care and attention to detail that are exemplified by the passion of these craftsmen.  Just as Nakashima proclaimed, "Make an object that lives forever," Craig challenges, "Make an app that lives forever."  Upon hearing that, we think to ourselves that it is outrageous with the amount of updates and revisions that are present in the digital space.  But that's exactly the point.  Design should be just as focused on beauty as it is on function, for the two are intertwined.

Biz Stone - Tradecraft Mentor Session - January 19, 2015

Image:  Lydia Davey  - @LM_Davey

Image: Lydia Davey - @LM_Davey

Biz's presentation struck a different chord with me.  I am a fun-loving person who enjoys making people laugh.  However, I've noticed that for some reason, I become very serious in quite an official sort of way when it comes to professional work.  I realized this while I was at Tradecraft and I have been working on striking the right balance between serious and fun.  This was a major theme with Biz and for him, it culminates with the thought, "Showing vulnerability is so powerful."  Why should I be anything other than my most authentic self?  Why should you?

This concept of productive fun was a huge influence for him at Twitter.  In the early days there, they weren't setting out to change the world.  They were working on a goofy hackathon project that evolved.  It is why he says, "If something's fun, a lot of people will use it.  If a lot of people use it, then it can be important."  If we design interactive products that are fun, they will be loved.  And ultimately, it's not the product that is loved, but the experience itself.  According to Biz, people don't love Twitter; they love the experience it provides them.

I love design.  I love the craft and beauty involved with the creative process.  Craig is challenging me to bring that with me into the digital environment.  I am an experience designer.  Biz is challenging me to focus on two things, but not at the same time.  Create something that is fun, something that people will love.  Then make it useful.

John FerriganComment