~4 years after deciding to go back to school and study design, I find myself in possession of a rather fancy diploma from Carnegie Mellon for the study of Master of Science in Tangible Interaction Design.
Right now, I couldn’t tell you what that actually means. I need to wander off and do some “reflection on doing”, as the Eindhoven gang says. I’ll be wandering to Tokyo first, then back to the bay area to put in time for my employer that gave me an unpaid leave to get my degree, then, actually, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing.
If my employer and I can agree on something I can do for them using my newly-learned skills, then great. I’ve been there ~8 years and have a lot of wonderful relationships and memories that I’d hate to walk away from. On the other hand, maybe what I want to do isn’t something I can do for someone else, or isn’t something I can easily do at a public company smaller than Nokia or Microsoft or Apple.
Thus the “reflection on doing”. I just did ~4 years of design learning, and I need to think about what it means and where I want to go.
However, I’ve decided one thing already: I’m not a “foo designer”. I’m a “designer”. I’m not an “interaction designer” or an “user experience designer” or an “industrial designer” or a “whatever designer”. One of the most important things I learned in these recent years is that it’s all design. Architecture is design, industrial design is design, graphic design is design, typography is design, service design is design, etc.
Over the rest of my career I’ll design (and probably prototype) small, medium, and large things that I hope will make people’s lives better, even if it simply entertains them or amuses them. The last thing I want to do is silo myself and reduce the opportunities offered to me by defining myself in some narrow fashion.