all art burns / 全美燃


words (and the occasional image) about design

“I want to be a designer because…” 2011 edition

Slowly catching up on all the blogging stuff I ignored while building a lasersaur and doing Stuff That Pays the Bills.

In 15 words or less, complete this sentence: “I want to be a designer because…”

“they solve problems, and I want to teach other people how to solve their problems.”


wee rant on drawing templates

Three thoughts on this review of drawing templates.

1) Any ixd doing iPhone dev who needs pixel-precise templates should be able to make their own templates in Illustrator (equiv.) and print them out.  You know what’s better than spiral, lay-flat bindings?  No binding at all!

2) A physical drawing template? Is this 1980? Are we making flow charts?  A template that precise is either proof that you need to learn to draw or that you should be comping on the screen and not on paper. (If you have access to a laser cutter you could easily make your own.)

3) There are these things called “Post-it(tm) Note”s that come in various colors and sizes. They stick to things, say a whiteboard or a clipboard, so you can do things like rearrange navigation or swap out different comps for screens. You should try them, they’re really nifty.

Ok, four thoughts:

4) The reviewer writes: ” My sketching skills are teh suck, so[...]”

Yes, and they will continue to suck until you stop fussing around with templates and learn to draw freehand. I say that as someone who spent years making sucky drawings with rulers, templates, and other drawing “aids” that did nothing save prevent me from learning how to draw.

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External Validation Never Hurts

If I can turn on the personal hype machine for a moment…

I have been accepted as a Professional Member of the IDSA, which means I can put “, IDSA” after my name. Ok, so it’s not probably not a huge deal for people with traditional ID degrees, but it’s a nice bit of external validation from a respected organization for my unusual educational and professional work.

Now if I can just learn to throw the IDSA gang sign without breaking my Intuous stylus.

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DONE

Finally.

~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.

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Work in Progress

I’ve posted slides and a poster or two over at my mTID page. There’s a lot more than that needs to be documented and written out, but it should give you a taste of some of what I’ve been working on for the past two semesters.

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