The design field is in a very odd state. At least on Twitter, we seem to always be in a constant state of disagreement. But one thing I think we can all agree on, is that we are all utterly disposable, and quite possibly will one day (maybe soon) be replaced by algorithms.
If you don’t know me, I currently work in R&D for a major automotive OEM. My job most often involves creating new product concepts that convey how humans will interact with technology in the future, and I work with my team to help bring these ideas to life. The reason I bring this up is because as a result of this experience, I often work in less conventional ways, simply because conventional means don’t always work. I recently tweeted a thought that occurred to me and due to the limitations of Twitter, I felt like this subject was perhaps something worth digging a little bit deeper. So let’s begin.
At long last, here is my essay originally intended for March 2018. Life intervened and my original notes were lost (thanks iCloud!), which significantly delayed my writing, and screwed up my momentum on my 2018 essay series. But here it is, finally. Hope you like it! — Chris.
Since I seem to enjoy writing thought-provoking essays, I thought why not do another one. This time, I have a topic that I’m sure will make some people mad at me, which is probably why I like this topic so much. 😆
Every so often, designers try to draw lines in the sand around what is art versus what is design so that each discipline stays neatly in their own space. The problem with this debate is whenever you hear people’s rationales about things being one way or another, they’ve always felt like really narrow definitions of both creative disciplines.
“Art is for X and Design is for Y!!”, they might say, substituting something for X and Y.
My feeling is yes, I get it, but a more interesting conversation we should have is how your work should exist at the intersection of art and design. Here’s why… Continue reading “Design as Expression”→
I wanted to write about this after it occurred to me how the projects at work are (un)structured. I mean, I’ve mentioned to people before that our projects are a little different than the way typical design projects work, but I never got into much detail. Our stuff requires a different kind of thinking and have a different kind of outcome, and it’s not just because I work for an automotive company. So I thought, since I’m working on this whole essay series, why not write about this topic? So, here I go. Continue reading “The Design of Ideas”→
Since it’s the start of a new year, I thought it would be good to begin my 2018 essay series with an aspirational message. No, I don’t mean things as silly as resolutions that you won’t keep. I want to talk about the importance of being a designer and making a difference.
I have failed. I set out to write one essay per month and I missed one for November. I actually had it in the works, but I got wrapped up in a consecutive string of long work days and I just couldn’t get myself to sit in front of a computer at home after sitting in front of a computer all day long. I know… Weird, right? So here I am, at the end of 2017, in the midst of our annual company holiday shutdown, still trying to finish the year strong.
To preface, the general nature of my job requires me to always confront the unknown. These are not the small unknowns of most company’s product launches; things like “is this sign up flow actually easy to use?” No. What I’m talking about are the big unknown things; things like “when all vehicles are autonomous, how will society be changed?” This is the nature of R&D work, to answer the big questions. I find this kind of work fun and exciting, and most of all really, really challenging — to apply a designer’s mindset (note that I didn’t say ‘design thinking’ 😉) on challenges that people haven’t conceived of yet. But not everyone is up for this kind of thing, and it actually takes some getting used to, because it’s just so different than the types of things designers typically work on. So this month, I thought I would spend some time breaking it down. Continue reading “ambiguity & innovation”→
My friend Alex pinged me about an article about ‘unpleasant design’. It’s worth a read if you haven’t seen it before. I promised to put some thoughts down about it because I thought I should devote more time to this topic than 140 characters worth. I can’t say that I’ve ever intentionally tried to design things that were unpleasant, and it didn’t occur to me to even try, but apparently there is quite a lot of stuff out there that is designed to be intentionally unpleasant! Continue reading “Intentionally Unpleasant Design”→
I honestly don’t really like talking about it. Never have. So why talk about it now? I’ve always felt that I’ve done things a little differently than other designers and none of the articles I’ve read on process really get at the way I tend to approach problem solving. Especially since my job right now is not necessarily for a product-driven environment, writing about this also perhaps gives people a glimpse into some different ways of thinking (maybe?) about how to go from idea to mockup. Continue reading “The Dreaded P Word!”→
Lots of articles about design try to put a positive spin on things and that’s ok. “Just follow these 5 easy steps…” and everything will turn out great. You’ll be lauded as a hero, maybe get the key to the city with a nice ticker tape parade… But I want to be realistic. In design, just like in life, you simply won’t win every battle.