I’ve been thinking a lot the last few weeks since my last post about implementing change into one’s life.
In particular the effects of lots of small incremental changes in everyday life versus one single mind shift.
How much of a mind shift is it for designers to emerge from the comforts of the commodified designing experience to one of lateral exploration and, in essence, holistic solutions to real problems?
The weight of the mind shift for a designer can be measured in terms of the importance they have, up until that shift point, placed on their technical abilities to design over their ability to strategise, what they allowed to define them as designers. The concept of defining a designer is, in itself, a futile exercise. But that is definitely an existential discussion that warrants a separate post and indeed a few weeks of pondering. The prioritisation of a designer’s technical ability over their strategic ability has been essentially pre-determined by a designer’s training and education. A tertiary design brief is formatted for an outcome of judging a student’s execution of a concept using the technical skill they have garnered so far during their study. Concepts used for the purpose of student briefs are hypothetical and quite often based around creating something from it’s infancy. It is indeed the whole outcome is a creation from beginning to end and rarely is based upon an existing problem, or something that warrants a better solution going forward.
This is the point where the more unilateral approach should come into play, working in tandem with the aforementioned skills. The ‘theory’ component which makes up a considerable block of a students curriculum could be reworked to include the strengthening of observation and research skills.
Here’s a concept to toy with in your mind. What if at the beginning of a semester or a year, the first session or two are spent allowing students the freedom to look at the immediate world that surrounds them, to compile a list of things that make up everyday life that need changing or refining. Practical, real world solutions for real world projects. Then the course of the semester or the year is spent solving these now prospective briefs. The technical skills they are all learning simultaneously are now grounded in a context they can relate to and build an impressive body of work from.
It is still an idea I’m working through in my head. It’s been something that has consistently been popping up in my thinking over the last six or seven years, in slightly different forms each time.
It’s an evolving thought. Will keep posting I think.