Work it Out

All too often in my observations of the working habits of design students, I see too much of a reliance on technology. They will give up because the software can’t do what they envisioned. They give up on a concept and relinquish their vision to a software algorithm. This is what makes the difference between pedestrian designers and incredible designers. Incredible designers push their own limits and knowledge with their tools. Pedestrian designers give up and let their tools dictate their design. Designers have to find their own breakthroughs—they have to work it out.

In cases like this, I often remember a quote from the great John Wooden (legendary UCLA basketball coach), “Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.”

By making the best of how things work out doesn’t mean you let things just happen. You must put in the work. You have to work it out. By putting in the work, you have more of a chance of creating something incredible. Draw the extra sketches. Explore more colors combos and type combos. Create more concepts. Only then will you be rewarded with incredible design solutions.

Elegant solutions only come from working out the problem.


Lightning Storms


Driving to the desert this evening, we encountered a beautiful display of lightning. It was one after another of beautiful and deadly light, we knew it was dangerous but we had to stand outside of our car and enjoy nature’s fury.

Whenever I find a path of thought that seems conducive to a design solution. It’s akin to a lightning storm. It’s one idea after another and my thoughts are so fast, my note taking and sketching abilities just can’t keep up. It’s dangerous and enlightening.

In the process of this lightning storm of ideas, the thoughts inevitably go to dark thoughts and absurd possibilities. But, ultimately, a beautiful concept emerges.

As designers, we have to be willing to stand in the lightning storms of our thoughts and allow ourselves to go to those dangerous places — the dark and absurd.

Possibilities always exist in those deep recesses of our thoughts. You just have to go there.