First off, Happy New Year!  One resolution I'm working on is to sketch more stuff that's not related to my immediate professional work.  I like to sketch existing designs that really speak to me (e.g. appreciating the lines that go into the new Porsche 911) as well as reimagine my own takes on potential products.  I love to sketch, and it boosts my creative energy ... and I love that I can always get better.  

Back in 2010, I decided to leave Nike to pursue additional education in the fields of industrial design and strategic innovation.  Nike was a great place to cut my teeth in design, but I wanted a proper ID foundation to round out my multidisciplinary skills.  Thankfully, Art Center College of Design provided the proper grounding, along with the continued support of my Nike creative friends and mentors, and eventually the creative network I would soon find in LA.

Over the last several years, many discoveries have helped solidify my frame of reference and perspective with regard to Design.  I'm also sure that these notions will evolve considerably depending on the project or season I'm in (even depending on the day and how strong my coffee happens to be) ... but that's what blogs are for, to share perspective that could be helpful for someone navigating their own circumstances, and to serve as an open forum to collect alternative viewpoints as well.  Here's 5 notions that have been rattling around my brain ...

  • Design IS process - unearthing insight, making connections, exhausting the possibilities, converging on something interesting, prototyping and getting real-time feedback ... and not being afraid to "kill your darlings" to fail (and recover) early and often is the signs of a good process that will surely yield good fruit.  The process has never failed me, even though I fail a lot within the process.
  • Design IS problem-solving - in relation to the first point, we push on the boundaries, bounce off constraints, reference historical patterns, balance art and science, emulate archetypes, calculate, imagine, cross-reference and iterate incessantly until we must deliver our best work ... always balancing the critical path, the team, the budget and, most importantly, the latent needs of our target audience.
  • Design IS beauty - opposite the problem solving, we desire to "produce" beautiful forms and interpretations that surround the intent of what it is we're creating.  We won't feel good until we are satisfied with our form, typography, composition, CMF, branding, etc. constantly badgering everything that leaves our fingertips.  In immediate contradiction to this statement, we're never satisfied and will never feel like we're finished.
  • Design IS a lasting story - personally, I spend less energy on aesthetic exercises that chase a fad or a flavor of the month.  Design should have intent ... addressing a real purpose and enabling the end-user to accomplish a compelling narrative of experience.  I prefer consuming products and services that are built to last ... they have staying power, sustainability and offer many years of utility and enjoyment.  The advent of digital has advanced these notions as a static device can find renewed life through firmware updates, connection to other artifacts, the cloud, etc.   How are we thoughtfully designing "staying power" in our products and services?  How are we designing 'surprise and delight' moments that line up to our most meaningful life triggers?
  • Design IS currency - I strongly believe that our future economy will be fueled by what sit's at the beautiful intersection of strategy, design and technology.  Design will be a key differentiator, not exemplified by the mere beauty of our expression, but a cornerstone in the design of business models, the viability conveyed in user-centered prototypes ... the human-centered differentiators that design brings to the table to dis-intermediate and disrupt.  The root of it all will be our ability in conceiving authentic experiences that will revolutionize how people feel.  The brands that do that well will win in the future economy.

There you go.  Please chime in and let me know what's top of mind for you when you think of Design.  Even though we've been designing since the beginning of the time, this field is still very "new" to a lot of people.  We can't talk about it enough.

Thanks ... peace, love and blessings, k.g.b.

P.S. - I've also been toying with the notion of video-posts ... it's something that I might try for the next one.  If you have preferences on format, I'm all ears.  ... and I especially appreciate your Likes, Shares and Retweets on social media.  It means the world that you stop and visit.  Cheers, k.g.b.

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