Ideas, life and design

By David

The toughest part for me growing as a designer was learning to let ideas go. I now appreciate that ideas are unstable, sometimes they need to change and grow, move on to other people, or simply fade away again. It is a realisation that has made me comfortable with not being right, but confident to stick with ideas that I believe in – my own or those of others – when they start changing.

Cennydd Bowles hits a similar vein in Letter to a Junior Designer where he writes:

In time, the distinction between idea and iteration will blur.

Now I see ideas as starting points for design journeys to be shared with others.

And I realised that becoming a better designer means thinking less about design, and honouring my life experiences as central to what I have to offer as a designer. Doing other things allows my design intuition to breathe again. Cennydd hits the nail on the head once again:

Finally, there may come a point when you realize you’re better served by thinking less about design. Work and life should always be partially separate, but there’s no doubt that the experiences you have in your life shape your work too. So please remember to be a broad, wise human being. Travel (thoughtfully) as much as you can. Read literature: a good novel will sometimes teach you more than another design book can. Remind yourself the sea exists. You’ll notice the empathy, sensitivity, cunning, and understanding you develop make your working life better too.

I reminded myself recently that the sea (still) exists – and it looks wilder, and more inspiring than ever.