I haven’t had much time for projects and art lately, and have had to put several things on hold while I focus on work. The weather is getting nicer and the days are getting longer, so I’m making an effort to bring some art projects back to the table.
The less time I make for these projects, the more I realize how much they matter. Having something to focus on that I’m passionate about besides my full time job is incredibly important for several reasons. By diverting some of my attention, I’m able to nurture and rekindle passion and energy and feed that back into the work that I do. It’s a win-win. When I make things for fun, my work work gets better.
Multitasking and time off have long been preached by many designers. Stephan Sagmeister speaks frequently about how taking some time off to make things without agenda creates room for exciting new work. Daniel Hernández explains that having multiple projects to switch between gives him new perspective when approaching daunting explorations.
“I usually work on two projects at once, in order to be able to move away and look at it from a new perspective when I get back to it. That helps me a lot to keep things fresh. Yet I think my main “strategy” is to work on projects that are inspiring, fun and motivating.”
— Daniel Hernández, Chilean type designer, LatinoType
I’ve also been mentoring a high school student for the last several weeks and I’ve learned a lot about myself and what it means to be a designer. When you have to pause to explain what you do to someone who has no knowledge of the field or vocabulary, it forces you to take a closer look at what matters and learn how to articulate it. My work has gotten stronger because there isn’t any option to just say “I made it because I liked it that way.” It’s much easier to justify my design decisions or recognize what still isn’t working when I have to explain my gut instincts out loud. I can already see my own growth, both in the work that I do, and the working relationships with my non-design coworkers, just from letting somebody young into my world and trying to explain to her how it all works. Everybody always said the best way to learn is to teach.
Here’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to besides the awesome things I’ve been making at work. (PS I have been making some awesome and exciting things at Lookout, none of which I can share at the moment.)
It’s been a while since I’ve made time, but I am working on the second edition of my cook book. As a way to set goals and keep the project organized, I’m writing recipes, trials, and errors at thetypekitchen.com.
Also, I’ve had a few weekend excursions lately and have been taking a lot of pictures, which until recently had no where to live. I started a simple tumblr, which will likely evolve into a more robust photo diary later. I’ve got quite a backlog in Lightroom of unedited photographs, but they will be up soon. For now, just a few world travels.
For the last three years, graphdes has been a fantastic place for me to share inspiration, ideas, and drafts of bigger projects. I haven’t had time to share anything in a while, but I have folders, drafts, and evernotes full of things in the works.
That’s all for now. back to work. You can always tweet at me if you have questions or want to talk design.
Interesting concept. In this day and age, we tend to forget that user experience as a concept applies to much more than what we see across a variety of screen sizes or digital products. Japanese designer, Akio Hayakawa, revisits the way we use an object as mundane as a pencil, and manipulates the behavior we exhibit over time interacting with this object. The new pencil: Easy Pencil, sleek, clean, simple, and deliberate.
Fast Company‘s Co.Design says:
The pencil has long served as a paragon of functional design: unlike ink, graphite cannot leak. And unlike today’s tablets or computers, a pencil never loses its electrical charge. Instead of a wooden pencil that contains en equal length of graphite, the graphite stops short about two inches above the end.
“Even as the pencil gets shorter, we attempt to use it to the end — even though we know it is difficult,” Hayakawa tells Co.Design.
The Easy Pencil’s cleverness is that is solves a strange, self-inflicted problem: people are procrastinators. This design encourages writers to replace pencils on time. (read more)
The only thing I’d like to see with Easy Pencil is an eraser; I’ve been trained since the beginning of using pencils that erasers go on the other end, and I’ve definitely scratched a drawing with the blunt end of non-erasing pencils. Bigger erasers are for bigger mistakes. Erasers on the ends of pencils are for gut reactions.
I pretty much only draw with Micron pens, but these might replace Ticonderoga in my pencil jar (if I can buy them in bulk for not much more). It’s still just a prototype for now.