May 17, 2013
Design is a process
To say I'm excited that Cincinnati now has a Creative Mornings chapter would be an understatement. I have followed the birth of these inspirational get togethers since Tina Roth Eisenberg started them back in 2008. I was even lucky enough to see a few really awesome talks while visiting New York City.
When our chapter was starting, someone put my name in the hat as a potential speaker and I begged off the prospect. I don't talk publicly very much—I'd only spoke about photos in a bar up in Dayton a few years back—so the notion was anxiety inducing.
But I was bending elbows with my friend Nick Dewald and he encouraged me to reconsider. Sometimes you just need a little push from someone you admire. (Thank you Nick, I offer a most obliged tip of my hat.)
So there was May 17 circled on the calendar and no idea of what I could share.
I started reading books about public speaking. I scoured past Creative Morning and TED Talks looking for a framework. I sought other examples to spur notions.
The task continued by sifting through each chunk of life, trying to glean one thing, some theme, that would lend summary and meaning. Each period ended with a natural transition I felt important to include. As with photos I post in my album, I like to remove the mystery by including the original photograph. I feel like by sharing this, process is revealed.
The day came and a fella asked me if there was anything I needed as I plugged in my computer and got the microphone in place. “A beer would be good,” I joked at 8:30 in the morning. To my surprise he said that it could be done. Perhaps an IPA? He knew me well. (Thanks Eli!)
The talk went on far too long, and I even left a lot out. (In hindsight, I'd cut any of the stuff that didn't come from personal experience.) But it is what it is, and I managed to “um” and stagger my way through 300 or so slides. I was nervous as heck, and if you stopped by at the podium afterward, I apologize for my clammy handshake.
But the response was genuine and kind, and I appreciate that more than I can articulate.
In preparation to post this, I finally decided to watch the video. If you've ever heard a recording of your own voice, you might understand why I never got past the first few minutes. Once I did slog through this past weekend, I was mortified. The movie with slide transitions I sent over to the Cincinnati team was a mess. Nothing lined up. Entire sections were missing. Videos didn't display. I could blame this on buggy software, but the fault is all my own for not reviewing it before delivery and finding a better solution.
So I remade a movie of the slides in an appropriate format and the kind folks at Creative Mornings re-uploaded it. If you suffered through those 40 minutes prior, I won't beg you to watch it again, but know that it's an entirely different experience. Hopefully it mirrors the intention and message.
Which brings me to this last bit of realization…
My premise was that design is a process to solve challenges. Not just graphic design problems, but anything in life. If we simply identify something that needs improved, we can begin the task of finding solutions. I truly believe in this.
I spend a lot of my days solving other folks' problems for work. It's something I enjoy immensely, but I'm beginning to see that I'm avoiding this ethic for my own life.
So I'm defining some personal goals and taking note of patterns that have repeated over the years. I'm looking deeper at myself, in hopes to strengthen my physical and emotional being. I want to open myself up to new possibilities with dedicated focus.
I have no idea how this will manifest itself, but I'm hopeful.
And I believe in this process I champion.
Now is my chance to prove it.
An example of the iterative design process.
Squinting. It's how I learned to draw!
This advice about shoes also applies to shirts, pants, underwear, coffee mugs, socks, non-perishable foodstuffs and toiletries.
Above? My list of the things I want to do. Today I'm going to cook bacon for breakfast, so I feel like I'm on track to reach my goals.
Here are 12 things I talked about that really don't mean much without context. I'm not a fan of such lists, but they hold value as a reminder. The funny thing is, I could totally go through each one of these tiles and argue the opposite. In fact, here's what that’d look like:
So there's all that. If you made it this far? Well, I tip my hat to you for the honor. Now go check out the Creative Mornings site. It's chock full of different ways to explore and contribute. It's beautiful in how quiet and integrated all the details work together. www.creativemornings.com
Keep it up.... Still in love with your website. It's timeless...
Posted by: @jezarnold | Jun 15, 2014 7:20:52 PM
Really enjoyed watching this. And, of course following your work and the stuff you've shared (here, over Delicious, etc) over the past 10 years.
Posted by: Brian Faust | Apr 18, 2014 1:46:28 PM
So glad I have your site’s feed—I savoured this talk today. And have tweeted it: somethings simply can’t be said in 140 characters or 4 minutes.
Thanks Chris! Glad we connected via LiveJournal (jawnbc).
Posted by: John Egan | Apr 18, 2014 2:13:52 AM
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