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bcpid wrote:The business of competitive people versus noncompetitive people is interesting. I don't compete with or care about competing with other designers because they aren't the audience. It seems in real life, happy clients are often happy with a lot less in terms of sketch quality and "innovation" than competitive designers are, and they can't necessarily tell the difference between a C+ and an A- sketch to begin with. Clients can't draw a *BOX* most of the time, and they are thrilled by almost any level of sketch. Napkin sketches and diagrams often work. And if personal experience is any guide, clients' actions say they are much more interested in incremental progress and maintenance than they are in innovation, which means it usually isn't worth spending a lot of time on far-out ideas - most of the time. So those two arms-race areas that I think competitive people get all up in arms about - perfect images, newness/killerapps/innovation - and which can be a source of pointless endless endlessness for everyone else, are probably a lot less important than many people think they are.


This seems a little sad on one hand, on the other I get it, but careful the path to the jaded side. Personally, I do it because I enjoy pushing it as far as possible, for myself. I feel like I have a long long way to go to where I want to be. That underlying feeling keeps me coming at it. Of course the flip side to jaded is burned out, so you have to watch out for pushing too hard. When I first became a manager 10 years ago one of my designers asked me why my standards are so high, the exec team doesn't care... I replied my standards were high for myself. As long as you understand that it is for your own satisfaction and enjoyment and you don't do it for the proverbial pat on the back, I think its all good.


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bcpid wrote:and they are thrilled by almost any level of sketch.


Ha.

The other day I was showing a "junior" how to vent a part. Made an underlay, then an overlay to clean it up a bit. Turned out to be a weird looking shape, the combo of the part, vent and sprue. Pretty basic though.

Couple three days later I take the underlay, flip it over to write some notes on the clean side of the sheet. Walk over to IT because the notes were about a bug in an app we developed. Standing there the director of IT saw the back of my notes from across the room and was most impressed with my chicken scratch sketch.

Go figure.


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This seems a little sad on one hand, on the other I get it, but careful the path to the jaded side. Personally, I do it because I enjoy pushing it as far as possible, for myself. I feel like I have a long long way to go to where I want to be. That underlying feeling keeps me coming at it. Of course the flip side to jaded is burned out, so you have to watch out for pushing too hard. When I first became a manager 10 years ago one of my designers asked me why my standards are so high, the exec team doesn't care... I replied my standards were high for myself. As long as you understand that it is for your own satisfaction and enjoyment and you don't do it for the proverbial pat on the back, I think its all good.


It isn't sad or particularly jaded. It's me being pragmatic. Part of it is probably that I don't view myself as an artist, but rather someone that figures stuff out. The other part is that I feel best when I get in 8-9 hours of sleep, cook my own meals, get my hour or two of strenuous activity in, and play with my kids and read the paper. If I don't get that, I'm not a happy camper. At the end of the day, my job is not my life - it's a means to an end, and while often stimulating, it is not a substitute for living.

Bringing it back to the main idea - competitive people versus noncompetitive people - I think the competitive people tend to be bad at making that distinction between work and life, or often grossly over-prioritize the centrality of their work to their persona. Which is fine, as long as those folks keep that to themselves and don't let their personal need for uncompromising excellence prevent "good enough" work from going out the door the 90% of the time that "good enough" actually is "good enough."

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Some interesting commentary going on in here. Makes me think back to a design critique in college where I overheard one classmate ask another, "Are you trying to make us look bad?"

The person who was asked this looked totally bewildered since you could tell he was only motivated by passion/interest not by wanting to "one-up" someone.

I will admit there were times in school, especially after a rough critique that I thought to myself "You wait, next critique I'm coming back with a vengeance!" :twisted:

Usually after getting some sleep and eating a burrito, my motivation would shift back to the joy of learning and improving, being able to say that I could see growth in my skills and abilities. Of course everyone is wired differently.

Jimmy, I think what might be throwing some people off is the clickbait-ish video title because it almost seems to suggest that the true satisfaction will come when you can claim to have that "edge" over others. Watching the video (which, to be honest, is a little generic in it's advice) I realize your intent is for students to just get better, and that embracing a healthy amount of competitiveness is good (which I agree).

I wonder though if there is a better motivator? Something that's more sustaining and could keep designers motivated even if they work in isolation?

Thanks for posting though, great discussion it's generated and will be following your channel.

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bcpid wrote:Bringing it back to the main idea - competitive people versus noncompetitive people - I think the competitive people tend to be bad at making that distinction between work and life, or often grossly over-prioritize the centrality of their work to their persona. Which is fine, as long as those folks keep that to themselves and don't let their personal need for uncompromising excellence prevent "good enough" work from going out the door the 90% of the time that "good enough" actually is "good enough."


I don't want to be prickly here, but I want to state my POV. I could never work for someone who felt this way nor could I ever have anyone on my team who ever said the words "good enough"... good enough never is. Sometimes you have to ship it, but nothing is ever good enough. You just run out of time.


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I could never work for someone who felt this way nor could I ever have anyone on my team who ever said the words "good enough"... good enough never is. Sometimes you have to ship it, but nothing is ever good enough. You just run out of time.


I don't know that I understand where you're coming from. I mean, yeah, philosophically, constant improvement etc. If you haven't fulfilled the design brief, though, it can't be "good enough." But once you have done that, you only eat into profitability or the time that would otherwise be spent on other projects (and thereby compromising those projects) by going beyond. Knowing to call a project finished - even when the idealistic part of you says more could be done - is an extremely important skill, without which budget and time management would be impossible. Furthermore, I really do believe that an experienced designer's "good enough," is roughly equivalent to a client's "nice job."

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Maybe I'm just getting hung up on the semantics of it here.

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Interesting discussion.

First off, in relation to the video. I'm not sure I like the angle as it seems click-baity and simplistic.

I think an interesting angle would be how to get the most out of your education. Don't get me wrong, some friendly competition is certainly healthy. Getting kick in the pants to surpass yourself is great though collegiality is certainly something to start learning in school. Competition should only be a motivation to push you forward, don't allow it to stop you from sharing and creating relationships with your peers.

What really is your goal in school? You're dedicating 4 years to learn and probably putting yourself into debt doing so. You need to decide where you want to be when you're finished and take the steps that will take you there. School isn't Weight Watchers, success isn't guarantied if you follow the outline. The curriculum and the teachers are there to share the knowledge and guide you along the way. It's up to you to put the effort and decide where you want to put the effort.

Going back to the 20 sketch example. If you feel you need to improve your sketching abilities, what's wrong with spending an extra day on it and end up with 30 sketches and coasting in some other class you already have some experience in? On the flip side, if you're a strong sketcher and feel you need to concentrate your effort on a research assignment, go right ahead.

That was my biggest take away from University. The curriculum is a plan to get you to pass the classes and get the diploma. The diploma alone probably won't get you going in the direction you want.

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Sain wrote: But to me the guy who pushed himself and is better because of it wins in the end.


Wins what?
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Greenman wrote:
Sain wrote: But to me the guy who pushed himself and is better because of it wins in the end.


Wins what?


Whatever it is they're pushing towards. Purposely left vague. Maybes its the exact job they want, or the work/life balance they're after. Maybe its satisfaction that they've maxed their potential. But I guess thats my Type A personality talking. Not everyone is wired this way. (I'm seriously holding back from typing out a full reply, because I feel like I have to acknowledge the Type B person at every point I make in this thread). So I'll leave it at this.


I personally feel if in college you push your skill sets to to the next level you'll have more jobs options when you graduate. Students often forget its not you against your classmates for jobs when you graduate. It's you against every other single industrial design graduate (and recent grad) looking for jobs.
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Some really good discussion in here.

I'm graduating this December, I can't wait!

The first 2-3 years of ID school I was really stubborn. My life was to come into school at 8 AM and leave at 2AM, I was eating Subway 1-2 times a day, and pulling all-nighters at-least 1-2 times a week. I was (and still am to a point) very competitive, I came into school with no artistic or design background and felt that the only way I could catch up to my peers and the level of work expected for new graduates was to work harder than all of them. I had mentors pull me aside from Pensole and Under Armour and tell me I needed to relax, and shared their stories of burnout, and how overworking lead them to ill health, unhappiness and affected their families.

I didn't finally understand how to balance my work and life until I had a teacher from Samsung come in to teach a sketching class. I was pulling all-nighters every week for his class and working my butt off. There were weeks where I tried to over-deliver in both his class and my studio class and fell flat on my face. The first time I took his class he lectured me weekly about how I was working to my own detriment, he gave so many tips on how to handle his assignments and work smart but I refused them and kept going at my pace. That semester I didn't finish my final project for my studio and his final assignment for the class, it was a kick in the face. Somehow I didn't fail either class, but that's a whole other discussion.

My favorite quote from this instructor was about his role being a manager, and how as a professional we have to work smart. In his workplace he wanted to eliminate the mentality that people who work long hours should be praised. He said something along the lines of "Why would I want my designers to stay late? Now their wive's and kids are upset with me and now it's my problem.."

But there came a point where my foundation skills got up to par and my lack of design knowledge and aesthetic sense poked through everything. There was no way I could design great looking things because for the past 2-3 years I was sitting in a concrete building with no windows 16-18 hours a day. I had no inspiration.

Work hard, yes, but there comes a point where one needs to live life, and have life experiences to design great things.
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Sain wrote:
Greenman wrote:
Sain wrote: But to me the guy who pushed himself and is better because of it wins in the end.


Wins what?


Sain wrote:Whatever it is they're pushing towards. Purposely left vague. Maybes its the exact job they want, or the work/life balance they're after. Maybe its satisfaction that they've maxed their potential. But I guess thats my Type A personality talking. Not everyone is wired this way. (I'm seriously holding back from typing out a full reply, because I feel like I have to acknowledge the Type B person at every point I make in this thread). So I'll leave it at this.


Achieving those things isn't correlated to besting your classmates, though I will admit that competition might inspire a student to push harder (or smarter), which ultimately might help them achieve those things for themselves. I'm not a Type B, but I am pretty Type A about advocating for them.

Sain wrote:I personally feel if in college you push your skill sets to to the next level you'll have more jobs options when you graduate. Students often forget its not you against your classmates for jobs when you graduate. It's you against every other single industrial design graduate (and recent grad) looking for jobs.


I agree, but there's also something to be said for each school's reputation in the eyes of employers as well. I never got the stories of design students concealing their work and hiding their techniques, just tells me they can't simply come up with new ideas. As a manager I want all of the designers to be sharing techniques and ideas, it makes our team stronger, our work better, and brings in new business. As that correlates to a design school, when students work together, share ideas, and focus on pushing each other to improve then the reputation of the school can elevate as employers are happy to have hired designers who get the value in working together and pushing their peers, but also happen to be talented designers. Maybe it's just me, but I think I learned more from my peers than my profs.
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apowers wrote:Work hard, yes, but there comes a point where one needs to live life, and have life experiences to design great things.


One of my favorite recent quotes is.

"Your work can only be as interesting as your life."
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Back to the original OP question/comment.
Did you guys see the other youtube videos on the series?
He has one where he talks about how to improve your sketching skills BUT only talks about it.? I think the videos are kind of superficial. There's probably more useful info from everybody's responses than the actual video. I would rather have visuals than somebody just talking; specially when it relates to design.
My 2 cents

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Sain wrote:One of my favorite recent quotes is.

"Your work can only be as interesting as your life."



I agree with most here and think the advice given in the video series is a little generic but it's true, we did get a really great discussion out of this post.

Love that quote and I fully agree with this.
To me this begs the question, what makes a good designer?
Is it really those extra 10 sketches over the required 15? Or is it all the experiences and analytical thinking that went into the required 15 that show a number of different approaches?

It urked me in school when quantity was praised over quality.
Of course, you need to put in the quantity in order to reach a certain level of quality but success is not just about polishing the core skills.

For me, the person who gets "the edge" is the one who presents innovative, new insights in a compelling way.
Most of the time it was the person who connected their experiences and references the best and was able to see the bigger picture and then had the adequate skills to turn these insights and conclusions into an attractive solution.
From my experience, it was rarely the person who put all his time staring into a computer screen or sketch pad.

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