Memorable moments as designers

Whether through college or after college you must have had an unforgettable event that happened ,

Examples: - losing your project before the deadline and having to start over and finish it in that one night

  • Going to certain places you never expected you’d go as a designer
    -An argument with a professor
    -Someone stealing your idea

I’m just interested in hearing about some adventures you all went through as designers.

As a student: I was shortlisted for a UK nationwide design competition “RSA Design directions” and got to go for an interview in London with 10 judges. My product was geared towards people with hearing loss, and being very relevant for older people. One of the judges represented some old-people organisation and was sitting on a £1000 price (among others). During my 10 minute presentation, he managed to fall asleep and started to snore. Ouch. I was “highly commended”, but didn’t get any award.

First month on a job: The brief was “this is a lower segment product. We don’t want our logo permanent, a simple sticker will do. So when the product breaks, the sticker is hopefully long gone, and the customer won’t remember who to be angry with”. Very contrary to everything you learn as a student, very real in the business world. Recently I found this product being the center piece of an ad for a store (not for the product), probably because it looked great, but wasn’t branded.

Going to the Apple Store and seeing products my team and I designed on the shelf.

The first time I visited a Chinese factory, always memorable.

When I was in school I took a summer session course in Milan. We travelled all over Tuscany visiting factories and design studios. Life changing.

Lots of research trips to Europe, but the one that stands out was a trip in which we flew to Amsterdam, was there fore about 18 hours, flew to London, was there for about 12 hours, flew to Copenhagen, was there for about 40 hours, then flew home… Was just crazy.

So far…While I was still in school, seeing my first project as a co-op on the shelves at Toys R Us. It was really only half mine, but it didn’t matter. It was the first professional project I had ever worked on, and it was amazing to see it in the real world. Lots of products on shelves since then, but that one has been the sweetest.

As a collaboration with two American universities we exhibited in Milan in 2011. We camped on the outskirts, travelled in every morning on the ridiculously cheap metro and helped set up the stand. It was great to see how stands, big and small were set up. Then once it all opened, soaking in as much as we could. It was great, apart from the cold shower every morning!!

In preparation for the exhibit we also travelled over to Philadelphia to work with the students there. That was fantastic, definitely something I never thought I would do whilst at uni. In the studio for well over 15 hours a day for 4 days solid. Definitely the stand out memory of my time at university.

My list somewhat mirrors Yo’s list - but slightly different:

  • The first time I saw one of my designs in the Sky Mall magazine - I threw-up a little in my mouth. WTF???

  • The first time I toured a Chinese factory - and thinking how much longer will I need to be doing this? That was 27 years ago and I’m still touring Chinese factories. Just flew back from China yesterday and feel like a jet-lag research lab rat.

  • I planned a research trip to Italy (Rome / Florence / Tuscany region) to document classical fountain designs. At the last minute my boss piled-onto the trip and turned it into a disaster.

“Unforgettable” can be perceived several different ways…

I’m longing for the day that I can see a design of mine in the hands of a stranger but I am still at the start of my career.

Memorable moments:

  • Having my computer fail as I was ready to print my project the day before the deadline and then sitting at the Genius bar waiting to hear if my hard drive crashed. Luckily all it was the cable connecting my HD to the motherboard had come loose but it was the longest hour and a half of my life.

  • Being invited for interviews in world renowned firms, just knowing my name got past the “jobs@…” barrier and I was able to be in their studio if only for an hour.

  • Making valuable connections and just having a respected designer take five minutes to talk to me.

Dont forget that time I think it was you who posted you got embarrassed in front of the class by your teacher because you halfassed a project.

Still in first year but…

  • Winning a scholarship to present a design to a panel of judges at NASA Ames out in Silicon Valley. This was the first time I went to Palo Alto and San Francisco and to this very morning, it fuels me to push harder, out-think everyone else, out-learn everyone else and out-do everyone else to get back there permanently…

  • Being invited to chill with Yves Behar and Nick Cronan, two fantastic designers for a couple hours in Fuseproject. Again, this reminds me what I fight for everyday…

  • Finishing a recent CAD model after another 12 hour day, then realising it was still pretty bad as a design - taught me the oh-so-valuable lesson that no matter how awesome the CAD model is, get the bleeding design right first!

  • Being shot down big time on another design that I had spent two weeks solid on - this taught me that as designers it is our ability to fail quick and ignore the voice at the back of our head that says ‘oh forget it’ when bad feedback comes in!

I try to turn the bad ones in to good ones, but I live design so it’s easier :smiley:

I design VIP aircraft. Standing in the middle of a completely empty 747 is awesome. Running around in circles in it is likewise awesome, because when else can you run around an airplane without getting tackled by an air marshal?

Spending a three day weekend with Michael Jordan at a motorcycle race ranks up there pretty high for me.

Walking my dog and seeing an Icon FJ I worked on roll down the street was also a pretty cool feeling.

Driving this last weekend:

Yeah, looks like good moments, and don’t forget your face was on the times square screen, not an every day occurrence for designers you know.

I think someone has a stalker.

Forgot about that. That was pretty cool, and just kind of all around funny.

My wife literally taking a p!ss on my design.

No worries. It was a good thing.

haha no, when he posted yesterday I clicked his facebook as I was curious what he looks like and then there was some interesting stuff I ran into(I thought he was like an elderly pro coming on the forums to give people advice on design) , sure makes design look like the dream job unlike the typical dull office jobs you see.

For me it was the first time I had ever seen something that I designed “in the wild”. One of my first projects as a designer was to design a surround for an ATM, which would be built and installed in McDonalds restaurants all over the US. I was on vacation on the other side of the country and I went into McDonalds for a quick bite - and…there it was! I wasn’t expecting to see it at all, but it was quite a memorable moment for a young designer.

Our bachelor thesis project was pretty amazing. we designed together with a company and their partners a new transporter for the use in mountainous regions. We were about 13 people working on the design but it was like a competition, and in the end, my design “won” and was developed further with the team.
But the truly amazing moment was when I saw for the first time the finished prototype, a real, 1:1 driveable prototype of my design.
(and i just started working for the company because of that connection)

cool, do you mind sharing the design ?

no of course not, Project Hycat by Jan Dornig at and some technical info for those interested: HAWE Mattro GmbH - HAWE Hydraulik