I’m here in my studio making holes in some foam-core for a mock-up. Actually, a series of holes in a series of pieces that all must line up with one another. I’ve come to a wall where my CAD model cannot tell me the result and I must prove the idea in physical space. The ambiguity of this exercise is very high due to imprecise method I am using to make these holes. I’m comfortable with this because I’ve been here many times in my career as a designer. Over the years I’ve learned to make leaps of confidence in my design work even though the methods I am using are imprecise and quick.
This ambiguity and confidence pairing is a learned response that is like a muscle that grows over time with more usage. Much of a designers value is to project confidence in a concept with a high degree of ambiguity contained within. I’ve heard GenM/Z calls this “fake it til you make it”. Projecting confidence even though you are not 100% sure of your claims.
How do you value the role of ambiguity in your design process? Is it something you learned at school or is it something that is integral to your talent? Can it be taught/articulated in the classroom? Do share if you have insights…