"What are the reasons that you are a designer?"

Someone asked the above question of me in another thread. Instead of getting that thread off topic, I thought it might be a good discussion for all of us.

For me there are a few simple things that motivate me as a designer (it is going to be hard to keep this concise for me):

  1. I started sketching product as a kid (13 years old, drawing stereos, shoes, and cars until about 2am on a school night, yeah I wasn’t as big with the ladies back then) and I learned about ID when I was 14 with some help from my Dad who was really bummed I didn’t want to become a pro-ball player for the Yankees but was supportive. A lot of new products amazed me, and a lot disappointed me. On every project I try to make sure the 14 year old me would be proud. It sounds stupid, but it works for me.

  2. something that really keeps me going is the fact that most people don’t have Picasos on the wall, they don’t live in “architect” designed houses. Most people live in a simple annonamous home or apartment, drive a Honda sedan, a Ford truck, or the regional equivalent, and work a job for 30-40 years before hopefully being able to retire. I know this is a morbid reason to be a designer, but I feel that if we can bring a little art, creativity, and consideration into every day life through a well designed, well functioning product that serves a real need (not an artificial need) for that person, I think we’ve done our part to inch things along the only way we can. I don’t allways do it myself, but I always try.

The two biggest highlights of my career so far didn’t come in the form a big product launches, or magazine features, or IDSA awards, they came from seeing my auto mechanic wearing a watch I designed, and seeing another women’s watch I had designed on the wrist of a TSA agent searching through my carry on. I said I liked her watch and asked why she bought it, she said she didn’t know, she just really liked it and it stood out just a little bit from all thee other watches at the counter, when she got home she like how easy the alarm was to set. Mission accomplished.

  1. For me designing, looking at things, coming up with ideas, it’s just who I am. I do it a bit involuntarily, and I really enjoy it. A lot of the projects I am the most proud of that went into production never had marketing briefs and never appeared on a corporate line-plan, and where never brought up in a consumer focus group. They where just thoughts of mine I put on paper, like I did when I was 14, except now I know some people who know some people who can make stuff in Asia. I like to try and keep it a pure as possible.

    Who inspires me?

The designer that has had the most influence on me is Giorgio Gruigaro. The guy has had a career that has spanned decades, the aesthetic style of his work is always changing, and he has designed everything from pasta that holds sauce better, to the stainless steel Delorean and everything in-between. He seems to do it all with an unassuming, “this is what I do” kind of attitude, doesn’t play up the “creator” type prima donna attitude. I like Seymore/Powell for the same reason.

I’m going to misspel some because I don’t feel like looking all of them up but I like Brancussi, Noguchi, Duchamp (“nude descending a staircase”, can’t beat it), some Seargent, Botchioni, a lot of work from the brief Futurist movement before WWI, and Write for various reasons. I guess I am inspired by the things that can stand thee test of time a bit, though I rarely achieve that myself, I’ve got a lot of years to work on it hopefully.

I like the story of Paul Jaray a lot, you should google him if you don’t know his work from the early '20’s. Norman Bel Geddes, Raymond Loewy, and the rest of the origional design rat pack if you will.

I like the simple approach of Edison’s to innovation.

And a good Philip K. Dick Novel, a Michel Gondry video, or a Charlie Kaufman written movie is always sure to inspire.

OK guest, I hope that answers your question. So what reasons motivated you to become a designer? Who inspires you? Open it up a bit.

damn. i’m already reading a novel, YO. people wonder about me.

why design? not sure. maybe childhood reinforcement. i was king of the playground sandbox.

DeChamp (“nude descending a staircase”, can’t beat it)

you mean Marcel Duchamp

your explanation is very beautiful, your ability for narration is impressive,
clearly you know how to express yourself, i admire you for that… however i won’t prize you for bringing Giugaro in the game… man his career was about friendships
not talent…but we should discuss about that, for now take it only as an opinion.

i guess that in my case it was the only way to extend the childhood, childhood for me represented a period where i was not only able to dream, but i was also allowed to.
so this was my way to escape the so called “reality”
my motivation was more closed to the ground, Tinker, MJ, the game…

today what is giving me the motivation to keep dreaming is that same childish
instinct to create new worlds… isn’'t it great to design for your self and find out that your feelings are constantly sheared by the consumers.

in the begining you try to reach your idols, but then you want to become one.

growing up i always just kind of did it without knowing it-

needed something to do a function that it didn’t do, figured out a way to make it happen. or, this doesn’t really look so good, what if it was more like this…

always liked to draw, build things, take them apart, electronics, color

inspiration comes from knowing you might make it better

thank goodness you can make a living doing id!

Like most people, I knew I wanted to do it before I knew what “It” was. Fortunately an art teacher told me about ID early in my senior year of high school.

What keeps me going is the fact that there is no one right answer. Much better than math :slight_smile: I also like the fact that you are constantly using both sides of your brain. I also agree with Yo in that seeing something you created being used is a real high. Two weeks ago I was on vacation in the Virgin Islands. The owner of the place I was staying had an infant that was using one of the pacifiers I designed. It is also amazing the look on a persons face when you say “I designed that”. And it always starts a conversation.

Of course if we could ask Sigmund Freud, he would probably say “There are so many men in Industrial Design because secretly they are envious that they can’t make babies. It is a creation envy” :smiling_imp:

For those who don’t get it the last comment was a joke.