The Shape of Design - by Frank Chimero




my notes:

What is the marker of good design? It moves.

The designer is tasked to loosely organize and arrange this movement.

The lightness and joy afforded by creating things suggests that we dance into the future.

Design is imagining a future and working toward it with intelligence and cleverness.

It is a practice built upon making things for other people.

It is a dance of switching contexts.

We get closer to the wisdom of other people by having them explain their decisions.

The creative process is a ladder, where the bottom rung is the blank page and the top rung the final piece. But each step of the ladder is equal parts.

Talking about these middle rungs allows a transfer of knowledge that spreads past the lines that divide the many creative disciplines.

People, especially children, will not willingly do what we teach them unless they are shown the joys of doing so.

A sunflower seed and a solar system are the same thing; they both are whole systems.

Hand axes record the first moment that we understood that the world was malleable.

Beauty is a special form of craft that goes beyond making something work better.

“Do not make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both, do not hesitate to make it beautiful.” - Shaker proverb

Craft is a love letter from the maker.

When we build, we take bits of others’ work and fuse them to our own choices to see if alchemy occurs.

Quality may be elusive, but stupidity is always easily accessible; absurdity is fine, maybe even desired.

Every idea you have after this one might be better.

Improvisation is a messy ordeal, wasteful in its output, and it should be accepted as such.

Limitations allow us to get to work without having to wait for a muse to show up.

A short walk is more effective in coming up with an idea than pouring all the coffee in the world down your gullet.

How nice it would be to get into a plane and fly over our work: we’d see some patterns and be able to deduce a structure that would let us improvise.

Escaping the paper means that music can be closer to the message.

Sometimes the results of graceful rethinking can be though of as magic, because it produces something we previously thought to be impossible.

The root of our practice is located in the usefulness of the work, not the form that it takes.

The creative misfits ask their questions to realize the line’s true location, and conclude that there is enough room for a giant leap forward.

A train station that doesn’t create a lust for exploration is flawed.

The most useful bridges allow traffic to go both ways.

The tightrope walker finds his balance by keeping his momentum.

The success of one design does not suggest that others are less useful or not as good.

The best designs act as a form of loosely composed, responsive movement, and seeks to have all the adjacent elements sway together.

There is an opportunity to tell a story whenever time can be assumed and pace can be controlled.

Stories with elevation let us empathize.

The stories moves, and with each telling, it keeps a hint of the wisp of the last voice that told it, and retains a but of the luster of the last shared moment it made.

One of the best opportunities to delight the audience is when something goes wrong.

Every requirement is an opportunity for delight, even the ugly ones.

We get to be in the presence of our work, to sit and steal the scent of the things we love in order to improve what we make.

We feel an obligation to use our natural resources to build and make, to mold and shape the world around us for the betterment of others.

The line between thoughtfully buying a gift and just giving the money to someone relates to the reason why so many creative individuals feel it necessary to do things the long, hard, stupid way.

Design requires movement; the work must be shared, the ideas must move. A business card that stays in its owner’s pocket is no good.

The desire to produce great work will never leave the one making it, because of their sense of obligation to their gift. The song must be sung.

It’s the words of others that teach us to speak.

We are frequently afforded the privilege to fill another’s needs and desires.