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Arming ourselves with the design and communication skills necessary to bring about positive change. Advertising. Graphic Design. Industrial Design. Environmental Design. Automotive Design.

Monday, October 17, 2005

broad side of a narrow barn


I have to apologize for my lack of entries the last couple of weeks. I ran into a torrential bout of creative block. I don't know if I want to drum up the reasons it happened--partly because I don't fully understand why it came about, partly I don't want to jinx myself back in to it. The point is, Mix Master Mike is back with an all new scratch routine.

This could turn in to a "share your creative block maladies and cures" call for entries. If you want to go in to that, fine. I'd like to hear it. But in a way, it's kind of personal, so I don't expect to hear many responses. Instead, I'd rather delve into a topic that I keep referencing, and therefore battling. The issue of wide versus narrow experience.

As some of you may well know, I've been wading through "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance." Not that I don't enjoy the trawl, I really do. But this book may be, at least in part, responsible for my little creative breakdown. I'm not sure that my professor fully understood the implications this book presents, especially in light of our current charge to define our design philosophies. Perhaps he does. Perhaps the breakdown process is integral to enlightenment. I don't doubt it, but this isn't what I want to go in to. I want to explore the two methods that we as designers go through to achieve daily design enlightenment.

I'll try and keep this fairly short, but as I see it (and the author hints at) there are two ways to research and then communicate. The first is through very narrow yet focused experimentation in which one immerses himself entirely in a singular subject. He then is able to effectively communicate his ideas because he finds a universal truth within that single matter. An example would be a scientist who studies a specific nucleotide sequence on genes in fruit flies and then applies it to all genetic make-up. The second is through very broad experimentation where one obtains instances of truth from many varied sources. He is then able to communicate based on his relative understanding of universal truth compiled from all sources. An example would be a photographer who shoots people all over the world laughing.

What works for you? Is it solely one or the other, or a combination of the two? Do the results vary based on your methods, or do you reach similar conclusions? Is one more conducive to romantic thought? Classical thought? Or do you have a more accurate way of describing these methods? Holla back yungins.