This question crossed my mind enough times recently that I went into the DESK archives to find my own answer. To my surprise, there wasn’t one. I’ve never written about it, not until today.
It's one of those questions you only ask yourself when you've lost sight of the obvious answer – one you never had to say because it’s so innate, it's what drives you every day to get up in the morning.
So when I stopped to think deeply about it, really dig into my desires and what motivates me to do what I do, I wondered if I would still connect with the answer. As it turns out, it's not something I could change about myself even if I wanted to.
To me, being a designer means I have a strong urge to design absolutely everything around me. It's as simple as that.
It’s the unexplainable desire to touch my surroundings and give them a little bit of myself, even if it is just for myself or my family.
My goal in life is to design everything I want to change around me. To design anything I believe should be redesigned, reimagined or improved. I want my own house to be designed by myself. I want to own a motorcycle I designed by myself. The shoes I wear, designed myself. My website, my logo, my tools, designed by me.
Of course it is impossible to design everything myself, but that’s not even the point. It’s about the dream, the intention, the urge to do it anyway and take it as far as I can to be where I want it to be. Shoot for the moon, land somewhere around the stars kind of attitude.
I’m not entirely sure. Maybe that’s why I’ve chosen to become a designer, or why design has chosen me to live in its prison. A friend of mine (thank you, Stanley) mentioned design is about control for him. And perhaps there’s a tiny part of my own answer in there. I want control over my own surroundings. My process, my environment, everything. Ultimately, I want freedom. The freedom to break out and make things the way I want them to be. The freedom to ask, “But what would it look like if I’d do it?” This is where art and design meet.
One of my all-time inspirations is Ray and Charles Eames. They’ve lived what I aspire to do. They designed their own house, their own furniture, their own movies, identities, posters, architecture… anything and everything. There was no limit to their imagination and no particular “style” they followed. You couldn’t box them in. It seemed as if all they wanted to do was mold the world around them to fit who they are. Some of these design pieces landed in our hands, available to the public to enjoy. Yet more of the things they both designed were designed only for themselves, for their own satisfaction and enjoyment. And that’s what I love about it.
This is what gets me up in the morning. My curiosity and desire to design what I see around me. To learn in the process of it, and enjoy the freedom of knowing that I can, if I want to. I can’t imagine any other profession that would give me the possibilities of many more professions while still staying within my own field. And I’m making full use of it.
Will my design be perfect, the best version of that thing? Not necessarily. But it will be for me.