Thursday, April 28, 2011

Designing GF Design

Would the mental image of a row of sweaty, naked fat guys in white towels enable you to develop great design ideas? No, me neither, which is why I'd like to eliminate that particular image that my new studio space puts into my head.

You may have read one of my previous posts about the total re-design of my studio space.  I had the opportunity to start from scratch in a new room, and to redesign the space to fit my specific needs and the work pattern of my three businesses.  It was great...I got it just the way I wanted!  And then, we moved.  Time to start over!  It was frustrating at first, for about a millisecond. I LOVE to design so I have taken this new space as an opportunity for another personal design project.  And what designer wouldn't love to tailor a space just for their work?!

My new space is in the basement, which is a bit of a "con" since it gets chilly during those Minnesota winters, and I have many 4, 6, 8, and million-legged uninvited "friends" who like to visit me. (But, it also has huge, glass sliding doors that showcase our 120 feet of lakeshore, so yeah, I think I can throw on a sweatshirt and live with a few bugs.)

The big distraction for me right now is the ceiling, which is covered in cedar paneling.  I am painting it white.  Sure, cedar is nice wood, and blah blah blah. Now that that's out of your system, here is why cedar is distracting to me, and why I opened this post with that...uh...very graphic image.  Cedar lined walls/ceilings make me feel like I'm in a giant sauna.  Or maybe a humidor.  Which would be GREAT if I were a sauna or humidor designer, mind you, but I am not.  I am a product and retail fixture designer. Neither Cuban stogies nor large, sweaty men with their nether regions wrapped in towels belong in a design studio.  At least not in mine. 

And it's not just a visual distraction.  The cedar smell, coupled with my two large farting dogs who nap in here occasionally, brings back childhood memories of cleaning out my hamster cage.  Yes, I will admit that since childhood I have had a sickeningly keen sense of smell, and consider it both a blessing and a curse.  Nevertheless, stinky feces-soaked cedar shavings are not so conducive to my generation of cutting edge design concepts.

We all have different things that inspire and distract us.  While I won't speak for everyone, I think it's safe to say that the environment is of utmost importance to a designer.  The environment that designers work in is directly linked to their productivity, their output, and even their overall mood.   People who work in other professions I'm sure think this is all a farce...After all, if an accountant demanded that his walls be painted PMS384 in order to perform his calculations accurately, he'd be laughed out of the room! Those crazy "artsy fartsy" people just use that as an excuse to get a stereo system and those fancy "incandescent" light bulbs in their offices, right?! WRONG!  [by the way, don't ever, EVER call me "artsy fartsy"]

The brain of the designer is just not quite the same as a non-designer.  Working in a poorly designed space for a designer is like putting that accountant in a room with walls covered with calculations that all have the incorrect answers.  Incredibly. Distracting.

As a designer, I am CONSTANTLY analyzing and mentally re-designing whatever environment I am in and whatever object I come in contact with.  This is a natural, ingrained process that has always been and will always be a part of me.  I have embraced it and made a thriving career of it.  But, sometimes it can be distracting, and since my job is to create awesome design for my clients, my space MUST be a place that stimulates me creatively and allows fresh ideas to flow...not to distract me with bad design elements.  Eliminating these bad design elements enables my creative brain to focus on my clients' needs.

And so, off I go to re-design a new space to suit my needs and those of my businesses. I am excited to be starting "fresh" again, and will surely be posting photos as they come, so stay tuned!!