The cross-disciplinary aspects inherent in design have always fascinated me. Although I trained as a graphic designer, I’ve always been eager to see what my friends in architecture school are working on, or what new project IDEO is putting out there. The conceptual aspects of design—those projects that don’t necessarily come to fruition, but are nonetheless extremely valuable exercises in design thinking—are what keep me excited. It is these lateral connections which I believe enrich my worldview, and constantly force me to rethink my understanding of what exactly design is and how it affects us as a society.
Efficiency is something that I’ve also come to think about more and more. How can we begin to make more sustainable products? How can we cut down on purely one-use goods (plastic straws have become a symbol of pure waste to me)? How can we begin to consume less while still maintaining our standard of living? Will there ever be a time when people might be willing to pay a bit more for a product that will last them longer (and hopefully begin an end to the rampant planned obsolescence seen in products today), and to that end, is it possible to get people to cherish items as heirlooms of the future?
Designers ultimately deal with systems. It is through systematic thinking and problem solving that we derive solutions to puzzles both large and small; our heads and our hands work in equal measure to construct the mental scaffolding that ultimately become the basis for how we physically shape our environment. The deeper that we understand our world, understand its cultures, and understand each other, the more informed, efficient, and resonant these systems can become.
Part of my submission to SVA’s 2012 Arts Abroad program.