It All Begins With One Little Thought

Designing... where does it start.. is it that first line on the paper we draw? is it the first thought we have on a project? or is it somewhere in between or even before we get to that point. Well it all depends on the type of designer you are. Do you begin to design the moment you speak to your potential client for the first time or do you leave all thoughts at the door until you've seen the site and taken the full brief of a client. I am of the thinking immediately kind when it comes to design, by this i mean the moment a client rings with a potential new project my brain begins to tick over with ideas and concepts which grow as more information on the project comes to hand. This might seem like some wanly architect copout thought process but over the years of designing for my clients through employed & self employed portions of my working life it is something i have done over and over again. As the years have passed my ability to read what a client is going to ask (even through a phone conversation) has grown to the point that by the time i have my first site visit the project is pre-determined in my mind subject to a few refinements and any unforeseen site issues. From there for me it's simply a matter of transferring the design thoughts from my mind onto paper in a varied form of methods which eventually end up as a presentation sketch for the client.

These initial ideas are seeds of thought for me, they could be word the client mentions to do with the brief that reminds me of a previous project that had similar ideals or it could be a subconscious memory of a project i'd previously read about which will give that initial "lightbulb" moment that eventually evolves into the final concept. The question then is what & how do i make note of these initial seed moments and how do i ensure the "one little thought" that starts it all isn't lost. Usually i will have my notebook in front of me so i will jot it down. It could be a few words to trigger the memory of that seed moment or it could be in the form of a very limited and rough sketch that generally only i will understand, either way i do my best to note something down where possible to ensure that moment is not lost.

So what does this have to do with my current study, a great deal actually. Having spent the last 20 years designing not much more than houses (new, renovations & townhouses) and the odd small commercial space & while i've enjoyed doing that and learnt a lot over the years it has inhibited my creativity beyond those aspects. Studying and working on varied design responses outside the realm of residential design has pushed my creativity in a way that it hasn't been pushed before. It has forced me to leave the comfort zone i had created and shown me that there is a whole world of wonderful boundaries i can push with regards to design. The impact on my client work is apparent even at this early stage and i know it will only grow as i delve deeper into my study. On the flip side my years of experience in the industry have also helped me establish a good working base when it comes to those initial design thoughts for the assignments that have been put in front of me to this point. So it is a bit of a two way street when you look at it from that angle and it is a street of design i am thoroughly enjoying and will continue to enjoy and to that i now say "bring on design problems!"