Where to begin

1 May, 2014

I have two nephews, the oldest of which has just reached that beautiful impressionable age at which the topic of phase is WHY? And so I thought, what happens if he asks me what I do, and why! How would I explain to a 7 year-old how I see design. How do I even begin to tell him how and why I became a designer. Well maybe the best way I thought, as with anything, is to begin with a story.

My Dad has always loved doing bits around the home – growing things, painting this, reworking that, building furniture and sheds from scratch. He was a factory worker, a practical man born and bred. He worked with his hands, visual measurements, logical plans, and ultimately simple craftsmanship.

Whenever he did things I would always find myself watching. He would say "No, no Ducky. You just watch.' So I did. I watched, time and time again. Patiently awaiting my turn to try. Then one day, he was about to paint our shed door but stood looking hesitant. I offered to paint it for him. After a few mumbling doubts he agreed.'But we only have blue or yellow paint' he said. I looked at the colours and could understand his hesitation. It was a dreary blue and an acidic yellow. And so it was here that I quite naturally attempted to engage my Dad in a different way of thinking, a different way of seeing things.'Why don't we paint it green dad?' He looked at me perplexed. 'But Pat, we only got blue or yellow'. I smiled and explained, 'trust me dad, it will work'. He trusted me then, and I painted for him a unique and beautiful green shed door. There wasn't another one like it anywhere! That's kind of how I got here - an eye for looking at the same things as someone else but seeing something different. Perception is ours. Part of being a designer is finding your way of sharing that with others.