Bruce Nussbaum writes an enlightening article on design and designers over at Business Week Online. David Armano takes the post and deftly illustrates it. I was drawn into expressing an opinion on design by both my infatuation with the raw concept and something that Bruce said:
But how do people who've spent a lifetime using their left-brain, suddenly shift to using both their left and their right?
Well Bruce, this was me at the dawn of my experience with the Internet in 1996. I was a complete stranger to my right brain with one brief exception over thirty years ago when Rosemary and I began to date. She was a prolific poet. I gave it a try, wrote a couple of poems and quickly scurried back to the comfy confines of my left brain...until the Internet. For two years I wrote stories and engaged in conversation on other folk's websites. I didn't think of myself as a writer, only as someone who wanted to express an opinion and ventured to the land beyond delight when others engaged back in conversation. And then Rick Levine and the boys rode into town on a glorious white stallion: The Cluetrain Manifesto
I was not alone in the universe. I reveled in the mutual thoughts of others who also signed the 95 Thesis statement. So for me, I became acquainted with my right brain through conversation online with others. The Cluetrain Manifesto validated my beliefs. Not to mention it stirred emotional thoughts of revolution, thoughts of slaying the ivory tower dwelling ole coot beasts of status-quo business, but that's another story...
So I continued to write, by this time on my own site. Each comment gave me a toe hold to move up higher and inspired confidence on my climb towards the peak of the cliff side of clear articulation. No longer did I scurry back to my left brain. Instead, I lingered around and drank the sweet wine of folks like Roy Williams. Roy, through his Wizard of Ads trilogy, inspired me to Free the Beagle, get to better know my right brain and while there, play. Although dormant to my conscious at the time, Roy also introduced me to the concept of design. The illustration, texture and design of his books created an emotional bond for me to his content. It created an experience.
Dan Pink said I could be a designer. God, did this liberate my soul! I have the artistic ability of a pile of dirt. But I have the deep appreciation for design as a collector of fine art does for his gallery. Dan suggests creating a design notebook, capturing samples of both good and bad design. The more I tuned into design, the more I craved. I believe that this practice helps to build texture into my writing. For me to reach that level of emotional bonding that Roy Williams effuses though, I'll need to connect with an illustrator, whose inevitable partnership lies within my future.
For me, design is a way to broaden my universe. I can weave disparate concepts and ideas into my thought patterns and expand my way of thinking. Design also presents an opportunity to broaden my being through connections that emotionalize and bring life to inanimate stuff.