A Designer's Education- A Short Story
I was in my early twenties. After having spent 4 1/2 years as an undergrad taking art and biology courses with the thought of becoming a medical illustrator, I now found myself in an industrial design masters program at NC State. I had no clue what a designer was supposed to do. Nor had I had any instruction aimed specifically at learning how to think, how to problem solve. When I asked our program head, Vince Foote, how to be a good designer, he replied: "You have to think like an artist, and open yourself to the world. When you do, your highs will be higher, your lows will be lower, but life will be richer." And I learned later that a richer life means you have a deeper well to draw from when designing, when problem solving. I also learned that design thinking is a process, one readily applicable to a wide range of problems, even those outside the realm of design. Vince once told us that the design process is a tool for coping with change. That has, definitively, been my experience in a life, and world, writhing with change.
Design thinking and the design process are the foundation of my career, and a life long love of learning. My decision to become a designer, made within hours of visiting the school and sitting in on my first critique, was among the best and most crucial of my life. As a result, I have been privileged to have worked on fascinating projects ranging from NASA stowage studies as an industrial designer at Design Edge in Houston, to helping develop narrative art for science and technology stories at National Geographic as an art director, to teaching design and illustration at NC State, Corcoran School of Art and Design, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism. I have, more importantly, been privileged to have worked with and learned from many incredibly smart, capable and generous individuals in many fields, including design, art, journalism, engineering, business and education.
Please review my work, and should you need a single illustration, a producer for a long term project, or instruction in design and illustration, please contact me. I would be delighted to put the collective experience of my many benefactors to work, for you.