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Simple Pleasures

January 30th, 2010
3 Comments (Now closed)

There are moments in our lives when things are put into perspective—when we have an opportunity for clarity. These past few weeks have provided me with such an opportunity.

The second week of January I was very sick and missed an entire day of classes. I was able to get Basecamp messages to my students before I went to the ER. The students held critiques and worked in the studio even without me there (I have great students). I didn’t know that I was having an allergic reaction to medication that was suppose to be making me feel better. Instead of helping me, the medicine was causing me to not be able to hold any fluids. I spent the majority of the day getting IV fluids and meds put into me. Not fun but I was grateful I could receive the medical attention I needed.

Although not feeling 100%, I returned to the classroom the following week. I started most of my classes with a conversation about the simple pleasures of life and design. I realized that one simple pleasure that I often take for granted is just being able to have a drink of water. Not being able to consume any water without becoming violently ill and seeing the images of people in Haiti so in need of clean water really made an impact on me. I decided that every time I sipped a bit of water during the week, I would take a brief moment to enjoy the simple pleasure, the opportunity, and be grateful.

I shared this with my students and we talked about how easy it is to get wrapped up in deadlines, expectations, and everything else that comes along with being a designer. We discussed what made us want to be designers and what kept us motivated. We shared our simple pleasures of design. Our conversations lead to my students writing short blog posts about this topic. It’s still early in the semester and in theory we’re not as stressed out as we will probably be during mid-terms and finals. Hopefully, these posts will help us to remember the simple pleasures we find in design.

Some quotes from my junior and sophomore students about the simple pleasures they find in design.

“Simple pleasures can be big moments like a finished crisp product or just a beautiful line, typeface, or color that just seems so right when you place it in a design.”

“Doing something creative and expressive that doesn’t involve file saving and vectors is a lovely release.”

“All my life, I have been interested in adventures and mysteries. When I realized that I could walk down a road and observe the creativity around me, I realized that there was always an adventure and a mystery waiting.”

“I find simple pleasure in problem solving.”

“Packing my art supplies after a long night of working, a simple pleasure.”

“I really enjoy taking the time to make sure things are placed where they need to be, and making sure that the kerning is absolutely perfect.”

“Learning a new shortcut/key command/trick that I know will save me HOURS worth of work in the future. I know this may not apply to everyone, but I’m a student. This is huge.”

“It’s wonderful to be able to express what you love in a completely original way…”

“What everything boils down to is that the pleasure in art for me, comes from love and results in my expression of that love, whether it be my love for the sun through photography, my love for emotions through my journal, my love for my friends through letters, or my love for creativity, eloquence, innovation, and beauty through design.”

“I really love that fact that design actually improves our lives.”

My simple pleasures of design tend to change. I enjoy teaching students and sharing my experiences. This semester I am teaching Typography 1 and I’m rediscovering how wonderful drawing letters can be. I find pleasure in the fact that even though each of my days is filled with design, they bring new and varying challenges.

If you haven’t taken the time lately to think about the simple pleasures you find in design and the creative process, set aside a few minutes and do so. If you’re in an office setting, in a classroom, or with friends/family share what you discover.

What are your simple design pleasures?

Categories UTC, Education, Teaching, Students

Jessi Taylor says

Feb 1st, 2010 at 3:31 pm

What a timely post. It’s so easy to get caught up in daily stresses and to forget why we bother. I think I’ll add to the list: the simple pleasure of ideas. They’re rare and fragile and ought to be enjoyed before being met with cynicism and practicalities.

Saqib Ali says

Mar 31st, 2010 at 11:23 am

my simple design pleasure:

see the criticism roll-in after i release a new design/UI :)

(i love criticism. life is boring without critics)

OT: I read your ‘Contrast is King’ blogpost. Do you know of any linux app that offers the same functionality as Nocturne?