Tony and the still broken heater blower

“Three years ago, I was out in my driveway attempting to fix a faulty heater blower in my ‘92 chevy, when I was suddenly struck by the inspiration to go buy a new car!”
Of course, this is a silly anecdote. I do, however, think that when you lack the knowledge of process, or the experience to “see” root causes, working with one’s hands can lack the reward the author discusses elsewhere in the book. Because my actions failed to solve the problem, my activity lacked any discernible outcome, other than that I wasn’t able to turn the heat on.
While I am having difficulty thinking of a specific instance, besides that of the junk car, I know that working with my hands frequently triggers inspiration. It is, in fact, the reason I keep a sketchbook, like many designers and sculptors, the ability to make ideas flow forth is not the problem, but capturing those ideas and executing them, that is the challenge.

The author talks about his friends methodical search for patterns, in this case patterns of wear, and I believe process is the framework we as designers use to know where to search for patterns, how to recognize and make sense of those patterns, and then eventually how to re-combine patterns into a response. Most literally, a search requires one to see, notice, parse, evaluate and choose. The experience of the engine builder allows him to see and notice evidence of root causes, parse the evidence into separate categories and evaluate which evidence is important and choose a course of action to pursue.

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One response to “Tony and the still broken heater blower

  1. Happy moments of creation

    Tibor Kalman is quoted as saying, “People seem to pursue money… some pursue a political agenda, some pursue fame. I pursue the blissful moment of coming up with an idea.” The process of making for me is two-fold. A way of exploring and understanding an idea or content and creating an artifact of that experience/knowledge. Although as a designer I feel that my work should be both interesting and be accessible, the experience behind the making of the design is difficult to communicate. Sure, I am able to go into a great deal of depth on why a particular design exceeds a given creative brief. But the details behind the steps I took to make the work are my own. I can, and use the process steps of creative, research, thumbnails, roughs and comps to sell the piece to and audience. The path I take within those waypoints are both my reward and punishment for my work. Reward in that this approach always me to create designs that stand on their own visual and verbal merits, punishment in that I often need to place myself in a stressful position to make something of value.

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