can’t nail them to the wall

What does it mean to be a designer?

Everytime I get asked that question, I immediately say, “I don’t know.”
I don’t know. I’m shaking my head right now.

I’ve been trying to answer this question since the first day of this semester, when we had to fill out those ID surveys – or more like, I’ve been trying to concisely and eloquently answer this question since then.

I guess the true story goes a little like this: I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to major in for college, and I swore I wouldn’t apply anywhere until I knew what I wanted to major in because that would directly impact what school I would want to attend (duhhh). For the longest time I wanted to be involved in forensics, but I knew that the real career of forensic people is not as fun, varied, or glamorous as CSI. I didn’t think that I could be happy just doing fingerprints every day, day in and day out. So what else? I like art. I love science. I’m constantly thinking. Somehow, after many ‘what career is awesome for you!?’ quizes online, I noticed industrial design pop up. It sounded perfect.
[Just not for me personally at U of I because the program is small and located on the perimeter of the campus, they assign your major to you, and its difficult to switch if you decide if its not for you (despite being so well ranked nationally)((now you don’t have to ask))] [And yes, I do like the intense program at Georgia Tech, but perhaps more on that a different time…]

BUT none of this story answers the question of ‘what does it mean to be a designer?’
I still don’t know if I have the full answer [good thing its not due till Friday, eh?] but I do know that a designer has to make an impact. The only thing I can keep thinking of is the image of the red Frank Lloyd Wright tile in my mind. It still amazes me how powerful he was. People asked him to create homes and all of the things that belong inside of them; they trusted him to create the place where some of the most important and private part of their lives were lived. It awes me.
Part of the appeal of being a designer is the power, the fame, the impact, the ability to literally create change in life. But its more than that, too.
I guess perhaps I view it as a way of giving back. All of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs were inspired by nature, and they’re timeless. Talk about sustainable, right? Just something about the straight, plain horizontal lines and the beauty of natural materials really get me going.
I don’t know what it means to be a designer, but I do know that good designs get my heart beating faster and put a smile on my face, and that bad designs disgust me.
I want a signature tile of my own.
But that’s not all…

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