The User Is EVERYTHING
Early on, I landed a choice position in a top-tier graphic design company. The firm won so many awards that others begged them to drop out of the competitions. My peers and I admired innovative pioneers like Buckminster Fuller (see “geodesic dome” below). I became a rising star in my field, but I felt trapped inside a design-speak “bubble” while the end-users were kept outside.
Even after winning some awards, I had no clue who the end-users were. That gap didn’t seem to bother my peers, but it drove me crazy. Eventually, I took off to join a forestry crew just to be around men and women who were far from that bubble world. Twelve months of sweat, snow, sunburn and snakes did the trick.
Although my crewmates cared more about Budweiser beer than about the Bauhaus movement, we worked well together. Several such experiences turned the “general public” into real people for me.
My value as a designer comes from that connection to life outside of the design “bubble”.