Deliberateness by Design

I was never much of a Boy Scout growing up. My tiny stature, shy demeanor, lack of competitive zeal, and fear of heights/dark/woods/raccoons/etc. bought me a get-out-of-scouts-free card after only a couple of years. One thing that sticks in my head after all this time though — aside from those awesome bear and wolf patches — is the Boy Scout motto: be prepared. As a Boy Scout, I thought this meant we should carry Band-Aids around in case somebody got a boo boo. As an adult, however, I see that it means much more than just being ready for things to go wrong; we also have to be prepared for things to go right.

I recently went camping with some friends along the Chatooga River. This year marked our fourth annual Nature Fest, in which I and my adventure-prone cohorts embark into the woods for about a week to call the trees our home. Once a year for the last three years, we raid Wal-Mart for all their canned bake beans and Spam, drive to a place where our cell phones don’t work any more, and carry all of our necessities through an overgrown trail to a clearing several miles from the road. Aside from one group outing to an Italian Restaurant midweek, we spend the entire trip outdoors without the regular comforts of home (electricity, plumbing, air conditioning, Facebook feeds, etc.). We bathe in the river. We talk face-to-face. We cook food over fires made from fallen trees. We survive. We survive!

 

Our survival depends solely on our preparation. If we want to stay dry, we pack tarps. If we want to go hiking, we wear boots. If we want to make a fire from wet wood, we ask Jason Richburg — a man who could build a fire at the bottom of the ocean if he only had two sticks to rub together. I spent an entire morning helping some friends attempt to make a fire after a long night of rain and Jason did it successfully in less than an hour. As I watched him meticulously cut our available lumber into appropriately sized sticks and logs before ever touching a match, I realized that my method of throwing cardboard or receipts or twigs or branches or bark or anything else onto a starter log without a plan only resulted in a 3-minute starter log fire with some slightly-singed trash. It was Jason’s awareness and preparation before the fire that resulted in success.

As a designer, I find that I am required to have that very same deliberateness in everything I do. I gather the wood by brainstorming ideas, cut and pile it with thumbnail sketches, and ignite it by placing those ideas directly over the flame and moving them around until the coals are hot enough to stay lit. Design at its core is the act of problem solving. It demands more than a knowledge of fancy computer programs or typography — one must be able to get to the core of the problem and plan appropriately in order to find its proper solution. It requires me daily to be prepared for anything, whether good or bad. I guess that means I’m still a Boy Scout at heart.

This entry was written by archie, posted on August 1, 2012 at 11:18 am, filed under Design, Offerings, R-blog and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

One Response to “Deliberateness by Design”

  1. Sallie Hutcheson
    Posted on August 2, 2012 | Permalink

    Really loving your writing style, Kevin. Also, I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to look cooler than you do in your thumbnail photo…just sayin…