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TV's Good Design Lessons
Like many, I’m completely sucked into Project Runway. This is one of my favorite shows on television, not only for the drama, but for how it features design. Last night was one of my favorites because it showed several key lessons I’ve learned about design:
- The difference between being talented and being a designer is context. Santino is very talented, but his lingerie collection sucked terribly. Why? It looked like something out of a music video, like costumes. Taken out of context of the assignment, they are neat pieces. However, once you start considering that someone would purchase and wear it, presumably as a prelude to sex, the line ends up looking silly. To be a good designer, you have to know what the end goal is. A good example of this is in The Cheese Monkeys, Chip Kidd’s fictional design professor takes his class out to the interstate and gives them a marker and a piece of posterboard, telling them to design the best sign to get them home. Then he leaves. None of the signs were award-winning, but every student got home eventually. They all passed the assignment.
- Integrity is not rewarded. I’m really happy Daniel did the right thing, but if you fall on your sword and take the blame for a group effort, then realize that the blame is what you’ll get. I’ve never, ever seen nobility celebrated. Ever. I wish it were any other way, but it isn’t. I’ve seen many people take blame on, sometimes undeservedly, and they usually end up fired or disgraced in some other manner. If you want to get ahead and keep your integrity, you have to be the most talented designer in the room. Daniel wasn’t the most talented designer among the two left. He’s gone. Nobility gets you the boot.
The second lesson is probably the most painful to learn. I’m sure this lesson is applicable in every other field, but it stings more in a profession where your personal talent and passion is tied so closely to your job.
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