Polished Objects

Build Understanding Logo 3One of the things which I want my students to practice when they are making stuff, whether virtually or tangibly, is the idea that a great design is not epiphany, but is the product of multiple iterations. In other words, making great things requires trial and error.

Valuing mistakes is sort of what this boils down to. We live at a time when we use tools (iPhones), we wear clothes (Nike), and we see (on TV), that the world around us is “fantastic.” Somehow we internalize this to mean that we should do fantastic stuff. What we write, what we make, what we do should be fantastic.

Of course the polished objects we use (Samsung phones, Levi jeans and Toyota cars) everyday are the result of careful research and development. “Development” means that the thing grows (in quality) over time as we “work on it.” We know that cognitively. But minute to minute we expect that WE should not require the development phase. We expect of ourselves that we are so amazing that what comes out of our mouth should be exemplary; what we draw should be brilliant; what we make should exceed all expectations.

But this is not so. Great art (Michelangelo’s “Pieta,” or Frank Lloud Wright’s buildings) requires sweat and tears to make. The product is the result of development. Development takes time.

So back to my students. I want them to learn that: (1) Making great stuff takes effort and time, as you develop your idea; (2) All early efforts are steps toward a better product; (3) Not stopping at the first iteration is the key to making great stuff.

[Images from http://www.cliparts.co%5D

 

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