Relativity and Proportionality in Design School

Let me start out saying this...

Designers don't solve math problems (but we could), we don't apply Newtonian mechanics (who wants to do that anyway?), and we don't have a given solution to reach before we start (wait...what).  In fact, in design school, we go searching for our own problems...in fact, we hunt for them.  Then we search for a solution.  Sounds kind of backwards right?  

Well, this is why we put so much of ourselves into our projects.  We bring these problems upon ourselves, with no clear way in which to solve them, no proven theory, and we give it our all.  Sometimes its a shot in the dark, but all the time it takes more than one person to solve these problems.  So we bare our souls - show all our work, our thought processes, our grand attempts at a solution - to those around us for feedback.  

This open environment is good because you can learn from the person next to you, but you can also easily fall into the trap of comparison.  Comparing every line you draw, every idea, every layout, to those around you.  When used correctly, this comparison will make you work harder, longer, and smarter.  Even then, it can be disheartening to find out that 10 hours of sketching a day hasn't made me any better than the guy who does it 1 hour a day.  

Comparison will drive you crazy.

Yeah I almost crashed one day.  It's a constant battle; one you have to fight everyday, but the thing that helps me fight is is my theory of proportionality and relativity in design.  (Disclaimer: when I looked these words up they were basically the same definition but uhm, I'm warping it to fit with my theory anyway.)

rel∙a∙tive

/'relǝdiv/

adjective

considered in relation to something else.

synonyms: comparative, respective, comparable

Relativity in design school is when you are constantly comparing yourself to someone else.  You always consider your abilities, your drawings, your ideas, and maybe even your behavior in relation to someone else.  Then, what makes it worse, is you start do do exactly what they do in hopes of achieving their results for yourself.   

That happened to me last semester.  I stayed up until 4am doing work like a buddy of mine, I would check out way more books than I could even read or skim, and I stopped working out so I could be in the studio 24/7 because design is round the clock work.  I did this because these were proven working theories for people I knew.  They were knocking sh** out and it looked great.  And I will say, I did some great work, but sheesh was I unhappy.  I was tired, depressed, getting cellulite, oh my gosh.  It was bad.  The means didn't justify the ends because it just didn't fit me...it wasn't me.  

I had to sit myself down and talk to myself like...girl...

Juh stahhp. - JK

You'll never be the person next to you...why?  Because you weren't made that way.  I have different things that motivate me, make the tick, and different methods that work for me.  Society and the world want us to think the same, assimilate, globalize, all that jargon, but we all have different influences, perspectives, advantages, and disadvantages.  We are all programmed differently, so in accepting those differences in all aspects of my life, I realized that I must be proportional.  

pro∙por∙tion∙al

/prǝ'pôrSH(ǝ)n(ǝ)l/

adjective

corresponding in size or amount to something else; having a constant ration to another quantity.

I must live in proportion with myself.  Ten hours a day of sketching will drive me crazy, but I can give a good hard 2 hours and get something out of it.  I don't have a natural knack for graphic design, so I may need 10 books from the library, 5 projects, and frequent feedback to get better at it.  I can't stay up past 1am and still be productive, I need 7-8 hours of sleep, so no, I can't crank out a design project with my friend 24 hours before the due date because you know why?  I wasn't built for that crap.  So to explain what I have been saying in short, I've provided a few here's a few formulas for you to stay stay in proportion with yourself.

You: Your actions

Yourself yesterday: Yourself today

Your capability: Your potential

Your weaknesses: Your resources

Your emotions: Your support system

Your energy: Your time 

At the end of the day, what's right for you may be wrong for another.  And what's wrong for you, may be right for another.

Let's all live proportional lives, not relative lives.  Live your life and be your best.

-JK