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Day 49

Day 49

I've changed what I've done every two or three years. It's all design, the form just changes.

— Frank Chimero

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We first featured Frank Chimero on Day 24 and lucky for us he had some time to reflect on the changes in his practice, philosophies, and the lenses we use to understand ourselves.

Frank has defined himself as a designer, previously as an illustrator, and now in anticipation of the release of his first book, The Shape of Design, a writer. He said, “I think it’s ok for people to pivot with their work. If I look at my career. I’ve changed what I’ve done every two or three years. It’s all design, the form just changes.”

The idea that designers can pivot, adapt, and prioritize new skills as opportunities arise is one of the most exciting things about practicing design today. We have the freedom to let our interests expand and take us in new directions. Frank cites philosophy, anthropology, and history as interests that are important to him. We asked him how these disciplines influence his practice, he said:

“I think philosophy, anthropology, and history are important, design or no. These are the lenses we use to understand ourselves and our world. It’s how we think about what makes the good life so good. That’s not a designer’s problem, that’s a human problem.”

Thinking about design problems as human problems makes us more empathetic to the reasons why we make, and who we are making things for. We should create in order to solve bigger problems and connect emotionally with the person on the other end. We build things, learn from our mistakes, glean morsels of insight from our experiences, and move on to the next thing—hopefully a little wiser. To wrap up our conversations with our contributors we ask the question, if you had to choose one: Kern or Burn? We love Frank’s response.

“Burn. Tear it to the ground and build it back up better.”

More thoughts from Frank on “the stuff that makes life big” to come in our printed publication. We can’t wait for you to read them.