Back to Basics With Design

I was an impatient student, always preferring to get my hands dirty with the making rather than sit and learn the basics.

Many of us pause and evaluate how our lives are going at the start of a new year. The current trend, maybe even in place of new year’s resolutions, seems to be choosing a word for the year.

And I get it. It’s good to set an intention, a focus, a reminder of how we want to spend our time for a given period. Maybe one overarching word that encompasses any number of goals is easier to remember and stick with than a fistful of unrelated new year’s resolutions.

This is the first time I’ve chosen a word to set the tone for the rest of my year. I’ve chosen the word Design. I had an ah-ha moment about a week ago after realizing this is what has been missing from some of my jewelry pieces. There are times I get so caught up in experimenting with techniques that design becomes an afterthought. When this happens, the piece often still works, but sometimes it pretty much falls flat.

In addition to paying more attention to design upfront, I want to spend a good amount of time reexamining the elements of visual design like line, color, texture, shape and form as well as principles such as space, repetition, balance, contrast and unity. I learned these elements and principles as an art minor, of course. But I was an impatient student, always preferring to get my hands dirty with the making rather than sit and learn the basics.

The word Design will be useful on another level in both my work and personal life. When things need to change, we come up with a plan, right? Well, designing a few new systems is what I plan to do. I’ll share more about this in a future post.

As with any resolution or goal, saying it out loud does not make it happen. We are much better off sitting down and mapping out, or designing, systems that allow us to track our progress and feel like we’ve accomplished something when a goal or milestone is reached.

Likewise, having some sketches of a piece of jewelry I want to create not only gives me a physical representation to refer to as I’m working on the piece. It also helps me gauge whether I’ve reached the goal I set out with once the piece is finished.

Have you chosen a word to set the tone for your year? I’d love to hear what it is! Let me know in the comments.