30 Days of Design / by mel leblond

Once again, JCJ will spend the month of April celebrating design - the process, the result and the sometimes frustrating, often exhilarating, thing that is the core of our practice. Over the course of the month, we will be engaging in a series of events and interactions.

If you’re interested, click here to take a look back at last year’s inaugural 30 Days of Design

Otherwise … here’s some of what we’ve got planned:

30 Days of Design:  April showers bring brain power.

Day 1 -  Take a selfie

No brainer.  

Every day we are surrounded by circumstances and events that inspire us to do what we do. Whether it is on the walk to the office or a simple glance through the window, conditions present themselves in ways which catch our eyes differently.  We see design not just as generated concepts, but as a larger process of communicating ideas. Social media is the perfect platform for this level of communication.  Between selfies and vines, or in the design world, sketches and models; just point, click and share! 

Day 2 - Design Competition Kick-Off

Design a vertical farm with a residential use and the related reorganization of the environment adjacent to the High Line in Manhattan. 

Okay so design, whether it is composing a photograph or conceptualizing a building, begins with challenging yourself to be creative.  In order to be creative, one must first take action.  Even if what we are creating is just a loose concept, the vehicle in which we communicate this idea requires a level of intention.  Seems simple enough, right?  Oh, and then we’ll present this idea to co-workers, and post it on the internet for all to see.  This is where the challenge becomes more apparent. 

Day 3 - Design Pin-Up

say "what if", and say it to others. Oh that's right, others!

As designers, we have the opportunity to interpret problems in front of us and discover unique solutions that not only solve the issues, but do so with the flare of creativity.  The strength behind this, is the word “WE.”  Design studios are planned around the notion of collaboration for a reason. The pursuit of design works best on a stage that is open and non-directional …. meaning, participation is encouraged and ideas develop from multiple vantage points.  Opening up the dialogue between creative minds establishes a larger range of analysis and the opportunity to voice different points of view to a single solution.  The solution then is not only achieved, but it is met with a larger scope of intent.     

Days 4 through 30

Experts sharing their knowledge and passion
Define both “what” and “if”, or learn about “what” and “if”.
Define learn…

It should not be a completely new idea that we as professionals do not know everything.  But it should be comforting to know that amongst all of us, there is a wide range of knowledge to tap into. As we strive to be a sought after design practice, we first should acknowledge that it is called a “practice” for a reason. Work evolves alongside the practice of developing our understanding and abilities - - including seeing the results and learning lessons from our work. Gathering together to share experiences, techniques and capabilities also creates a culture of design. 

Fostering this culture requires us to stay connected.  From small talk on the elevator, to team meetings in the office pin-up space, the way we interact with each other sets the framework for collaboration.  Encouraging one another to develop and express ideas can push us out of our comfort zones but it can also simultaneously help develop our skill sets - at project team and individual level.  As we strive to make collaboration a normal part of our practice, we gain exposure to other processes and approaches.  The application of which, reflects the overall brainpower behind every design.

There are at least 30 ways to get involved in design.  For 30 days, we’re going to highlight a few of them.