JHD Design School: Lesson 1, Visibility Pt 1

While I haven’t mentioned JHD Design School recently I’m quietly plugging away at it. I’m deep into Kim Kuhteubl’s book, again, to see what lessons it has to teach me at this point in my life.

Kim’s expertise is finding your true self, your value, and then letting other people see you. After working with her years ago I’d have designer’s asking me “yeah yeah yeah but can she guarantee I’ll be published.” And these designer’s wonder why their clients ask the same odd guarantees of them. Same as is everything in life, if you’re open to it then it’ll work for you. If you spend all of your time resisting and fighting then your experience will be less than ideal. BELIEVE ME I’m the queen of resisting and fighting. For me it’s a practice of trusting rather than an instinct.

What’s Impacting Me Right Now

Branding, honestly this one has fallen off the board for me and this book just made my thoughts clearer. WHICH IS THE POINT. Tim Ferris said he feels branding or “developing your brand” is one of those tasks that falls into this (not exact quote), Don’t waste time on something that doesn’t need to be done in the first place. Gretchen Rubin recently wrote a blog about how she no longer worries about having a “personal style”.
All of this to say is that I’ve spent years trying to figure out my own definable, specific, “signature” style. With all of the noise in my head of other people trying to do the exact same thing. Ignoring my own brain revolting when someone mentions their “signature lipstick” or their “signature nails”. I mean that’s just SO BORING. And if it really is a signature then won’t other people mention it, but not you?? I digress…
The point being that you are your brand. Your brand is you. It already is. You don’t have to work at it, just know yourself and make sure you make decisions that are true to yourself. (This is basically what Kim preaches anyway)

My “branding” keywords, what’s important to me not only in design but in life.

  • Quality (this matters to me. not everything has to be top of line but some does. and even the things that aren’t need to be decent quality. i’m not going to accept buying something cheap because it’s trendy & you only want to wear it once anyway. NO. don’t buy for the short term.)

  • Honesty (i want to know about products and I want you to know how i’m designing your house. honestly. open and honest.)

  • Thoughtful (i don’t do anything without thought. i always have a reason. and i’ll tell you my thought process and reasons when presenting your project. everything is thought about, everything is important.)

  • Mindful (in consideration of the reason, the purpose, and the intent of the project. no one design for six clients. are you moving in a couple year? then we’ll design everything with the ability to rework it as your new floorplan may require. we’ll design the architectural details with flexibility and appeal for a new homeowner. always mindful of how we each live our lives and how that can be made easier and more simple)

  • Detailed (details are what gets me up in the morning. i love to think through and past the issue. form follows function. but it must also be beautiful.)

  • Beauty (is this kitchen functioning at the highest level for cooking, is it also beautiful. what remains out on the counter, make sure it’s beautiful.)

I am going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life.
— Elsie de Wolfe

Done is Better than Perfect. This has been rolling around in my head for a while and it’s finally coming to life. I want perfect. I will look at an image of a beautiful room, beautiful, and hate the image because a picture on the wall is a bit off kilter. These things kill me. And they kill my joy because I let them. I focus on them. I obsess about them. But really, it’s time to get on with life.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
— Voltaire

In real life this “done is better than perfect” mantra is sending the final project photos to a magazine even if you think something could have been better. Or the client didn’t go for the fabulous art you suggested and there’s a mirror in its place instead. That’s the sort of thing that can keep a person stuck. Done is better than perfect. Do your best. Ship it. On to the next thing.

Next week I’ll finish up with Part II of visibility. Design School is feeling like a slower process than I intended. I’ve found as I’m working through the books that I’m really concentrating on absorbing and thinking through what it means to me. How the information can improve me professionally and improve my service to my clients.
Thank you for following along!