Eliana Tomaz

Design by Eliana Tomás | 1 – Am I a designer?

Eliana Tomaz2 Comments
First of all I would like to thank everyone for the fantastic feedback on my previous post: great comments, emails and tête-à-tête discussions. You all make me feel full of energy and proud to carry on my little side project: this blog.

As I said before I want to post every Wednesday a column about my design and my business, in other words what design and business means to me and how we, creative beings, can contribute to this world we live in, starting within our own world.

Going back to what John Maeda debated about last week I want to transcribe the way he defined designers and artists.

Very straight to the point he basically said:

Designers are constructive people – problem solvers, communicative, understand people’s needs, make things happen.
Artists are destructive people – if they want to come up with a sculpture made out of the most corrosive material, no matter what that makes to the environment or the people around them; it doesn’t matter because they’ll do whatever it takes to achieve that moment of narcissism believe.

Better definition then this one I can’t find. Can you?

(I feel the need to make a parenthesis here: I am not criticizing anyone; I’m just very naively describing what the main difference is between a designer and an artist. And I believe it’s because of this great difference that these two “types of professionals” can contribute so much to the world by combining strengths and knowledge in different fields.)

Now, this is exactly where I answer one of my biggest existentialism questions: Am I a designer? Yes I am. I remember a few years ago talking to a few people about this subject and on the back of my mind I had this strong believe: “one thing I’m sure is that I’m not an artist. I don’t have an artistic soul. I know that I am a designer – period” And many times I was told something like: “Eli, don’t be so ‘narrow minded’. If you can’t say why, it’s maybe because you are!!!” – That time I couldn’t define things the way John Maeda did. I could only hear what was within me. I could feel it so deeply but I couldn’t theorize, which has been always my problem. I can’t theorize what I feel; probably no creative one can, actually. And let me take this opportunity to say that I really hate when I have to backup my believes with philosophers and other thinkers, otherwise my opinion is worthless. Thinkers are the ones I find inspiration to think and question why and why not, not to quote what they say.

A designer is not only the one able to draw, hand sketch or talk about ergonomics and materials. She & he is as well someone who can apply the creative thinking and leadership to different fields, someone who can understand and solve problems within businesses without the need to draw sections, plans or perspectives. The way a designer (or an artist) thinks doesn’t follow standard rules or mathematical methods. It follows intuition and emotion. Because creativity is a free mind, fearless with no preconceptions, the world can really benefit from it. As I commented on my first post of these series, the rigid world needs to bend a bit towards us, as well as we need to bend to it.

For now I leave my wish as a proud designer: give us the opportunity to prove it all. Somewhere in between is the beginning to find solutions for old problems.


PS – The more I read this column, the more it sounds a bit clumsy. Apologies for that, but that’s the way I feel things – back and forward thoughts on a curved line - that’s the way.

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John Maeda @ The V&A Talking About Creative Leadership – Values Based in Art + Design.