Eliana Tomaz

Design by Eliana Tomás | 2 – When did I become a professional designer?

Eliana Tomaz2 Comments
Sometimes I wonder exactly when I became a designer, as my life and professional experience did not follow the traditional path: college – internship – junior – senior – etc.
I wonder as well what type of designer I am, meaning what my contribution is to the design world.

Answering my first question, I guess I became a designer when I accepted for the first time an invitation to design someone’s house (project included knocking walls down, changing plumbing and flooring and other little technical details). The reason I say invitation is because I didn’t have any degree or credential to do so: only energy and enthusiasm to succeed. My previous professional experience was in marketing, project management and architectural specification and tendering. Luckily or not, I always worked in the architectural and engineering field. So, after my first success in the interior and architectural design world I started to call myself a designer, despite the lack of documentation saying so. My degree in spatial design came after almost five years styling and designing (real) spaces, spaces within spaces and other spaces.

About my second question: what is my contribution to the design world? I am a designer who needs to know everything in the design and execution process but only enjoys the beginning and the end, in other words, I fly high when I’m researching and drawing the concept and finalize details. And to be even more precise, this includes not only interiors but furniture as well, because I believe they are two inseparable bodies. For many years I didn’t understand this. I felt I had to do everything otherwise I wouldn’t be a designer. All these years taught me that a good professional focus is her/his strengths and improves them, because there’s always space to be better and better – it never ends, actually.

These two answers came to me exactly when I went to John Maeda’s talk. He explained to all of us his raison d’être – what exactly he’s good at. The way he articulated his conclusion was so clear that I adapted it to my professional path and finally found my own raison d’être too.

Everything I’m saying might sound very simple and straight to the point, but it’s not, at least for me it wasn’t.
These are the kind of things no university, tutor or employer can ever tell you. They are a combination of moments we have to go through like introspection, victories, failures, nonsense, eureka moments, sometimes even inertia periods rather than moments. Though, there’s one tip I can give you to survive the process: one can only grow up if is aware of it.

Thank you for reading my blog. I’m the worst writer in the world, but I found out to write helps me to understand who I am.

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