Who am I – A Designer or Engineer ?

    “How Design intersects Technology ”                                                      

 The Question !

I have always been asked, how come I design when I’m an engineer ? What exactly are you planning of doing? Well I think I have an answer.

“What do you want to be?” and “What do you enjoy doing most?”

Two frequent questions that knock our doors at unprecedented moments of life.  Answering them is not a challenge, but rather a quest. How often do we give these two questions a thought? At a certain level of comparison shouldn’t these two questions have answers that interlink somewhere? Settling down to facts, every person wants to be “The Man on the Job” who he is confident of living up to and most importantly happy to be.  This is the very stage in life where a cold war is triggered within our own state of existence. The Heart and the Mind two unwilling competitors who don’t give in without a fight. Our Heart and Mind are said to have a brain of their own. Not literally. Start on Career –The toughest decisions you have to make. Initialize your thought process, and it should unwind something like this.

The Mind: Money, fame, respect, physical ability and mental capacity.

The Heart: Happiness, enjoyment, least stress, maximum confidence.

The Unsynchronized heart and mind !

These are the tags they shuffle our decisions through. Yes though they seem intertwined, they are a dense network that stimulates our final conclusion after analysis over past, future and the current phase. The line drawn here is thick and still not noticed by many. The unsynchronized phase of events that kick-off and are yet to be followed is just the start to this undesired war.  Why is it so, the lack of co-ordination between the two most essential units we live with? I am no doctor or scientist, nor do you need one to explain what I am going to say. Channels: Yes both these opponents draw in and out through different channels.

The mind is conditioned by random events and facts every moment through knowledge, voice and imagery that it picks up perpetually. It is a dependent kit vulnerable to sudden change in opinion. It takes a call after analysis to suit the current needs. The Heart on the other hand:  Well hard to tame. Well concealed within, the only bugs that it’s shield can’t withstand are emotions. The heart channels emotions related to various events and happening of the past and present. It subjects the decisions to what our body would emotionally prefer. Whereas our mind channelized to our body’s materialistic and most concerned needs. Not all are that lucky to have a friendly heart and mind. They both work at the same moment but in different directions and are trying to win the race which has no only one winner. The Heart decides what we love doing, whereas the Mind decides what we want to be. (In my opinion)

Story Of my Life !

Today, I believe the Mind is the winner. Ask an individual what he wants to be in a professional career. You will hear the most frequent bloom streams like Law, Medicine, and Engineering. Definitely nothing wrong in that. But don’t you think so many people out there want to be the same person? Are all happy to be this or are they just flowing with mainstream conventions. I am astonished by the fact  thousands of people out there, share the same dream. Is that what they want to be? Or are they happy to be. The point I am trying to make is the answer to the two questions: Have all these people convinced their Heart and Mind. Or are they living a war deep within their thoughts. Whose dream are they really living? Couldn’t our talent, happiness, ability and desire just patch like a big puzzle to show us our dream. I love my ability to be creative in terms of art, but I want to be a person who is completely equipped with the knowledge to pursue a career in Computers. (I suppose  at least 6 out of 10 people are in a similar boat!)

Ok I am in Engineering and they definitely don’t teach drawing or creativity. Thought process ends here for me. The mind wins since it suggested that I get into the Tech field. The heart lost since I yet hadn’t seen a way to bring out my creativity. Not that I wasn’t happy but it wasn’t to my heart’s content. How on earth was I supposed to be happy with this decision? I had to find a way to correlate by reason being here and possible vents for my talent. Seeing how talented I was in designing people bombarded me with statements saying I should have pursued another stream. How do I convince them that I love doing that but I want to be an Engineer.  By now you’ll have reached a stage where you think I am completely retarded or confused. Yes, that was a stage, but no longer. Since

This is the part where I think I’m awesome ! – My Story

I was unlucky to have a “Unfriendly heart and mind”. I figured I would have to negotiate a way out. Simple terms, link two different opinions and draw a final conclusion which I take creditability for. Now I am in a technical phase, constantly surrounded by things I like and don’t. I want to be able to pull out my creative strings along. After almost a year of relating with my subjects that I will encounter, a little personal research, guidance and help. The verdict was made. Digital media & design: The intersection of design and technology for me. It took a lot to convince myself what I had chosen was right or wrong? The decision I made is supported by what my heart says and also my mind suggest. Over the past years I have studied every thing from Microprocessors to Operating systems and web engineering & planning. There are certain areas I want to go back to and then there are certain I don’t want to. Apart from that, it’s close to around 4 years since I bagged my first client as a freelance designer. Over the years, I have evolved through several experiences of working with start-ups, NGO, agencies and even clients from hell. Print was like the best thing that happened to me. For a while at least. I was good with communication design on paper, but wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to take it to the next level. That’s where the magic happened.

I moved on to web. The first 2 years with web were scary. I was still learning to adapt and design for it. I refrained from any client projects till I felt I had a strong base in web to be able to deliver for a price. I watched, learnt and experimented. To my luck, the semester in college at that very moment had me involved in database and web technology concepts and programs. It aided my learning process. Soon I joined a group of freelance developers who primarily worked on web applications and products. The idea was simple. They needed a design consultant for print. I needed to learn the tricks when it came to web. Over the period of time, I worked on several projects with them. Designing simple UI elements to website banners and forms, I gradually watched what they did and how they did it. I call this phase visual learning. I never understood how the coded at first. I watched, went home, tried, failed,asked again, watched, tried again, partly successful, repeat. I enjoyed every bit of it. Few months down the line, I pulled off my first website with PHP and Database. Few months later, dabbled in WordPress and launched my own portfolio website. It’s been a long trip. Print got lost somewhere in there. I realized I was happy with where I was heading but yet not fully convinced. I wanted that exact point of intersection of design and technology. I realized it was time to start liking a few things that I didn’t and reworking some of my concepts. I spent months looking for the right channel to couple my 2 areas of interest.

That’s the time I decided I want to get into digital media. For me digital media incorporated both my engineering skills on technology, platforms and code along with design, interaction and creativity. I tried to work and learn more about how design intersects with technology and I realized it’s not rocket science. It’s just there, you have to look at it right. Design is a part of every thing. From the cup that you sip your coffee to the experience you archive while reading this post. I thought I was at a crossroads of my career. Today I stand with this belief that the world needs design heroes. Yes, Design heroes –  dudes who know how to engineer the experience, create  functional design and overlap them not just  to build  a product that delivers but to construct a “Brilliant! that is insane” type of product.

Learn from yesterday !

I don’t know if I would ever realize what I truly wanted to do. But today I feel every experiment, every client, every project and every failure taught me something. Something that in the long run helps me correlate my areas of passion and interest. The best example of this would be my experience with User interface design. When I started working on client projects for websites and applications, I always managed to pull off visually appealing designs. Never did I have a client who told me “I don’t like what I see”. My designs were a match to the brief. Here’s where I went wrong. 4 out of 5 clients came back to me after a week and asked me to tone down the design just a little bit. Confusing right ? I mean they liked it and now they want me to cut a few parts out of it ?

Well all had the same reason – ” The coders can’t really implement that aspect of the design.” Haha, I consoled myself by saying they hired the wrong guy to do the coding. I gave it another thought sometime later and I realized that my designs were visually amazing but they weren’t functional at all. That’s the phase where I embraced my computer academics a little more. To be precise I focused on web development and languages. I sharpened my JavaScript, HTML,CSS and jQuery. I experimented with them. Learnt and studied various processes involved to translate design to code and code to design. Researched the new tools and techniques that were in use. I realized, it was time to fabricate what I want to do and what I love to do. I had to really weld together my design skills and computer education to start delivering functional designs. Designs that could work. Gradually I learnt I needed to incorporate various factors like usability, interaction, user scenarios and customization. Then I realized what I needed to learn was User Experience design. That’s where I stand today and that’s where I plan to continue from. This is my definition of the precise point of intersection of design, creativity and technology. Last month I worked on an interesting UX project and guess what, I watched my design come to life a 100% without any chopping . It was priceless. I feel I have come a long way at the age of 20. Not boasting but, I feel I have reached a stage where I’m very confident of what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.

Keep Calm and think again !

I want others to understand that choosing something that you feel is right for you according to present scenarios  is not right. Well suppressing your emotional desire for it is completely wrong. I suggest everyone should take some time off to answer these two questions and see what their answers turn out to be. Start linking and correlating. Figure out ways to be a person you would love to be and not a person you’d want to be. This is something you decide no one else.  You love music and want to be a person equipped with literature? Who said its miles apart? Link them and I am sure something will pop up. Be it any stream or desire it’s up to you to find that bridge that gets it together. It may take time but the joy of settling on a decision that you wanted and happy with is priceless. Break away from conventional society of thought and moral perspectives, explore your options. They are never few doors and doors are never locked.

Finally what I want to conclude is that no matter what soup you are in at any stage of life, no matter how grave the battle gets.  Correlate, Negotiate, and finally you call the shot. Life is going to give you lemons when it comes down to decision-making. You got to make the Lemonade! Often it’s your mind or maybe your heart that’s going to decide. Its time you stand up, think and unite with the two to achieve what ‘YOU’ want.  The Heart and the Mind are two dangerous gifts we have. You can’t keep both happy without a little compromise. Go ahead Live your Dream. You are the architect and builder. Make it epic and “awesomize” it !

Design for love & work for money.

You still wondering, who am I ? 

Jonathan Pimento

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