You Can’t Lose
By entering one or several projects into a design competition, there is no direction to go but up. Putting forth your work and having people see it, read it, and experience it can help you as a student and professional in several ways. As a student, you gain insight into how projects are judged and what is deemed great design, and as a professional you send your work to professionally successful and influential judges that critique it. You may even get to meet these judges and other professionals that attend the competition event to announce the winners (if the competition indeed decides to host the event); yet another conduit to showcase your work, and yourself.
They Make Your Work Better
Like a workshop or group review where peers, professors, and / or professionals listen to you describe and articulate your work and then provide you with constructive feedback, a competition provides a chance for you to showcase and obtain criticism and interpret your work’s worth. Knowing ahead of time that you are submitting to a competition also creates in you a sense of awareness that others – most notably, judges – are going to review your work. It makes you internally motivated to design a project that reflects your most advanced skills because you want it to impress and have people comment on it positively.
They Encourage Efficiency
Keeping yourself organized and managing your schedule are skills all designers benefit from, and if you schedule appropriate time to submit to competitions it helps you prioritize and work more efficiently. Design competitions have specific parameters and submission requirements you must tailor your submittal to, so making sure you know exactly what you need to submit as a competition deliverable(s) is important (especially when negotiating time between school and work responsibilities). Often, competitions ask for a combination of design renders and plans, as well as a succinct and clear written component describing your project.
You Become Involved
Design competitions do a great job of involving and engaging their participants. Whether it’s through e-mail, social media, or door drops, competition participants gain access to a design network where they can keep tabs on competition deadlines, see who is judging, find where and when the competition winners are announced, and of course (the fun stuff) what they receive for winning. In addition, competitions relay other entrants’ work, winning or otherwise (with approval), which gives participants a great idea of “what’s out there” and what you can expand upon in your own projects.
You Gain Affirmation, or Reaffirmation
Personally, I’ve entered several design competitions and lost all except one. The one I placed in gave me an affirming feeling that my design skills were, in a sense, acceptable – that the work I did was given a stamp of approval that said, “Yes, this is good design.” As creative people, we consistently put work “out there” that (hopefully) reflects our best design abilities and intentions, while acting as little parts of ourselves. When your design registers with a select panel of judges and you’re listed as a finalist, your career wayfinding becomes clear and the project you devoted so much personal time to is given its time in the sun. It’s an affirming, or reaffirming, feeling that your design inspired meaning in someone – a crucial effect our creations strive to engender.
When we hear the word salon, most of us think of this:
However, our aim here does not concern perms, blowouts, or conditioning treatments. It’s about starting your own interior design salon.
Another definition of salon is a gathering of people. Specifically, a gathering to discuss, titillate, amuse, and exchange ideas. Most often, a salon focuses on a single topic or discipline, and brings together people sharing a thread between them – a group of writers, theorists, scientists, etc. However, the more diverse and eclectic a group is, often the more stimulating the conversation.
Salon gatherings began in the 16th century when upper-class intellectuals met formerly within large reception halls or personal mansions to exchange opinions about history, literature, and cultural issues. Over time, salons evolved from upper crust decorum in favor of spontaneity and free-flowing conversation.
Yet, the founding principles of salons are extended to today where idealistic, honest, radical, and unique conversations and debates form through gathering like or unlike minds in the egalitarian purpose of developing new ideas out a discipline, or out of an immediate or worldly issue.
Whether it is hosted by a specific person or held in a specific location, think about how YOU can start your own salon with friends, friends of friends, classmates, instructors, and professionals. This can plug you into a unique and fun social group, and provide you with innovative, collaborative ideas for your interior design mind and career. Make sure to think about using your IIDA Campus Center for help with organizing, creating, and scheduling a salon. Email us at email@example.com if you do organize a salon, we’d love to promote it!
One of the more historically famous salons featured Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Pablo Picasso (think Midnight in Paris) gathering under one roof, sharing thoughts and influencing each other’s work – all in the name of expanding and bettering their professional and personal goals. You can start on that path too by starting your own salon; just make sure people know it isn’t a curl-up and color treatment opportunity.
IIDA is excited to welcome IIDA Milan as its 32nd Chapter! The addition of Milan further underscores IIDA’s mission to support American and international interior designers, and grow IIDA’s global community and network.
IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO, Cheryl Durst, and Senior Vice President, Dennis Krause visited the Milan chapter this week to help usher in IIDA’s newest hub.
Milan becomes an IIDA chapter at a timely moment when the EmergeItaly competition winners were announced. IIDA, with FederlegnoArredo and the Italian Minister of Economic Development, created the EmergeItaly competition to recognize and celebrate the next generation of young design professionals whose product designs are innovative, functional, and original.
This year, Honorable Mention was awarded to Miguel Brovhn for “O-Series” and Sarah Turner for “Flight.” The “O-Series” combines flexibility with linearity, and “Flight” converges classic American design with Italian minimalism.
Best of Competition was awarded to Angel Beale for the “Folds Series” design concept. Beale’s design will be produced by an Italian design company and exhibited at the 2014 Salone Internazionale del Mobile. Additionally, all winners won a trip to Milan to attend the 2013 Salone Internazionale del Mobile.
For more information on all winners visit the IIDA website. Congratulations to Miguel, Sarah, and Angel, as well as the new Milan Chapter!
During NeoCon, IIDA hosts an annual Student Design Charette pitting student teams against the clock to produce a project in one work day that creatively solves a design problem they receive that morning. Students are invited from IIDA Campus Centers all over the country and placed in teams with students they’ve never met before. The results produce amazingly inventive design solutions, and provide a one-of-a-kind experience for students.
However, exactly what is a charette? Prior to interning at IIDA, I did not know what a charette was. I had heard it used in conversations, but never had the opportunity to learn what it actually meant.
The original word charette (shuh-ret) is French for “cart” or “chariot,” and is oftentimes times spelled with two r’s as charrette. The process of charette is thought to originate from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France during the 19th century when the word was adapted by student architects when they arduously worked on a project close to the end of a term or specific deadline until a cart, or charette, was wheeled in to pick up their work for review. Since then, the process of charette has aligned itself with working tirelessly up until a deadline.
In today’s world, we’ve honed the definition and process of a charette to be a collaborative brainstorm in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem within a limited time to present internally, to clients, or to a panel of judges (as is the case with IIDA’s Student Design Charette). Regardless of the cause or motivation, a charette is an extremely beneficial process that collaboratively harnesses the talents of the group to plan, create, and substantiate a design solution in the interest of a client, group, or community.
As we near the three days of NeoCon in June, stay tuned for more information on IIDA’s 2013 Student Design Charette, and when and where to visit the IIDA booth to observe the process and results of the IIDA Student Design Charette.
Any student – undergrad or graduate – greatly benefits from getting involved in their school and surrounding community. It places you in touch with people who can be valuable resources for your design education and career, and exposes you to new and inspiring places and things that can stimulate your design mind.
One great way to get involved is through the development of social committees to boost networking opportunities and help build professional and personal friendships.
If your design school does not currently have a social committee or social board in charge of creating, planning, and sometimes hosting social events for students than I strongly encourage you to push your school to start one, or help form one on your own or with a group.
As a former social committee member, it was extremely beneficial to play a role in planning social engagements for fellow students (undergrad, graduate, or otherwise). As a committee member, you are able to gain access to students in the same program, or other related programs, and develop close ties with faculty and teachers who often attend events. A great example of this is IIDA Campus Centers that provide an environment where students, educators, administration, and design professionals work together to develop programs and events for their school. Click here to learn more.
From personal experience, merely attending school social events is a great opportunity too, especially when you’re able to meet other students further along in your respective design program. With them, you are able to discuss and share school experiences, learn about helpful classes and teachers, and gain insights into professional opportunities you could potentially pursue.
When a social committee has gained a foothold on campus, try to think of innovative and unique ideas for social events and how they could be conducted. It’s an effective mode of promotion to funnel most of your events through social media, and even live promote during the event through a conduit like Twitter. Make the event inspiring (like going on a tour of local architecture and design), or think about serving the community by incorporating service projects into the social calendar.
To be a part of a social committee or attend social events through your school only helps you as you become more acquainted with the design field, and get to know the people within your future profession. Get out there, and make it happen!
A great daily e-mail subscription for any kind of designer is Fast Company’s Co.Design. The subscription and site wonderfully highlights innovative ideas, projects, and inspirations to spark your design mind every morning.
This past week Co.Design released an article titled, “3 Paths Toward A More Creative Life.”
1. The first path Co.Design focuses on is DISCONNECT. The article explains that it’s an effective practice to be plugged-in and stimulated by the instant-access culture we live in, but it’s oftentimes more important to alleviate our consistently engaged minds by unplugging. To gather our thoughts, allow for introspection, and center ourselves, it’s often helpful to go on a walk or allow extra time in the morning to slowly and comfortably ease our minds into the day. To have a clear, unobstructed mind is infinitely helpful for our creative selves.
2. The second path delves into EXAMINING THE PAST, and how looking at one’s original models of inspiration and creativity cannot only position your designs better, but reinvigorate you in your creative endeavors. That person who stimulated you to become a designer? Look at and educate yourself about their work to inform your future work.
3. Co.Design’s third suggested path towards living a more creative life advises designers to strive to BE MASTERFUL. This path urges designers to do what the great designers do – look for patterns and link two different bodies of knowledge that haven’t existed before. Additionally, look at the obvious, and take what is often deemed banal and make it wholly new.
Personally, some of my best ideas and work have come from retreating into an unplugged environment – that corner of the coffeehouse, the park, or even the shower – where the noise dies down, my head clears, and my eyes are off a screen. As artists and designers, to find these places – whether physically or mentally – is crucial in order to generate effective conduits between you and your next great idea.
Source: Nussbaum, Bruce. “3 Paths Towards a Creative Life.” Co Create, 26 February 2013.