Comparing industries is something that we all do. Finding the perfect analogy to explain what you do on a day to day basis can sometimes be challenging. But for our designers they all were able to compare what they do daily to the following three games:
It’s no coincidence how all of their answers seem to coincide with one another. Each of the above games individually has strategies that tend to be unique to the individual person while they’re engaged in it. Often times, these activities are something that you either have a knack for or not so much. I find it is very rare that someone says these games are “just ok” – they either love them or hate them.
A puzzle by definition is a game, toy, or problem designed to test cleverness or knowledge. This can definitely apply to many aspects of designing for someone else, especially for offices. Puzzles take time to figure out which piece perfectly fits with the others involved. Sometimes it’s trial and error. You may think one piece fits perfectly and you will try it over and over again thinking that maybe this next time it will fit, but it doesn’t. This is also similar to the process of designing an office. How can you fit X amount of desks with the allotted square footage and building footprint already in place? To take it to the next level, how do you take a product the client wants and fit it in the space they have? It’s a puzzle.
Designing is just like Tetris in the sense that sometimes you cannot or do not have time to think because of moving pieces. You have to rotate pieces over and over again while they are moving into place so they fit just right; sometimes they don’t even fit the way you wanted it to. This is not only like the physical aspect of furniture (moving it around so it fits in the freight elevator) but also the aspect of design the space. Yes, a client may want a row of benches in a particular area of the office but if you move them here then you can fit that there. Moving and rotating pieces around and around is part of the process of creating the perfect office that fits the client’s needs.
One of our designers said designing and creating an office was similar to chess because of constantly having to think at three steps ahead in preparation of Murphy’s Law; anything that will go wrong will. Just like a puzzle, you also have to be observant because one wrong move can cause a whole chain reaction of events. Chess is a game of back and forth. Your opponent makes a move and then it’s your turn and so on. This is true for furniture too in a way. The client comes to you with a need, you provide the specification, they make their edits and it becomes back and forth. You have to be meticulous and calculated in the moves you make just like the furniture you spec.
One tip from our designers to other designers who are just beginning their careers is to be observant and detail-oriented. This is definitely a tip that anyone can use in just about any game they play or space they design!