Indianapolis was an eye opener to say the least. I had the pleasure of meeting Bryan Crain, who has experience in many aspects of the design field including an array of work experience, participating in the AIGA Indy board, as well as recently completing his grad degree at the Herron School of Art and Design. We took a tour of the school and Bryan led us into a meeting room to start our talk. The physical space was astounding, (I mean they have a freaking letterpress room,) but it was the conversation demonstrating the ideals and thinking at Herron that really impressed me.

Bryan started the discussion by having us layout the steps to starting the design of a chair company all of which he recorded on a whiteboard. As the conversation developed, there was a clear difference in the approach we all took, and Bryan’s design strategy. The conversation lasted over an hour so I will just sum up the themes that stuck in my head. The first idea that came to fruition was that universities do not give enough practice in collaboration. This has certainly been my experience.

Secondly, Brian made the distinction between divergent and convergent thinking when brainstorming. If you are aware of the type of thinking you are doing, you can break through barriers, build upon the suggestions of your peers, and truly be open to fresh ideas.

The final and most influential concept to me was of the design process. It is not just about thinking of new ideas. The process is broken down into eight steps… too many to fit in a blog post. The dissecting of the design process helps to understand what makes great design, and more importantly, how design thinking can be applicable to serve a greater good beyond aesthetics.

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