Personal Projects

It was Matt Owens who first helped me realise through his interviews and in a speech in Hong Kong a number of years ago the importance of persuing personal creative work. When I was a musician much of the “great work” that gave me the most satisfaction was unpaid and of limited appeal to many. I remember having a recital program that was full of music that gave me great challenge and interest being axed because “you will cause people to leave the recital hall”. Most of the music that I loved playing the most rarely was performed in public and certainly was never a part of a for pay engagment. It took Matt Owens to remind of this at a time years ago when I was busy with unfullfilling corporate work. Since then my personal projects are what have given me the most joy and the ability to apply new ideas and techinque to client work. The added benefit that we have as designers is that this medium allows us to share our work cheaply and easily.
For the past few years I have not spent the time on personal projects as I would like. Trying to complete a Masters degree while working can suck up alot of your energy and in a sense alot of what I did (do) at Chiao Tung was personal. Unfortunately that work hasn’t really honed my design skill. Conceptual. theoretical, research, and leadership skills have been learned but not as much hands on work as I would like.
I love the freedom that personal work brings – I don’t adhere to a process – I just work towards the end goal that I set for myself. I try to let the ideas happen and flow freely. Unfortunately free creativity with out discipline tends to lead to a great deal of wasted time. There is a lot of learning going on for sure but in these days of decreasing personal time much less gets produced. This site is a prime example of that. If I created this site like I would a client site all would be complete within a month and the content would be written on a regular basis. Instead I spend time trying new ideas, failing, and trying others. The most recent addition to this site was a the sharing of some of the projects I am and have worked on. I wanted to include work that doesn’t always get shown so completely in my portfolio and I wanted to include photographs of the work in progress. Dan Cederholm has a nice perl script to automatically create slideshows that I got to work but after thinking some more i don’t like it since it creates pages that are isolated from the rest of the site. I had thought a slide show might be more elegant than simply displaying photos as a long list on a single page. Now I am thinking the opposite. These kind of decisions are a terrific consumer of time. Perhaps the days of pure design play are over.