Recorded during TypeCon2014: Capitolized in Washington, DC
With all the knowledge and skill designers acquire during and after their formal education, one of the most useful things to learn is learning what you don’t know. Learning to be confused. Not only is this useful, it can be — and should be — a pleasure not to know. We should learn to enjoy and revel in our ignorance. Confusion can be delightful, because it opens us up to making wrong decisions, and that allows for more opportunities to make interesting mistakes. Often the worst thing a designer can do is start at the end: This must be a book. This must be “punchy” or “pop.” This must be X. This must be Y.
Educators need to teach students how to start at the start. The design process begs for tangents, wrong directions, incorrect assessments, and silly diversions. Inside of the intangible complexities of the design process is where magical things can happen. There is a threshold of delightful confusion, where to one side lies greatness, and to the other side lies nothingness. The best way to approach this moment is to be confused — to allow the process to provide discovery, to take tangents and distractions forward and see what happens.