Tag Archives: philosophy

Fight the Flatline

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, by Edwin A. Abbott

You may be wondering what Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions has to do with design, and why the heck I posted it here (two posts back).

I read it for an intro Philosophy course when I was in college. Although it was written over a hundred years ago, the themes remain timely. The main concept that has stayed with me all these years is that there are many perspectives in the world and possibilities for other dimensions. (Part II of the story.) It will do you well to keep an open mind — in life and in design. The metaphorical characters of Point, Line, Shape are incidental. Ha! I just saw there’s even an animated movie of it!

If you’ve never seen it, check out Powers of Ten, a nine-minute film made by The Office of Charles and Ray Eames. Another interesting take on perspectives.

I had a professor who said as a designer, we need to know about many different things. You may be designing for varied organizations, on a multitude of different subject matter. So, learn to learn. Learn to uncover the essence of a thing/business/service so that you can communicate that essence in a compelling way. I think it was Bob Gill who said (during a lecture for the ADCMW in DC) that if you have only one hour to design for a laundromat, spend 45 minutes in the laundromat and 15 minutes designing.

So, shake up your routine; get out of your comfort zone; be interested in… everything!