Hello, world! I’ve been itching to do something like this for awhile – that is, somewhere to post and express some of the really interesting things I come across in life as a designer, educator, Pittsburgher, fiancé [most importantly], and project manager.
This first post will focus on the teaching component of my career, or more so the students I have been able to work with over the last 2 years. Over those 2 years and at 2 universities, I have worked with over 100 students. Unfortunately in this economic climate, not many of them have secured jobs within the design industry at all, let alone an architecture/interiors firm. This saddens me a great deal, as I see all of this creativity being manifest in the form of drawings, models, and perspectives that are all a part of a fairy tale project that I make up. I see enthusiasm and growth. I see the moments where they connect with and fall in love with the concept of designing space for people…forever. And yet, little do they know what world awaits them when they graduate. Little do they know how much of a labor of love this industry is – and the key – that real money is only in owning your own design practice.
These thoughts combine well with a poll I just discovered today about how academia treats business education in architectural [or any design field, for that matter] education. Should there be more education about the business side of design? Should we simply continue to foster the creative environment so that designers can more fully understand who they are as a designer, but put horse blinders on them about what they will face when they leave? Not just with finding a job, but how difficult it is to maintain a business. Was the massive shrinkage of some of the largest US firms a solely matter of economic downturn, or did business strategy also play a role?
What do you think? Here is the poll: http://poll.fm/1zzlx
I’ll have my own design firm someday – and good design will be a priority – but so will good business. So far, I have a feeling I don’t have many good examples of design firms to imitate business practices from.
As for my students, don’t lose hope. It may work out differently than you expect, but that passion you feel for design won’t ever go away – you’ll find a way to be successful.