A Strategy for Woodworking #12: How Design Starts

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Blog entry by Gary Rogowski posted 07-24-2014 02:47 AM 1678 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: Congratulations Part 12 of A Strategy for Woodworking series Part 13: A Neatness and Precision »

Design starts with a pattern in the sky, a curl in the stem of a plant, the swirl in a coffee cup. It starts with an idea. There is no one single place from which it begins. And so the designer must grab serendipity when it strikes and use it as a stepping stone, a starting point, and then choose from the infinite number of choices then possible.

Inspiration is serendipitous. Design on the other hand is hard work and trials and errors and execution. It is iteration and reiteration. It has a vocabulary that one must learn and develop to suit one’s own tastes and techniques. But inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. One just has to be ready and willing to accept it. This is the difference between a designer and a worker. A designer, if you will an artist, is always receptive to ideas, to chance, to coincidence. This requires awareness and desire to find new ideas. Be ready, have your notebook always with you. Keep your eyes open, there’s a huge world out there to explore with curiosity.

The Northwest Woodworking Studio

-- Gary Rogowski...follow my podcast at and twitter @garyrogowski

2 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


9019 posts in 3725 days

#1 posted 07-24-2014 03:13 AM

I was told at a design workshop. Steal from everywhere, even IKEA as they hire designers to design their products. I’m partial to stealing from mother nature. And from the well known guys, as long as I give them their recognition?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4216 days

#2 posted 07-24-2014 10:05 AM

I think most people, myself included, look at something, classify it quickly and then move on. People who are naturally creative see more than ordinary folks. They not only see more, but they can also conjure up a range of alternative takes on whatever they are looking at. I do think that most anyone can become more creative through the learning process to increase awareness, but I’m not sure how far that will ultimately take them. After thinking that I have seen it all in my 74 years I am constantly amazed at how talented people can come up with exciting new and innovative designs.

The creative process remains a complete mystery to me. I am surrounded by talented family members. Two sons, one an illustrator, the other an advertising agency creative director, and an older brother who was also an ad agency creative director, my mother who painted, my wife who can draw, and my MIL who oil painted. Despite being around these people most of my life nothing creative from the world of art and design has rubbed off on me. I am not bragging about this.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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