I Miss My Pencil takes a voyeuristic look at the design journey to reveal what designers do daily, might get to do once, and sometimes only hope to do.
A documentary at heart, this book focuses on twelve experiments that explore the sensorial and experiential side of everyday objects, some we hold near and dear, some traditionally taken for granted. The explorations are made real through collaboration between IDEO designers and experts of all kinds—a renegade physicist, a fusion chef, a whip-smart mistress, an artisanal mechanic, among others—to go beyond the conceptual to the curiously concrete.
Think about the first few minutes of your day. You wake up, turn off your alarm, perhaps turn on a light. You roll out of bed, lift the lid, or cop a squat on the loo. You tear off a few sheets of your preferred brand of TP. You pull back the shower curtain, turn on the faucet, set the temperature and step in. Even before the water hits you, you’ve touched a dozen or so designed and branded products. If your eyes were open you’ve seen countless others. And that was just the beginning. Imagine what the rest of your day holds: your newspaper, your hair pomade, your laptop, cell phone, and those socks on your feet.
This is the stuff that surrounds us, stuff that most people don’t give a second thought to. Why should they? They see it every day. There are more important things to think about–family, work . . . life.
All this stuff represents thousands of hours,
billions of dollars, tons of raw materials, and multiple global corporations, and somewhere in that mix sits the designer. The person who woke up that morning the same way you did, went to work, and decided
that next season your sleeves would be two inches shorter, your phone would be pink metal and that coffee-shop experience you just had would be slightly different tomorrow.
That’s me; that’s what I do. Well, not the sleeve thing. But I am obsessed by those things that many people overlook, those meticulously, obsessively crafted objects that represent our personalities, memories and environments. Design can elevate and neutralize; it can shout and it can whisper.
And that brings us to what this book is about: an insight into the obsessive nature of designers. What inspires us to create, why we make certain decisions, and why going to a focus group is like attending a funeral.
A selection of chapters are excerpted below.
I MISS MY PENCIL
A collaboratively created book about exploring design through a series of slightly odd questions.
We couldn't have created the book without the talent and help of the following people:
Tom Bassett, Heidi Bauer, Paul Bennett, Bill Blasius, Ula Bochinska, Paul Bradley, Peter Bronk, Tim Brown, Caroline Bone, Gene Celso, Mimi Chun, Michael Chung, Katie Clark, Ant Creed, Soren DeOrlow, Dan DeRuntz, Cory Doctorow, Tom Eich, Brendan Farnell, Jim Feuhrer, Graeme Findlay, Gregory Germe, Roshi Givechi, Derek Goodwin, Ian Groulx, Arvind Gupta, Gerry Harris, Tony Hawks, Jude Henson-Oliver, Caroline Herter, Diem Ho, Gary Holl, IDEO, Brett Johnson, Jeewon Jung, Angie Kim, Mikkel Koser, Amy Leventhal, Sarah Lidgus, Andrea Mallard, Thomas McKay, Mistress Morgana, Whitney Mortimer, Brenda Natoli, Eli Neugeboren, Joanne Oliver, Thomas Overthun, Shana Parkes, Byron Parr, Daniel Patterson, Alan Rapp, John Ravitch, Peter Riering-Czekalla, Owen Rogers, Aaron Shinn, Ethan Silva, Doug Solomon, Eric Stangarone, Andy Switky, Rebbi Taplin, Alissia Melka-Teichroew, Peter Thomson-Smith, Meike Topefer, Scott Underwood, Marc Woollard, Eddie Wu, Andre Yousefi, Ivan Zaremba, Nicolas Zurcher.