Designers Don’t Read

One of the books I’m reading in school this quarter is Designers Don’t Read by Austin Howe. It’s a collection of soundbite-sized nuggets that talk about the various aspects of the creative process, and is intended to be relevant and inspirational to all creative professionals.

I really like this book. It’s funny, insightful, and even delivers on its promise to supply some inspiration here and there.

My favorite chapter so far is Design is Drumming, for obvious reasons. I’m a drummer and a designer, and I never thought about how similar the two are. Check out Howe’s argument on the topic:

As it relates to a design firm’s relationship with its client, the designer is the drummer. First of all, the design firm is absolutely crucial to the brand. The brand relies heavily on the design firm to provide a strong backbone that will keep that company’s creative output all together, just like the drummer’s groove keeps all the other instrument’ parts together in a band. If the drummer/designer is weak, the whole band/brand will be weak.

Yeah, that makes sense.

Howe also goes on to talk about the importance of the drummer/designer to possess confidence and competence. Sure, this is absolutely true. I think that confidence and competence is the key to making anything great, not just designing or drumming.

I only had one burning question after reading this chapter. Howe talked about receiving a sparkle blue drum kit for Christmas as a kid. I really want to know what brand his kit was. If it was a Slingerland set, color me jealous! Since the time I first picked up a pair of drum sticks at age 13, I have lusted after a vintage Slingerland drum kit in sparkle blue.


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