Design Like A Child


Once again, the holiday chaos commences as everyone is scrambling to buy last-minute gifts, throw together the perfect holiday winter wonderland party, and trying get all of our ducks in a row for the beginning of a new year. Last month we addressed the topic of gratitude in respect to the Thanksgiving holiday. As we dive deeper into the season, we want to, once more, pause and reflect on the reason for the season.

So I’ll cut to it – what is the reason for the season? It is a dual time of not only anticipating the joy of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but also recognizing that that joy is very much already here and present. The joy of the birth of a child that entered this world 2,000 years ago, and we get to live in the reality of that joy. Christmas is a season of celebrating a child. So what does it mean to be a child again? To have a child-like joy?

For one thing, a lot of times we assume that joy is a life-altering epic event, when, in reality, joy comes at the most unexpected, simplest of moments. As simple as a child gawking at a table full of Christmas cookies waiting to be eaten. In respect to the season, how can we harness that child-like joy within our lives and, furthermore, how can we design or create with a child-like sensibility?

For starters, children are always asking questions. “What is that?” “Who is that?” “Why is that?” “How is that”… They are rather unburdened by the notion of asking too many questions. It may be the bane of every parents’ existence, but perhaps this mindset is something that we can learn from!

A wise man once said, “You never really know the truth unless you ask three times”.

A huge part of our job as designers is asking questions. This may be one of the hardest parts of our job because it sometimes requires asking silly questions. When communicating with clients, often there can be miscommunication or misunderstanding of the clients’ desires or what they like or don’t like. When a client doesn’t know how to explain their thoughts in “design terms”, it is the designer’s obligation to ask questions in order to arrive at clarity. Although you may feel silly asking multiple questions, it is better to be clear than to design with blinders on. Understand that you are never too good to learn more.

Sometimes when children do not get answers to their questions, they seek answers on their own – they are explorers. Children let their curiosity drive them to be explorers of the world. It is so important to remember to let your curiosity drive you in design. Whether in researching, sketching, or executing, never cease to nourish things that intrigue you or peak wonder within. Follow the rabbit holes and trails that you may stumble upon and your work will become that much more unique. Let mystery and wonder drive your inspiration.

I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’ enchantment model. As children, we experience enchantment – always questioning and exploring. As we grow into adulthood and experience life and trials and pain, there we find disenchantment. However, if you are able, when you see that the pleasures of this world will never fully satisfy and come to realize that perhaps we belong to something much greater than ourselves, we are re-enchanted. We are re-enchanted when we accept that the things of this world merely suggest the real thing.

So as we prepare during this season for Christmas and to celebrate the birth of a child – we hope that you would pause and remember how sweet it is to be a child again. How sweet it is to view the world with child-like wonder. Be reminded that we get to celebrate welcoming in our Savior’s birth.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:10-14, NIV