(My updated thesis abstract!)
Statement of Intent
Does design create or embody joy, or does it merely create conditions for joy to emerge? Does joy originate in the designed artifact or in the act of design? Can a relationship between joy and play be used to address a need? These are the questions I plan to answer in my MFA thesis.
Why all this talk about joy? What does this word even mean?
Am I really just talking about happiness?
I’m not interested in happiness. According to DesignInquiry, “Joy is distant from happiness. While happiness implies placid contentment, joy is more textured and intense, a vivid combination of exultation and delight.” I’m interested in harnessing this sense of joy and delight and applying it to design. I believe joy has the power to transform.
My joy is not design. A lot of the work I’ve designed lacked joy in the creation and outcome. However, there are moments when joy can manifest in the work I create. There are opportunities to embed joy in the work I create. I believe joy is an opportunity.
Ryan Freitas says, “if you’re interested in living in the heart of what you do, focus on building things, rather than talking about them.” As a designer, we’re able to live a visual life, a creative life. According to Scott Schumann, “the real joy is having 4/5 hours a day to be in the world you’re in, to see it, react to it, relate to what you’re seeing.” Shakespeare says, “things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing.” I believe in the empowerment of joy through making.
I’m not interested in academics, I’m interested in feeling, in poignancy, in nuance. I’m not interested in talking, I’m interested in creating, in making, in designing. I’m not interested in hiding behind words. I want to live in the heart of what I do, the joy of what I do. If I create work in this manner, it will have greater relevance and meaning, not only to myself, but to those that experience it.
Ultimately, this sense of empowerment through joy and creation can take countless applications. It can be used tool. Paul Rand wrote about the Design and Play Instinct. Alex Gillman, from Public Workshop, travels around the country teaching K-12 kids about architecture and design. Alex is a huge propionate of learning through making and doing, over talking and planning. “As designers, all we do is plan and think, and it inhibits design.” There is relevance for creating work in this way, and that’s what this topic contributes to the field of design. This contribution, this empowerment, this creation is my joy. I believe joy has a place in design.