With a new design team, I had become sensitive to the design process that was emerging at Lucid Software. Designers work in a liminal state – between worlds. They are expected to design experiences, which are analog in nature (with regards to the human experience) but account for design and work inside of digital processes and tools (bits and bytes). As my new team on-boarded to Lucid’s products, processes, and technology… I decided it would be a good idea to get out of the office and observe/learn the process of instrument making at the Violin Making School of America, located in Salt Lake City, UT.
One of the first things that was observed at the violin making school, were all the patterns, jigs, and example violins that are found around the school. They literally are everywhere – hanging on walls, tables, and shelves. I was impressed that they surrounded themselves with examples of violins. It reminded me of how important it is for designers to externalize their effort, ideas, and exemplars of design. Another aspect of making violins that was fascinating was the fact that every student had to take drawing lessons. Each student is required to take a class at the school where they do lifestyle paintings and drawings of violins. This helps them become intimately familiar with the form and color of the instrument. Again – another method for helping these instrument makers learn their instrument. Finally, I was amazed at all the hand-made tools and simple devices used to create these instruments – a reminder to my team that a good designer can’t always rely on “design tools”, but instead might need to make tools and jigs of their own to help with the process of design.