Please note: Updated information about my participation in SharonB's 2007 TSTC and future of this blog on a post below
Learning to look to see.
Value - my design teacher taught me to take time to block out color and think of what I'm seeing in terms of value. I think that people must have learned to do this more readily in the days when they had black and white movies, TVs and photos as a part of daily life. For me it's hard to do, but I see it now as a very exciting and important part of a design.
Design - with another big thank you to my design teacher- notice design in everything from what is in Creation to the manufactured things used time and time again in our daily life.
Take a break stand back and see - when I'm stitching I get caught up in a different point of view than when I stand back and look from a distance. It's hard for me to get up when I'm so busy stitching; but I've learned it is valuable to get up and look from a different perspective. Yes, when I'm right of top of it, I can see all the details. But from a distance has it all turned into a blur. If it's hanging on the wall does it beg a second glance? Does it call, "Come over and look at me and see what I'm about." And if it does, is it worth seeing closeup?
View the design wearing other "hats"- I work with package printing, so when ever I pick up a new package of something, I almost always am taking a look at the print job on it. How the art performed, what they are doing with the design to make it work on the press used, checking out what kind of board, paper or film they are printing on. There are so many things that I'm checking out--what font, type size, line thickness, screens, inks. Well, many more things, just too many to mention. But it truly is of interest me and I can be noticing so much at once in a small amount of time. Why? Training, experience and interest.
But what is a sales representative or a marketing person looking at? He wants to know how that design works on the shelf, when the customer is so many feet away, when they are right on top of it, in conjunction with other products the customer is selling, with other (read that "competitors") products that will be displayed around it, does it indicate what the customer anticipates or wants to know about the product, what does it reflect about the company behind it and how does it represent the product inside it. Of course, he cares about the print and I care about how the package will look on the shelf, too. We come from different points of view, training, experience and interest. But yes, if I take time to think about that salesman's point of view (and I also think need to think about the pressman, the filler's process and so forth) it helps me as I think about what needs to happen to the art being prepared to go to press.
Perhaps you will think this is too great a stretch to apply this example out of my business life to design and needlework art. Nor by using it do I mean to treat my designs as a product to be sold although some of them are, of course. But it makes sense to me to think about how will my design will impact others. And "looking" that is not so wrapped up in only my own point of view as I stitch a piece and "looking" that gets me outside of my narrower point of view brings some elements of balance into my design that I think would otherwise be lacking. Again, I think this is something I need to thank my design teacher for. She is always explaining what the viewers eyes are drawn to, what they tend to skip over, what makes them comfortable and uncomfortable (and not every design is intended to make the viewer comfortable). And then that constant anticipation of the submission of my work to her trained eye, helps me to train my own.