Fear, Obstacles and Opportunities at ArtCenter

3 min read

We recently got to see Chris Do of the Futur speak at the ArtCenter College of Design for an interesting and thought-provoking Q&A titled 'Fear, Obstacles, and Opportunities: An Uncomfortable Conversation with Chris Do'.

The Futur is a valuable resource for many creatives and creative business owners, and it was fun to be involved in this discussion.

After catching up with the LA Webflow group, we headed over to the lecture hall, excited to learn and discuss with other designers and students. The session covered the future of the design industry, AI, the importance of clarity in communication, and the power of perseverance in learning, amongst other many topics.

Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:

1 - Mastering a craft: Shuhari

Firstly the discussion covered gaining more experience in design and the importance of mastering your craft through the concept of the Japanese technique called Shuhari. Shuhari describes three stages towards mastery of a skill:

Shu - protect / copy

Ha - break / transform

Ri - leave / combine

In the Shu phase, when we are learning a new technique or skill, it is important to learn and follow experts so that we can fully understand the topic before trying to add our own flair. I like the emphasis on 'protecting' a new technique as to be carried out as instructed until we understand it, in order to then break it (Ha) and explore further (Ri).

When it comes to exploring unique design languages, learning a new platform, understanding a new industry we're designing in, or tackling a client problem, there is definitely value in having a deep understanding before approaching the creative phase of work. Here's a handy article for more on Shuhari.

2 - Reframing

Chris Do often speaks about Reframing in terms of mindset and business (here's a clip) on The Futur videos. We spoke about the concept of nobility in doing humble things, remaining positive, and how learning to reframe a situation can be a valuable tool as a designer. Reframing book recommendation.

3 - AI & the future

This was a big chunk of the discussion and many people in the room had differing opinions on AI and its role in the design industry now and in the future. I think there are a lot of apprehensions as well as excitement surrounding the power of AI, and I think these two conflicting directions are present in most peoples' minds when it comes to the topic of AI.

Many creative people use AI-powered tools to enhance their work, and streamline processes. We spoke about how these tools are still just tools that require good or even great direction to produce the desired results. And while the tools have the ability to reference the entire history of design on the internet, the person prompting the tool still needs to have a vast knowledge of design styles, what works aesthetically, and what solves the design problem that is being addressed.

Another interesting side topic is the skill involved in writing a good prompt to make the tool produce something useful.

4 - Fear and design

Chris also covered FEAR (a.k.a., 'False Evidence Appearing Real') as part of the Q&A. Imposter Syndrome, mindset, limiting beliefs and mental health are all topics to be mindful of in all creative industries, educational spaces, and in business world. We spent some time speaking about how mindset impacts our work, and how important it is to build a support network and take frequent steps back for space and perspective.


The Futur - YouTube 

Event link: Fear, Obstacles and Opportunities: An Uncomfortable Conversation with Chris Do - ArtCenter College of Design

Kirby Ferguson videos: Everything is a remix - Kirby Ferguson - Everything is a Remix on Vimeo 

Book on reframing: What’s Your Problem? by Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg

Chris Do on Reframing

More on Shuhari (Japanese learning technique)

FEAR - False Evidence Appearing Real Chis Do