January 27, 2014

The Studio Trifecta

In my high school years, I had a chance to go and take a Graphic Design Camp at a college during my summer break. I recalled the instructor telling me the three things that impact a graphic design project: time, money, and resources and equated it to a triangle, once one part gets constrained, the other two have to make up for that constraint.

Now for a freelancer or entrepreneur or designer this meant that if your client wanted to put a cap on one of those elements, it meant that the designer needed to request more on the other two. Say, time or deadline, well that meant the designer needed the resources to complete the job on time, as well as asking for a higher cost to get the work done.  If a client wanted a cheap design, then that meant that resources used and time would be required or the design quality would get impacted. So if a client wants something fast and quick, it means the designer has to charge more and or needs more manpower and resources to get it done.  

For this post, I wanted to parallel that triangle to what are the three things that a studio project is bounded by. Quality is impacted by time you have left, the resources at your disposal, and the effort required. Should any of those parts be compromised, the other two have to be focused on to maintain the quality or make it better. For instance, TIME – is usually a factor. So if you have little time, it means that you gotta increase your efforts and use the best resources to help you get the project done. It means strategically getting the project as complete as possible and using the right tools to get it done on time. So maybe a project is due in a few days and you wanted to hand draft your drawings. Perhaps putting more effort into CAD and rendering on the computer will help you get the project complete because of the looming deadline.

I think the goal of this trifecta of what makes or breaks the quality of any studio project is to be cognizant of these three factors that are at play in any design project and to be strategic on your tasks when any of the three is compromised or constrained. It also means accepting the circumstance because not all three of these factors will be equally available during a project. It’s naive to think that you will have all the time, resources, and strength at your disposal for any project. For instance, you have pulled these all-nighters so your effort is low, it means you needed more time or more resources to get your project to a good quality and perhaps on the next project manage your time better.

Eventually, as you near a deadline you have to be comfortable when those three cannot be stretched any further and complete your project whether you like it or not. When you do your studio project or assignment, try and see if your struggles can be categorized to any of the three in the studio trifecta and realize what are the things needed to pick up the slack for that constraint or to be comfortable with doing your best with the constraints at hand. Be compassionate to yourself - move forward on to the next studio project being more strategic.

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The Underdog Architecture Student's "10 Things" Response
Failing and Being a Failure - they're actually both different.

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