August 27, 2011

Design: 101

Design:101   All the Things They Don't Teach You In Design School

1. I have learned how important it is to be fearless, not only in design but more importantly in life.   I often write on my blog about Designer, Kelly Wearstler, a truly fearless designer.  Love or hate the design, you have to respect her commitment to always putting forth her unique point of view.  Remember, it was Chanel that said, "In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.".

Photo: Angelina Jolie by Mario Testino via google images
2. Everyone assumes my job is glamorous but in actuality it's real work.  It certainly has had it perks...flying to the furniture market in North Carolina on my former employer's private Learjet to shop for the day.  Snap back to reality...really, most of the time, I'm working in a client's house barefoot in a pair of socks that I keep stuffed in my purse, carrying in boxes, on the floor assembling lamps, and generally pushing and shoving furniture until it's just right.  The rest of the time, I'm sort of a bag lady, lugging bags of fabric samples and bolts of yardage.  Just ask my daughter Alexandra, she will tell you.

3. I believe all design starts with a mood, a feeling.  Creating mood boards, even just a simple pile of tear sheets that speak to the vibe I am trying to create in a design is an essential piece to the design process for me and a great way to communicate the mood to my client.  I'm inspired by music, film and over the top fashion photography. They conjure up scenes and characters taking me to a different time and place. When I design for a client, I not only design for who they are and how they live but more importantly who they want to be and how they want to live.
Jean Harlow via google images

4. I believe in enjoying luxury and creating the home of your dreams.  However, I believe more in this quote, "Love people, not things.". 

5. The best business advice I  ever received, I learned in dancing school.  Before each performance, our instructor used to say, "If you fall down, just get up and keep on dancing.".  One of my friends actually danced right off the stage.  She climbed back up and kept on dancing.  I studied design in college so I don't have a degree in business.  I've learned the hard way, real life experience and the willingness to admit I don't know it all but I'll find out.  I believe that my passion for design and naive optimism were powerful forces and definitely worked in my favor. 


6. The old school thinking in the design business has always been to hold back and never give away your best ideas. a business where we are paid for our ideas, I certainly understand this thinking.  However, the world is changing so fast.  The  Internet and social media platforms have made great design information instantly accessible.  I believe the best way to respond to the change is to join the conversation via blogging, facebook and twitter.  I have learned that when you give your best ideas, people are impressed and naturally want more. The true gift of design and creativity is that it is renewed each and every day. When I give a fabulous idea away, it doesn't matter if someone takes it, copies it or uses it without me because I have an even better idea coming right behind it. 

Vogue Magazine via google images
7. Drop the ego and keep it real.   I lean on my design talents and professional follow through to carry me in this business not who I know, where I vacation or what label I'm wearing.  Great connections, lots of press and a cute pair of shoes are all great...I'm not downing any of that.  However, in the end you have to produce the work.  Do you have the goods?  I know at this point in my career what I can do and create.  I don't try to "fit in" or be something I'm not.  I'm a city girl, I don't play golf or tennis and probably wear too much black eyeliner but I can design a drop dead gorgeous space ten different ways and each time better than the next.

Photo: Catherine McNeil for Vogue via FGR
8. It all comes back to design.   In this business you can learn something new everyday, a design idea or a new trade source for a project....but you have to seek it.  The more design you expose yourself to, the more you develop an editing eye.  I'm often asked how I find the time to blog or read the other design blogs and magazines.  Fortunately, I love design, so I enjoy it, but also, I find the time because it's essential to my business.  As a designer, I feel a key question you need to constantly be asking yourself is "What's next?". 

Coco Chanel via google images

Rachel Hazelton is an Interior Designer from Middleton, MA with design projects in Andover, MA, North Andover, MA, Lynnfield, MA, Boxford, MA, Topsfield, MA, Boston's North Shore and throughout New England.


Linda @ a design snack said...

Rachel, this is a great post. More great advice from a great designer. I'm sure you don't remember me, but the first great advice you gave me was last Fall at Design Boston, you told me "how" to start a blog. I've never looked back. Many thanks for sharing. Hope to see you at this year's Design Boston! Best, Linda

Rachel Hazelton said...

Hi Linda. Yes, of course, I remember you. Thank you for your kind words. Looking forward to Design Boston this year...see you there!

Rhonda Jean said...

I'm on of those "fantastic" and talented women that attended Rachel's class this summer. Rachel brings and incredible enthusiasm and love to design that inspired all of us. She also suggested that we use social media, which is a brilliant idea. I'm well on my way and will always look to Rachel for inspiration.