I like to think of myself as a shapeshifter of sorts. And to be clear, I am not referring to the mythical kind. I have not been bitten, scratched, or born into a family werewolves, vampires, or any other transfigurative creature by that matter.
Shapeshifting requires a great deal of empathy and courage to be wholeheartedly transformed. Venturing forth with an open mind and an open heart and allowing the people and subjects that we design for to shape us. While some designers prefer to specialize in a singular area, it is in the nature of a shapeshifter to constantly be learning and adapting with the flexibility of some circus contortionist.
John C Jay, Creative Director of Wieden + Kennedy, once said that as creatives “the greatest thing we can do and offer is to be great listeners and to have empathy for your culture to understand what is the truth.” I believe it is more important than ever to practice this. You see, we live in a time of increased global interactions. Many of the issues we face as a society stem from cross cultural misunderstandings. Being receptive to learn, shape, and connect with people very different from ourselves in meaningful ways is essential in making a difference. Once we can shape ourselves, we can shape our world.