leg godt: or, the things I learned from lego
Last night I discovered Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary. It was the perfect mental panacea to a month of researching branding strategies and blockchain blah blah blah. I would recommend it to anyone (especially designers). You will walk away learning just how prevalent this brand is and relive the joy you get from hearing a bucket full of Legos being poured onto carpet... unless your childhood was like mine.
Calm down. My childhood was great. I too have a strong bond with Legos but that sound of cascading plastic didn't inspire boundless creativity—it signaled anxiety. Even though I was naturally "artistic" as a kid, I couldn't come up with a MOC (My Own Creation) to save my teddy bear's life. My big sister could whip up a cabin for Barbie, a pool scene, you name it. I sat on the sidelines confused and crushed that I wasn't as creative as I, or others, maybe perceived. That's right, I've been suffering from Imposter Syndrome since I was 5 years old. Get in line, art school Sophomores.
The good thing about experiencing anxiety at a formative age is that I learned how to adapt subconsciously. Building didn't bring me an ounce of joy, but organizing them did. I organized the shit out of those colored bits of plastic. I could turn an agglomeration of primary colored scraps into an orderly brigade of blocks organized by size or color in 2 minutes flat. If my sister needed a blue 2 by 4 to secure a window, I had 3 in hand. She may have been the builder, but I liked being the shopkeeper.
Some 25 years later, it comes as no surprise to me that I ended up a designer. I like to help people by simplifying their complex problems in a pretty way. I like being the one that helps them build the thing I'm not. Whether it be an event, a dApp, or a book, I've got the basic design blocks to help.
A few years ago my sister gifted me a framed poster designed by James Victoré. It reads: "The things that make you weird as a kid will make you great tomorrow". I have it displayed on the table I work at to remind myself of those first times I experienced crushing anxiety and how I managed to wriggle out of it by reconfiguring what victory looks like for my particular skill set and using that to help others*.
So there you have it, my design career began as an unexpected pregnancy between two selfish parents named Art and Anxiety. Thanks Legos! I wonder, Dear Reader, what weird quirks did you have as a child? How have they manifested in your current career?
PS. Log Godt is Danish for "Play Well"
* To a healthy degree. Altruism can be a bitch, but that's another blog post...