If you search this blog using the term “Finding a Voice” you will see that I’ve written a lot lately under that title. I’ve spoken to the challenge of re-finding a voice with new tools, (specifically CAD), the idea of expressing one’s voice while doing custom work, and explored helpful tools in finding a voice in the “beginner’s mind.” Then, finally, I made a challenge to those seeking a voice in a recent post, “Why Conform?” as I shared some thoughts that others have had on the topic as well as a few more of my own. Now, it’s time to embrace evolution!
I know that there is much more to say on this topic. For myself, I’d like to make a bold statement as I move toward a temporary close on it. We must evolve! In forming this thought, I’d like to acknowledge a dear friend, my former shop manager from the heyday of my brick and mortar jewelry design studio. Rafael, thank you!
Maybe this primarily reflects my own awakening but I think we have begun to suffer from stagnation in the jewelry industry in terms of creative use of the new tools available to us. CAD has been around in our industry for long enough for us to get past the beginner’s mistake of thinking that “because we can do this now, it’s a great idea”. Another halo anyone? Sheesh! Is it really a great idea, for example, to design and manufacture jewelry with tiny diamonds, (or more fragile gems) everywhere on the design?
I suppose that part of this is the consumer’s fault. It becomes a vicious cycle in that consumers see a certain design style that is, in the beginning, innovative. They ask for it and we designers and manufactures follow the money. Don’t get me wrong, some of the micro-pavé stuff out there is aesthetically stunning. But does it serve our industry to create an entire generation of this type of design? I suppose it will keep our repair shops busy…but is that the legacy we wish to leave for the next wave of jewelry designers and marketers?
My friend Rafael thinks that we are on the verge of the next great design revolution. I think we absolutely better be! We have the ability to design things unimaginable a few short years ago and that, of itself, is a fantastic opportunity. I’m not sure we, as an industry, have yet embraced that potential. And to be (or remain) competitive in the marketplace with the distractions of electronics and other “must haves” we need to start thinking a bit more strategically.
Pulling a quote out of context, from a website called “Fast Company” I will leave something for our industry to think about. This was written primarily pertaining to marketing to millennials, but I think it applies to a broader perspective…check it out.
” Great design streamlines, clarifies, and delights—and the most complex or chaotic experiences need it most of all. But here’s the rub: For Millennials, design is not a differentiator—it’s a cost of entry. Every startup looking to re-imagine broken industries, whether it’s housing or health care, has one thing in common: well-designed experiences. And every established giant within that same system tends to be plagued by the reverse (ever tried to open a savings account online with a major national bank?).”
Your voice is your brand, think clearly about how you want to present it. And Contact Gary Dawson Jewelry Design when your designs need an evolved voice!