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Daniel and I, quite literally, designed our relationship.  We negotiated the terms and expectations prior to having any kind of romantic or physical relations.  It sounds extraordinarily strange to say-  and so unsexy, but it’s apropos to a bigger question I’m considering: Is it better to follow wayward intuition or use strategic design?

Art school emphasised intuition- by following it, going deep, you can sometimes get places that you never would otherwise- which sounds great. However, I’m starting to think that whatever it is my intuition is leading me towards-  well, it’s not terribly concise. It’s rather a cumbersome and hard-to-sum-up and meandering set of interests. Why not focus on designing chunkable thought objects and systematic answers instead?

As Daniel said recently: “Design elevates objects and degrades people.”

If you can comprehend that statement the way it was meant-  you’ll understand it.  If not-  you’ll respond with an argument on the importance of design.

Often good design is about predictability, or unpredictability in a predictable way.  Coherence and concise answers.

I love it when someone outside of the design world goes on and on about how they “don’t care what they wear or how they look…”  –  and I wonder- are they really so innocent that they don’t know how clearly the choices one makes every day speak volumes about lifestyle, values, and career choices?

Remember-  Daniel and I are both art school people and designers.  We have a deep appreciation for design and art, and a large part of our professional lives has been spent doing art and design.  Design makes things easier, communicates and adds efficiency. Design facilitates stereotypes and simplifies judgments.

Working in the design world, one becomes very sensitized to exactly how much information the design of objects, or websites, or font choices, or the length of a tie, or the shave of a beard, or the pluck of an eyebrow- how much information they communicate.  They communicate louder than the voice of the person in front of you does.

So am I discussing a paradox?  “Design elevates objects and degrades people.”  vs. “We, quite literally, designed our relationship.”

Our “relationship design” combined several elements that we observed in other people’s relationships and isolated, talked about, and then applied to our own:

-trust / make sure your partner feels secure-while it sounds obvious, I’ve never been in a relationship before where this was intentional.
-change and reinvention are healthy, and we have to support each other to be doing that as much as necessary.
-I’m the woman and he’s the man. (i.e. clear masculine/feminine roles.)
-emotions are temporary.


Yesterday I was irritated because I’d spent 5 hours iterating the design of a shirt collar, only to be back at the beginning.  I was irritated that it was 5 hours down a design dead-end.  But, reflecting on that, I used to spend dozens of hours every week obsessing about my romantic life.  Now-  now that I’m happy with my romantic situation, I spend practically no time thinking about it, and thus, that wasted five hours on the stupid collar-  well, it feels like a rounding error.  Better waste time on something that doesn’t have the cumulative effect of emotional drain on top of wasted time!

Posted by:Brook DeLorme

4 replies on “Wayward Intuition & Relationship Design

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