“Fail, fail, fail, fail and fail some more” is the recipe to success that the wacky and award-winning designer Brooks Atwood wants to drill into creatives.
Atwood (pictured), head of New York’s Pod Design and assistant professor of industrial design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), associates failure with success.
The negative connotations associated with the word ‘fail’ need to be shaken off according to Atwood, who strives to “operate in that sweet spot between genius and failure” and said failing was a necessary step in the creative process.
The industrial designer, who is described as an early proponent of 3D printing, said another key to creative success is being “sexy”, confident and unashamedly yourself.
“I don’t give a fuck about what people think about me,” he said at the first Rise & Shine series of events at Melbourne’s WeAreDigital late last week.
“I believe that’s the best way to act with clients. If I try to talk to a client the way that they think they would want me to I never get those projects so I just try to be myself – that’s a really good lesson.”
When asked how to foster a creative working environment Atwood said the key is to banish negativity.
“Creativity is contagious. Just like negativity. There is a no-negativity police at my office so if anyone is feeling negative we just kick them out and tell them to come back later.
“I believe it is really important to keep that environment open and flexible.”
When he is in “nutty professor” mode with his NJIT students he encourages them to strive to create 37 versions of their vision before settling on one.
The “kind of achievable but also totally not achievable” figure is designed to make them start from scratch and question pre-conceptions.
“We attack each project from the start. Push boundaries and pre-conceptions. We start off by experimenting and questioning everything. This is the only way to innovate.”
Atwood has created metal rings using a 3D printer, park chairs that eventually turn into trees, a laser cut metal chair that weighs less than a bottle of wine called The Sylki and numerous custom houses.