The Thinking of Design, an Interior Journey into the Work and the Word: Sign the Signal, Scribe the Insignia, Script the Sigil and Designate the Signature.
Drawing, scratching, scribbling, scarring and scripting – there are alignments in the movement and momentum of design thinking and the historical renderings of these words — the journey of investigating — seeking vestiges, listening at hints, contemplating whispers, seeking the voicing of passions, commitment, loyalty and work.
Designers are lustrators —
they shine and illustrate
to polish the voicing of an idea —
a thought or line of enterprise-driven language —
it’s a kind of magical planar trans-positioning of one idea, which through mind and meditation, becomes the notated ideal, a scribbled and scratched symphony of thoughtful gestures that shall move from one plane of perception and comprehension to another degree of awareness.
It goes and goes.
It moves on, and through —
and just like the “true name” of the etymon
design is a “signing and designation,”
the personalized signature of an idea. Design, from the Latin designare — is a demarcation, a “marking out.”
Design “designates,” it points to, it suggests direction — and in the deeper meaning of the word and the study of the voicing of its sounds, it becomes de, as in “out” with signare, which is “to mark, to make a sign,” and interior?
“Enter in,” as in the study of
the journey of the history of any word
and its meanings.
When you ask, there is a key question —
“what’s it to me?”
Which might be also put:
“what’s me, to it?”
Which asks another question:
You walk back,
to stride forward.
You look within,
to look without.
To the ancient sound and meaning of the sign, there is a theory of an ancient prototypical [ 3500 BCE] foundational tongue, which is referred to as PIE — which is *sekw-no-, from the root sound *sekw which formed the voiced rendering of signum — “a heavenly sign, symbol, omen, military standard or ensign, an insignia, or identifying mark.” There are expansions, which link back to these meditations of meaning — the work of a designer comes from, and goes to, what?
Signature, from signatura — “the matrix of a seal.”
Sigil — from signum, an “occult device of great power.”
Signal “distinguish;” insignia “badge of honor;” assignation “to mark out.”
Each returns to the marking — the move from listening, translation, interpretation and ideal to a new framing of insight.
And it comes back to marking.
Make your mark.
Tim | Charlotte, North Carolina
B R A N D M Y S T I C I S M | Deep Journeys to Team & Enterprise
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HUMANS, BRANDING + H E A R T
Marvelous piece, Tim, one of your best! I loved musing over it again and again, it kept leading me to higher-plane thinking and deeper to where design is pointing and to wondering about the expressions on the faces of your clients as you speak this aloud. Just once. With gusto.
Dartmouth astrophysicist Marcelo Gleiser writes of his love of fishing and I saw another plane trans-positioning suggesting more parallels to come, when he writes: “In fishing and in science we flirt with the elusive. We stare at the water, and sometimes we see a fish stir underneath the surface or even jump, betraying its presence. The line and the hook are our probes into this other realm, which we perceive only very imperfectly.”
And to this I would only add that just so in design, just a little less imperfectly than others which is why we insist we drive the canoe, day in day out, ‘looking within to look without.’
HOWARD — good morning and I’ve been thinking about this a lot. You make a mark, what’s that do? What comes of that doing — from it, what is due? I believe that perhaps the greatest discovery of my last decade is the journey to finding again that which, once, first opened my heart — in the work, that is that there is more, deeper lessons in the making and the magic of the work than what we think about — just doing — day to day. “Go in, and sit — see what you can find.” Go out, and be there. Wishing well.