A short word on what I do

The story... Late 2017, shortly after my baby daughter arrived, I was out having 'new dad' beers with the guys from my NCT group. Inevitably, we got to the subject of what we all did for a living. Going round the table, five or six beers in, as it was getting closer and closer to being my turn, I started to think 'say it quickly, Neil. Get it over with, Neil. Don't be boring, Neil.'

I noticed how everyone's 'thing' was defined, understood and admirably clear. Then onto me. I stuttered, I blabbered. It took a while. It was boring.

The problem Now what I do isn't boring, it's a lot of fun, it's interesting and it's something I've done for 16 years! I had though, spent all that time trying to figure out a way of explaining what I do.

Being quite particular about what design is, or at least what it means to me, I'd got too bogged down in the detail and the type of thing I was working on at the time. Somehow, I'd managed to make something cool sound increasingly fickle, complicated and downright tedious. A career, to that point spanning 16 years, and I was still weirdly perplexed by something that in hindsight was so simple.

The epiphany May 2018 and an immensely entertaining talk from the legendary Dave Evans gave me that kick up the arse I've been looking for.

I don't specifically work on one type of project, or evangelise about aesthetics. I never needed to explain why I found a 'piece of design' to be a weird thing to say or why was I trying to sum up, in one easy bite-size chunk, my opinion of literally everything from 'design thinking' to the greats of logo design.

I spent so much time spent describing my daily working life to the poor souls who asked 'What do you do', that I'd lost sight of what it was I actually did.

The inspo I was hugely inspired about Dave's idea of 'doing stuff' and to 'be your best self'. In my head, I started to create a sense of what 'stuff' I do and what influences me. Architecture, art, interiors, furniture, illustration... I write, draw, paint, watch, build, code, read, listen and talk. It became quite apparent that I'm inspired by almost everything and that after all that detail and blurb, I can proudly describe myself as a designer. I design 'stuff'.

Fairly simple in the end!

Neil Menday