Brendan Dawes
The Art of Form and Code

Putting 'stupid' ideas into the world

I've always been a great believer in putting ideas out into the world to represent who you are what you're about. It's something I do a lot for myself, pushing things out into the world in the hope that those things resonate with someone which eventually leads to a commission. Within that I never cease to be surprised by just what does resonate with people, as often times it's a seemingly trivial, stupid little thing that I probably didn't think much of at the time.

Take for example an idea that was in my 2006 book Analog In Digital Out. This book was my take on interaction design in its widest sense, featuring lots of eclectic ideas and projects. Yet the one that seemed to stick in people's heads — something that at first glance seemed, well, a little ridiculous — was a door bell that chimed whenever someone visited my site.

The Doorbell chapter in my 2006 book
The doorbell chapter in my 2006 book Analog In Digital Out

Whenever people mention that book to me they usually always bring up this doorbell gizmo. I think what resonated with people about it was yes, the ridiculousness of it, but also the charm of it — the idea that a doorbell with its iconic ding dong could be driven by something digital and modern seemed to suggest the possibility of these devices being embedded with warmth. Plus of course back in 2006 the idea of connecting things like this to the Internet was still in its infancy.

I keep continuing to put these things out there as they always come back to me. Most recently I had a call with a prospective client about making some physical data art because he'd seen the experiments I'd done using my Twitter data to make physical objects — data you can hold in your hands. That's the second time that very piece has led to work commissions.

Data as Object

My point is put your work out there as you never know just who that thing — that thing you thought was maybe just OK — will resonate with, prompt them to get in touch and say we need to talk...