Boats I’d like to design


This was the title to a post on my home site. It evolved into Boats for Difficult Times.

Its original impulse deserves an airing.

A designer usually compiles a list of previous work. Then looks for potential clients to approach them, looking for boats they’d like to have. Sometimes, and I’ve done this quite a lot over the years, a designer will begin developing a new idea speculatively. In the hopes of attracting a client.

This will be a little different.

I want talk about boats I’d like to design.

I’ve carried around an interest in certain types of boats for years. I don’t want to flesh them out as spec boats. I also don’t want to keep them to myself. It’s hard to explain exactly, but I have a sense that the best way to put them out there is to write about them. For one thing, it keeps them open-ended in their possibilities. By not drawing them out without a client’s involvement, they remain at that point of greatest potential without getting tied down with specifics that might be extraneous to the way they might ultimately develop.

Most people are captured by what they see, and find it very hard to maintain flexibility once I’ve shown something “out there.” It becomes for many people a question of either accepting or rejecting what they see. As a designer, I don’t want to lose the opportunity to allow a design to gel with with a client.

Designer & Client illustrated the magic that can happen when we start with a clean visual slate, relying on finding and developing a profound relationship with a person’s underlying motivations.

Reciprocal influences begin at the first conversation with a new client. They channel how a design develops. Once a design idea has gone into “cartoon” form that flexibility has already been restricted.

Spec designs hang fire. They tend to be liked, even admired, but they become commodified, frozen into a yes/no choice.

This might be fine if I was in the plan-selling business, but I’m really not.

I do sell a few plans as stock, but they are for modest boats that potentially appeal to a variety of people. The owner/builder still has the opportunity to make a boat their own. This can be a good way to go.

What I have to offer is best done through a one-on-one process of design development.

In the old paradigm, this was considered a luxury. It made up part of an economy of scarcity. It has been treated as a boutique industry and marketed and sold that way.

That’s not what I’m looking for. I don’t think this is the best way forward. Frankly, I’m no good at the positioning and posturing it requires.

I don’t see much value in it.

As I wrote in my post, Beginnings, in times like these boats have to mean more to us than just a status symbol. Another consumer good in a commodity culture.

They mean more than that to me.

I think they do for a lot of people.

We need to figure out how to organize support networks and forms of transaction, and develop relationships that make boats possible under a new paradigm.

What this means here is that we should be able to circumvent commodification by not lining up a series of samples in a window. Instead, I’d like to spin a few stories that might catch someone’s imagination, resonate, and grow into boats in the course of a dialogue.

 

Boats-bring-us-together

 

 

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