What is interdisciplinary design? In this episode Don and his daughter Zoe discuss the different aspects of design and when they apply in business.
Zoe Mock 0:19
So where are we going for lunch?
Don Mock 0:23
I don’t know. We’ll figure it out after we record this episode. That’s a great way to kick off the pod, though. I love that. All right, everybody, we’re back. Episode 44. As you can tell at the beginning, the question about what we’re going for lunch. We have a guest back. My daughter Zoey is back again. Say hello, everyone.
Zoe Mock 0:41
Don Mock 0:42
Zoe Mock 0:43
Dare I say.
Don Mock 0:46
You know what we’re gonna have to do one of these times? Now that there’s been a fair amount of podcasts out there, we’re gonna have to do an errors and omissions podcast. You’re gonna have to correct me on all the things that I’ve said that are wrong
Zoe Mock 0:57
Now that were 44. And I feel comfortable telling you that Up and Up is a Target label brand.
Don Mock 1:02
Correct. Correct. And I believe on a previous pod, I mentioned that it was a CVS private label, which it is not. Up and Up is definitely Target.
Target, There’s bits and pieces that you get wrong. And my mother and I, who’s also been on the pod will text each other about them.
I know. I know. Sometimes I just shoot from the hip and just speak and I say incorrect things. and
Zoe Mock 1:23
I like the confidence.
Don Mock 1:24
No, but I will say this, I’ll listen to sports talk radio in town. I’ll listen to whomever, other podcasts. And I’m frequently yelling at the podcast, too. No, no, that’s not the right player or that’s not the right team or that’s not right. So mad respect to all those people out there that make their living talking all day long. Or for many hours on the radio.
Zoe Mock 1:45
Don Mock 1:46
They get shredded on Twitter.
Zoe Mock 1:47
You said the burger had American cheese and it’s actually sharp cheddar.
Don Mock 1:50
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. That’s crazy. Well, you must be hungry. Speaking about lunch and now we’re talking about burgers. All right. So obviously, Zoe popped by said, Hey, let’s do a quick pod before we go out to lunch. We’ll probably hit next door and get some delicious sushi.
Zoe Mock 1:51
Shout out Wagaya.
Don Mock 2:05
Shout out, Waguya. Love that place. And on a previous pod, we introduced you to the world and talked about design on our side of the fence here at mocktheagency. Versus kind of designed that you are studying, being more of the industrial variety, dare I say? Well, everything… Hey, we’re all here to make money.
Zoe Mock 2:25
Everything’s for consumerism.
Don Mock 2:26
Yeah, exactly. So the the topic that sort of popped in my mind was the concept of interdisciplinary design. What in the world? What the hell? What does that mean? I don’t even know. Interdisciplinary design. Let’s talk about it. Let’s go. So I’ll go first, and then you can backfill.
Zoe Mock 2:43
Don Mock 2:44
Fo sho. haha. Fo sho.
Zoe Mock 2:47
I didn’t say it like that.
Don Mock 2:48
We’re loopy, we must be hungry. So for us, we do a lot of different things for a lot of different people, right? And we have bucketed it into advertising, design and digital as sort of the three verticals that we speak about. But then, within each one of those verticals, there are multiple different tactics, right? There’s even within design, there’s environmental design, like tradeshow design, there is brand development, I’m designing a logo and whatnot, right? Overlay digital on top of that, we’ve got websites and things. So when I think about interdisciplinary design, and we talk about branding a new company… All the companies are different that we work with the different markets that we work with are different. And I think interdisciplinary sometimes means one brand across many different tactics, across many different sort of avenues of how to get the word out. So it maybe advertising, and that advertising, maybe digital, and maybe just a Google search and maybe display ads. It may be commercials and maybe radio, maybe billboard.
Zoe Mock 3:46
Dare I say, across disciplines.
Don Mock 3:48
Yes, exactly. But then you’re also building a digital brand, you’re building an online presence. You’re building your website, you’re doing all that stuff. We also may be helping with the physical manifestation of the brand itself, like the package design. Oh I’ll go to the grocery store and oh, here it is. And I always think there’s no better form of branding and touchpoints than someone literally in a purchasing state of mind, actually grabbing your package, potentially comparing it to somebody else, you know, or whatever. Why should I buy this, you know, package of sausage of chicken sausage versus this other package of chicken sausage. And that’s where we’re big fans of, hey, put some advertorial headlines on an actual package. Cross discipline that way. I mean, you don’t have to have conceptualization on one side of the fence and design on the other side. We like to put everything in a blender and sort of put it all over the place, right? Because I think that’s fun, because consumers pop up all over the place. So interdisciplinary design from us is kind of tactical-specific. That being said, you are in the business of studying design right now. Oh, yes. And learning all sorts of magical fun things things. When I say interdisciplinary design to you, what does that mean to you?
Zoe Mock 5:08
Don Mock 5:09
I know. Da da dun. No pressure. There are 10s of fans out there listening right now.
Zoe Mock 5:15
Dare I say?
Don Mock 5:17
I’m trying not to say it as much. You guys gave me so much grief for saying “dare I say.” A. I better get that on a damn T-shirt at some point as as a gift. Somebody better design me a T-shirt.
Zoe Mock 5:28
Straight into the mic and scare the people’s ears.
Don Mock 5:30
Yeah, exactly. I’m sorry.
Zoe Mock 5:33
When I think of interdisciplinary design… you’re just talking about tactics. It’s still tactics. It’s just I’m learning to be in the business of speaking the language of many different disciplines. I think you’re “interdisciplinary” of in design, within the design umbrella. I think what I’m in the process of learning to do is quite literally interdisciplinary, like, across many disciplines.
Don Mock 5:59
No, you can’t use the word in the definition.
Zoe Mock 6:03
Across different subjects across different professions. I’mdealing with engineers every day, and I’m learning to speak the language of “this is why it will work. But I need you to make sure that it works.” And kind of the traditional side of “I will make it and you will make it work.” That kind of thought process.
Don Mock 6:20
Okay. Well, it’s kind of like architecture to a certain extent, I design something, and then you hand it to engineers to spec and make sure that the load-bearing situation works and things like that. So you’ve designed- what a chair a something. A coffeemaker I’ve used in the past.
Zoe Mock 6:38
And I’m learning within design, how to make it work so that I’m able to talk to engineers. Once that’s not my job anymore. to hand off to. Now you will, quote unquote, make it work, even though I’ve already made it work. Like you’ll spec it out. Yes, yes. Yeah. So that’s what I would think is-
Don Mock 6:56
And then shepherd the project through to completion, right?
Zoe Mock 6:59
Yeah, so yeah, it’s, it’s my baby. I’m not Yeah, not Just handing it off to the wolves.
Don Mock 7:04
Well, it is a collaborative environment. I mean we have multiple disciplines here in the office. All of which I consider extremely creative. And we’ve talked about our workflow and how our agency potentially is different than others. Even on the development side, the coding, we’re building websites. I mean coding is its own language. And I still consider that extremely creative. I consider that a totally different discipline, right. And then we work collaboratively to make sure that not only do the sites that we build, mechanically hold up through Google and Bing, and speed testing, and SEO and all that good stuff. But then also, on the other hand, look the way that we want the brand to reflect online. Yeah, there’s that forward facing, and then there’s the back end the plumbing, yes, we like to call it.
Zoe Mock 7:53
Yeah, I have computer science professor right now, actually, that likes to anecdotally talk about his traditional computer science classes that he’s teaching about. Because I’m learning design, computer science is kind of very different. I can ideate and figure out what I want to do. And then I iust need the tools to be able to do it. Yeah. Whereas the traditional computer science, I am here to code a website. Yeah, that’s you’re being told that you can do whatever you want and ever and you have complete freedom. Hold up, complete stop. I have no idea what I want to do. Yeah, absolutely not. Like someone to tell me what they want me to do. And then I will do it. Sure. And he talks about that challenge of trying to get people to open up as opposed to being handed the idea and to make it work. No, you need to make the idea and make it work. I find that the struggle to be on the back half of okay, I know what I want to do. It’s now the struggle to figure out how to do it.
Don Mock 8:50
Zoe Mock 8:51
And the complete opposite for traditional computer science students. I know how to do it. That’s not a problem at all. I have absolutely no idea what I want to do though.
Don Mock 8:59
Tell me what you want me to do. Yeah. Well, we’ve talked previously that sometimes the scariest part of the creative process is the white piece of paper, or the blinking cursor on your word Doc like, ” uuuuh, what am I gonna write?” Where do you start?
Zoe Mock 9:15
Where do you start? And I think-
Don Mock 9:18
Where do you start? Speaking of.
Zoe Mock 9:19
Where do I start?
Don Mock 9:20
Yeah, yeah, when you get an assignment. There’s an interesting question, kind of interrupting our own thought here, but like, where do you start?
Zoe Mock 9:28
Where? Okay, well, side note. Well, I will answer the question then I’ll side note it. I start, I’m sitting in lecture for an hour and a half. We get a complete project brief. Yeah, I get the complete timeline, everything. Client wants X, you’re gonna make Z. Immediately starting to ideate, immediate post-it noteage, just kind of throwing things up.
Don Mock 9:54
Are you writing? Are you doodling? Are you drawing? What are we doing here?
Zoe Mock 9:57
A variety of both. I’m on my iPad. I’m also on Big 18 by 24 sketchpads is doing big mind maps. It’s kind of everything, and then through the ideation and research, well, I should actually stop myself and say research is a big part of figuring out what you want to do before you figure out how to do it for sure. Because how am I going to know? That whole concept-
Don Mock 10:17
Research and competitive analysis is extremely important.
Zoe Mock 10:20
Yeah being able… I don’t want to stop talking on air time when I’m trying to think. But it’s a variety of doing the research to back up what I want to do, but also figuring out what I want to do. Interesting. And through that process, it involves throwing up anywhere-
Don Mock 10:36
Zoe Mock 10:37
…throwing up anywhere between 60 and 90 ideas and sketches in college, per class,
Don Mock 10:44
Okay, let me ask you this, which I’m interrupting you. When you get an assignment, right, and you are halfway through reading the brief or listening to Professor X talk about-
Zoe Mock 10:54
Steve. Shoutout Steve.
Don Mock 10:55
Whatever the case may be, do you already have ideas cooking? Before you even get to the end of the the piece of paper?
Zoe Mock 11:02
Yes. But I, at this point, have the knowledge that anything I throw out within the first five minutes is going to be garbage. You think so? I know that. Anything-
Don Mock 11:02
It’s Just about getting the process started.
Zoe Mock 11:12
It’s Just about getting the process started, having the excitement of oh, this actually does sound really cool. And knowing at this point, that that’s not what I’m going to end up with, but knowing that it might be an evolution of that. that’s not a bad place to start.
Don Mock 11:26
Yeah. But what is the best part of the project for you?
Zoe Mock 11:30
Having the magical moment of figuring out that I’ve figured out what I want to do.
Don Mock 11:35
Okay, so it’s still very much in the first round, it’s still at the beginning of the process. It’s when you’ve settled on an idea,
Zoe Mock 11:42
It’s at the end of the beginning of the process, I’ve figured out what I want to do and now I’m about to figure out how I’m going to do it. Okay. Yeah, it’s, it’s more so Just solidifying that, getting the approval and then starting to figure out, I’m going to put joints here, I’m going to do this there. This is how it’s going to actually get made. And then that’s the hardest part.
Okay, so it’s I’ve settled on my idea on what I’m going to build, then the terror kicks in. How am I going to make this happen?
Don Mock 12:04
Exactly. Right. Shout out to shop master Tripp, because I take my design down I go Tripp, how am I gonna do this?
Yeah, okay. Well, you’re still learning. But there is a certain amount of, I don’t want to say that, on our side of the fence too, even though we’ve been doing this for decades. There’s the ideation of Oh, this is the idea. And then oh, man, how are we going to get that done? No our how are we going to get that done generally applies to client restrictions industry restrictions and/or budgetary concerns, I’m sure. You know, because we’re experts and we know how to do everything. All right. I totally pulled us, meandered off from interdisciplinary design.
No, no. To go off on that meandering, that’s a difference in design. I do have friends in engineering disciplines now that it’s “Oh my god, I have two concepts due on Monday. Two. How am I gonna How am I going to do two?” And I look at them when I go “Pff! Two?!”
Yeah, well don’t be too braggadocious here.
Zoe Mock 13:13
I’m not gonna be braggadocious, but it’s it’s a it’s a very different mindset of “these two have to be the most perfect two things I’ve ever created ever.” Versus “the first two things I’m going to think about are not going to make it.” I know that Yeah. And Just that hurdle that you have to get over, that I think my discipline teaches and others don’t necessarily do.
Don Mock 13:14
Well, creativity sometimes is inherently insecure, because we birth all these little babies, so we want them all to grow up to become perfect. You know what I mean? But but we also know in the back of our minds, the vast majority of these are gonna die on the vine.
Zoe Mock 13:53
I don’t I don’t remember what book you guys were talking about. But anyone can be creative.
Don Mock 13:57
We’re talking about this book right here. I got it right here on the desk. Yeah. This is the Rick Rubin. The Creative Act: A Way of Being. It’s a fascinating book.
Zoe Mock 14:04
I’m gonna completely disagree with quote unquote, “anyone can be creative.” Really? Yeah. Wow, I mean that’ss coming out very strong. I think creativity can be a learned trait. But I think some people are Just inherently not creative.
Don Mock 14:19
Wow, that sounds harsh. I didn’t realize this podcast was going to turn so dark.
Zoe Mock 14:24
I think it’s learned but I think also it has to be nurtured. People don’t nurture it.
Don Mock 14:29
I think that you have to broaden the approach to what creativity is.
Zoe Mock 14:36
I will agree with that.
Don Mock 14:37
Rubin’s initial sort of definition is that Just the act of being a human being is inherently creative. And even the way that you drive to work can be a form of creative expression. We’re thinking about creative in terms of like, conceptual development and solutions to communication challenges or solutions to product development. And what’s the most creativce way to solve this problem. And it’s not, I’m making this up right now. But I’m looking at my glass of water here. It’s not about designing the perfect glass. It’s about creating a new way to drink water. You know what I mean? It’s so we’re taking it to that. I don’t want to say next level, but it’s-
Zoe Mock 14:37
It’s the experience level. How are you going to change the experience?
Don Mock 15:24
Yeah. And we’ve all encountered the people in our lives, like, Oh, I could never draw. I could never do this. I could never do that. Right. And yeah, maybe some people are more predisposed to being able to draw amazing portraiture or paint abstractly or whatever. But, you know, I do tend to agree with Rick Rubin that that Just being a human being allows us the ability to be creative.
Zoe Mock 15:46
I think, the hindrance of- look at me using my big words.
Don Mock 15:49
Yeah, I thought we’re done with the SAT.
Zoe Mock 15:54
I can do a whole episode on the SAT, which was impacted by COVID.
Don Mock 15:57
That would be riveting radio forever.
Zoe Mock 15:59
Absolutely not. Yeah, I think the people that are Oh, I could never be creative, are the people that are not going to be creative.
Don Mock 16:07
Well, they haven’t fostered it. Or they’ve chosen a different path, that’s all.
Zoe Mock 16:11
That’s what I mean by not everyone can be creative, because it’s that self-stopping. Oh, I could never do. Yeah.
Don Mock 16:16
So back to interdisciplinary. I think we’re gonna title this one A Meandering Conversation of Interdisciplinary Design, Mixed with Ice Cubes.
Zoe Mock 16:24
Don Mock 16:25
No it’s fine. You had mentioned off off air about, I don’t even know the term. I already forgot it. It’s some type of final exam or something where you work with-
Zoe Mock 16:35
Capstones? Yes. Yes, Capstone is a very big Georgia Tech thing.
Don Mock 16:39
Is that an interdisciplinary scenario? Because I think one of the beauties… so obviously, I went to art school. Everyone at art school, shocker! is an aspiring artist. I think what’s interesting about your path is that not everyone that you’re surrounded by is an aspiring artist or designer, right? And you’ve mentioned engineering. I mean, Georgia Tech is an engineering school. So you’ve mentioned engineering, and engineering is creative, I would argue in and of itself, and there’s biomechanical. There’s biomedical, biomedical, there’s all sorts of made up terms.
Zoe Mock 17:11
I live with the biomedical.
Don Mock 17:13
Yeah, but I mean, engineering in and of itself is such a broad tent that there are multiple disciplines within engineering itself.
Zoe Mock 17:20
Yeah, so to explain Capstone. Capstone is your junior or senior thesis. I’ve been given a big problem, and I’m going to be on a big team to solve a big team project. You work with engineers you work with- there might be an aspiring rocket scientist, on your team. A biomedical engineer here, they’re scattered through- in order to solve this big problem. I’ll have a capstone for industrials. I’ll also have a capstone for TNM, which is just, which is my minor, but because that’s now been figured out.
Don Mock 17:52
Yeah, hooray. Congrats.
Zoe Mock 17:55
But it’s a very big interdisciplinary project of, everyone has to work on this together, to put forth their,
their expertise and their knowledge. So the designer gets-
Don Mock 18:08
well, I think that’s cool, because I think that’s not unlike the Real world.
Zoe Mock 18:11
Exactly, exactly. I think, from what I’ve heard, because I’ve not experienced it. Yeah. It’s a good look into what you’ll be dealing with. Yeah. And kind of that first big problem, of I want to solve drinkable water crisises in X country. And actually figuring out how to do that.
Don Mock 18:27
Well, we’ve worked with a number of medical device companies. So we’ve actually worked with companies that have incubated out of Georgia Tech, or are littered with Georgia Tech grads, which is pretty exciting. And there’s a medical need, that these these individuals have solved, but then there’s also the design challenge of implementation. So when you think about some of our medical clients, and hey, we’ve developed a new way to fix your broken body. I’m very much painting with a broad brush here. Well, sometimes that design implementation comes into instrumentation or, Hey, we fixed a way to to heal your body, but we we also have to invent and design the actual procedure. Yeah, to get the way to do it. Yeah, way to do it.
Zoe Mock 19:16
The complete experience, call it. We know how to do it. We don’t know how to do it for you. Yeah, exactly.
Don Mock 19:19
Right. So I think I think the Capstone model is really interesting.
Zoe Mock 19:24
It ties interdisciplinary design together.
Don Mock 19:26
Yeah, it takes a village to make change in the world. And I think that design can change the world, which is pretty exciting.
Zoe Mock 19:37
I wouldn’t be learning what I am, if I didn’t think that.
Don Mock 19:40
Yeah, yeah, that’s pretty cool. All right. I’m feeling some rumbling in my tumblin for some sushi. So let’s wrap this thing up. All right. Last time I asked you favorite campaign and favorite brand, and one of them was Herman Miller. I don’t remember something about Super Bowls. Kia. Anything else you want to throw out there any shout outs of awesome brands or any anything. I know we’re ready to do this.
Zoe Mock 20:03
Oh, I Just I feel so put on the spot. Even though I’m supposed to be-
Don Mock 20:06
That’s why it’s called the hot seat.
Zoe Mock 20:07
When walk in the door. I think I said Herman Miller last time with a side note for IKEA. I will dedicate this one to IKEA. Okay, IKEA. Absolutely love IKEA. Yeah.
Don Mock 20:14
All right. All right. All right, I guess that’s it for today. Thanks for listening everybody. You can find us online at MOCKtheAgency.com on the socials @mocktheagency on the interwebs at mocktheagency.com. But you already know that because you’re listening to literally my podcast. All right, we’ll play us out and thanks everybody.