By Beth Anderton-Allen
I am currently writing this scab on my flight back from Amsterdam. I decided to escape London for a couple of days and explore somewhere new. Some may call it off out to collect dots. I think it’s really important to escape the smog before D&AD hits us in the face at full throttle. But i’m not going to tell you all about my European escapades, instead you all need to know about this amazing new documentary series.
Abstract is a brilliant new series on Netflix that all of you need to watch. The documentary series focuses on the lives and ideas of creators and how they harness their creativity. The episode I want to tell you all about follows the famous Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield. Designer of the airforce max and the Nike Jordans. He talks about creativity and what makes him tick. But everything he spoke about was a complete reflection of what we have been taught so much about.
Here are a few things I took from his episode:
- A library in your head. Tinker stresses the importance of getting out of your office and going out to explore and take in new things, he surfs or skates most days. Great ideas aren’t going to just pop into your head.
- At the start of each project, Tinker begins out with a blank sheet of paper and just draws out all of his ideas making them interlink and morph into one another until he finds something that sticks.
- Thinking further out into the future. In the 80’s Tinker was roped into designing the infamous trainers from the movie Back To The Future. So in 1984 he was having to imagine what trainers would look like in 2015. That’s pretty radical thinking. Years later he has started developing the technology that he had dreamt up in 80’s and is working it into his new designs. Check out Nike’s Electro Adaptive Reactive Lacing (E.A.R.L).
- If people either don’t love or hate your work, then you just haven’t done enough. Tinker emphasises the point that when designing a set of trainers, he takes at least 20 different routes to the client.
- Disrupt the norm. When asked to work on the design of a new pair of trainers. Tinker noticed a building that was designed in reverse, with all of the pipes and inners of the building constructed on the outside instead exposing all of it’s engineering. So he took this idea and decided to expose the air cushion within the heel of the trainer and the Nike air max was born. A classic trainer that we all love, being created from an inspiration of architecture.
- The power of story. Each pair of trainers that Tinker has designed tells a story. The story might not just be the aesthetic but the process behind the design of it. When designing the Nike Jordans series, Tinker researched and got to know Michael Jordan on a personal level, so that each season the new trainers would be a reflection of Jordan’s life at the time.