That time of year

We continued working on the new restaurant project today in preparation for a meeting with the client tomorrow. Even when I wasn’t participating directly, I took time to just observe how the elements were coming together and how Christopher was organizing and sequencing the actual presentation slides. In addition to getting the opportunity to work on “actual” design projects here as an intern, the observation and note-taking of these types of details are a very valuable aspect of the job. When one first starts dealing with clients outside of school work, there are a lot of questions about “how to present this”, “when to bring that up”, etc. that just can’t be replicated in a class. It is the little details like this that add a great deal to one’s design education.

It wasn’t all serious business today, however. Late in the afternoon, Christopher got off the phone with a client and informed us that we might have a book project coming up. There was a short pause, and then he followed up with, “It’s that time of year again.”

Without turning to look, I assumed he meant something like, “we always seem to get book projects around the holidays” and expected his follow-up to be along these lines. I was sure surprised when, instead of hearing him say something about the potential project, I hear a wooden “clink” sound just over my left shoulder. Turning, I see him with the classic wooden toy in hand, cup-and-ball (or ball in a cup):

Apparently “that time of year” refers to the MINE™ tradition (of sorts) of sharpening the ol’ skills with this fine precision toy instrument. This toy tool is indispensable in any graphic design studio, as it offers a way to sharpen one’s hand-eye coordination and mental and physical dexterity— always handy in crunch time. (“Okay, let’s see how many times I can make it before Acrobat opens.”)

I was curious about the design ratio of the object (ball to cup to string, etc) and did a little search, learning something new along the way: “Theory has infiltrated Cup and Ball design and will serve us well as we venture in the unknown.”

I guess looking back, it was all serious business at the office today.