Hybrid training in design

 8 February 2013

Jason Bruges is an interaction designer. His team create site-specific installations, set designs, lighting and architectural features. He explained why having a wide mix of skills, training and interests can help designers.

"The description of what I do varies massively, depending on who I’m talking to. The work the studio does sits between architecture, art and interaction design. 

"My architecture friends say, ‘You’re not an architect’. My artist friends say, ‘You’re not an artist’. Interaction designers say, ‘Well, you’re not really an interaction designer.’ It’s this weird middle ground.”

Building a mix of career skills

"Here is my advice for people wanting to become involved in interaction design, or who want to create mixed media commissions that are site-specific in a similar way:

1. Don't limit yourself

"Don't be too prescriptive about the path you think you might need to take.

"I ended up where I am now as a result of quite a few things coming together. So I think to say, ‘you must do this’ or ‘you must do that’ is too one-path."

2. Develop transferable skills

"I think the kind of interesting people who work in the studio with me are very hybrid. They have quite a few different interests.

"We have architects, but they’ve also trained as set designers. We have lighting designers who also work on the performances we design for, and with the bands.

"Not being able to pigeonhole people makes things interesting."

"We have industrial designers, and we have an interaction designer who also studied fine art. A lot of these people have hybrid training.

"We’ve got a partially-trained architect, but she also did physics and maths."

3. Find a niche for yourself

"Each time I think of someone on the team, there's a mix of things.

"It’s the mix – a kind of greyness, and not being able to pigeonhole people – that makes things really interesting and exciting.

"I think my advice to anyone would certainly be to create yourself a niche. Be an interesting sort of hybrid."

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