Is your bathroom a bologna sandwich?

Yesterday Steve and I were catching up like we do most evenings.  I was telling him of my frustration with an architect in my firm who was perfectly content to have a wall-hung sink in a public toilet.  As a designer, I'm not okay with this.  And not because I'm an interior designer, but because I'm a designer and no designer would be okay with this. 

Friends, you'll find that though colleges went through similar schools, were trained to think in similar ways, and are working in the same place, people are still people.  And people have different priorities from each other.  I had an illusion that the design field was one of idealists whom all strove for the same goal as me, to bring design to the public to make their lives better.  This, sadly, isn't true.  There are people in my field, who like every other field, just go with the motions.  They are perfectly content to do things as they always have.  Perfectly content to not ask questions.  They think a wall-hung sink in a little clinic is no big deal.  But it is a big deal and I'll tell you why. 

As Steve puts it, you can have a piece of bologna smacked between two pieces of wonder bread white and call it a sandwich, or you can have shredded turkey, cranberry chutney, walnuts, fresh baby greens, and brie delicately placed on a freshly baked baguette.  There is a difference, and people know it. 

Whether or not you could cook something or design something better yourself is inconsequential. People know good food when they eat it and they know good design when they see it.  That's why people loved Julia Child and now Jamie Oliver.  That's why they bought iPods instead of what the other guy was selling.  People like Julia Child, Jamie Oliver, and Steve Jobs didn't invent what they were selling, they made it better. 

They showed the world how good a simple braised chicken could be.  How making the interface between you and a machine more simple, could make your life easier.  While I'm not going to start a food or technology revolution, or even a design revolution, with one bathroom in one urgent care clinic.  I am going to make someones life a bit more comfortable in a stressful time when either they or a loved one is not feeling well.  Little things go a long way to make someones life better. 

Think of how you can actually taste the difference when the person cooking truly cares about what they are making.  Think of the time the sales person made your shopping experience delightful instead of just another errand because they actually wanted to help you.  Think of the time you stepped into a space and said, wow, this is beautiful.  Now think of how amazing this world would be if everyone followed their passion and did what they loved.  No more going through the motions.  No more mediocrity.  No more melancholy.  And no more bologna sandwiches. 


  1. Perfect post. I'm an animator in grad school and what you said reminds me of something my dad would tell me.

    "If it weren't for all the stupid people out there, we wouldn't looks so smart." Change that to "If it weren't for all the lazy designers out there, we wouldn't look so talented." and it would still be true.

    What makes you better than your co-worker is you take the extra steps to make it better than it is.

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