Normally, my design process is based on the “form follows function” philosophy: you have a problem, you define the criteria/limits, and you build your solution up from that. But I’m beginning to notice that there are times in my design process where I would immediately come up with a “cool” solution, and then I look for meaning and useful characteristics of the solution to explain my “reasoning” afterwards. When I think of that, I am reminded of the “BS your way” approach to presenting your projects.
I try not to use this approach with my work, as I find that I am more confident presenting my work when I know what I’m talking about. But sometimes, it’s just inevitable. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Oftentimes, it is after your work is complete do you finally see what it really means and how it solves the problem. It’s like watching The Sixth Sense when you already knew the ending (which was spoiled for me by watching “50 First Dates” first).
As much as I prefer to base my designs on logic and reason, there are times (probably by definition) when they don’t yield creative results. I believe this is when I would resort to this outside-in process, where analogically, instead of determining how much space each room of your house needs and expanding from within, I would build the outside of the house first, and then go back in and divide the spaces into rooms and such. (Now, I don’t know how architects design houses, so maybe they always use the latter approach and I just wasn’t aware of it.)
I think the outside-in approach to design would yield interesting results sometimes because, if we use my horrible house analogy again, if you build from the outside in, you would have a new constraint of limited space, so you would approach your room division differently than you would if you build from the inside out and can have as much room as you want to grow. You could divide the space the same way so every room is smaller; you could combine spaces; you could build up and down; or you could have a convertible space (like if your bed drops down from a wall).
In any case, now that I’m aware of this approach, I’m ready to embrace it as an option in my design process for when I’m stuck with my logic and my reason.