Love notes to my design heroes / by Myan Duong


This Valentine's day, I stumbled upon a lovely post by IDEO, where designers and writers thanked their design heroes. It was such a sweet expression of another kind of love to celebrate on this day. I liked it so much, in fact, that I decided to write my own love notes to my heroes because they deserve some love. Some of these people are alive and can embarrassingly read these (embarrassing for me, not them) and others I've only dreamt of meeting. Regardless, I wanted to throw that love out into the universe. 

Dear Charles and Ray Eames (but mostly Ray),
You are the quintessential design heroes for anyone who attended any sort of design school. Because I'm a sap, I fell in love with the fact that you were both lovers and creative partners, a union most people could only wish for. Not only were you a beacon for my personal life goals, your childlike wonder and refusal of being pigeon-holed into one medium really made me feel like anything was possible. I struggled all throughout school, not knowing what exact thing I excelled at - always being questioned about what I wanted to do. My answer is as simple as just wanting to make things. You relentlessly inspired me to do just that. 

And Ray, you were a damn boss. In an industry that is still male dominated, you always stood out as a force to be reckoned with and I'm convinced that you propelled Charles into next level designer royalty.

Hey Cord, 
You came into my life at a really important juncture, where I could have decided to settle for a typical design education or make up the rules as I went. With your encouragement, I went with the latter and you only ever egged it on. Even to this day, in my 30's you find ways to uplift and remind me of the potential I can meet and strengths I choose to overlook. I try to tell you thank you every time you share those kind sentiments, but I'm pretty sure that'll never be enough. You continue to selflessly dedicate your life to forming the confidence in others and taking your passion to even the most apathetic students. It's a wonder how you haven't given up teaching after so many years knowing that not all of them will attribute you for their future success. I hope I keep making you proud with every weird choice I make in life. :)

Dear Dieter,
We give a lot of credit to Jony Ive for making products that give us feels, but you were the Godfather of product feels. Your design principles bleed far beyond the decisions I make when creating things - it's how I curate my life and make so many choices. You've taught me both to be thoughtful and not to over think things - which for someone like me is pretty difficult. The beauty of your work is that you make everyone feel like it's so easy, when in fact, it's the hardest task to simplify the way you do. Thank you for teaching me that "enough" isn't a dirty word. 

To All My Creative Friends,
You know who you are. You inspire me daily with your constant evolution and never giving up your creative dreams. You're honest about who you are and are just the right amount of jaded (like me). I'll always know I'm surrounded by individuals that I fully trust and can equally celebrate and complain about the fact that what we do can be both amazing and bullshit at the same time. I owe you everything. I can't wait to see the magic you continue to make.