Monday, November 22, 2010

all in a name?

What's in a name we often ask? Or... a title?

I was reading Nicole's blog post today: about her discovery that she is in fact not a hand-bag designer. To her this was a very important discovery. To others it is probably not that important. Then I remembered reading this leaflet in the car long before I got to work and came across Nicole's blog post. The said leaflet informed me on the different design streams within the local Polytech. I was reading about product design... yes familiar.... fashion design.... not my field... interior design.... yes work in that one.... communication design.... huh? This lovely umbrella of Communication Design covered the whole spectrum of what I have been doing for many years, excluding the activity of goat herding - somehow that is not part of their curriculum. Interesting to read though. I thought: ah! now I can do away with all the summing up of what it is I do, this umbrella would suit me fine.

Sometimes I observe that we have the tendency to either make things unnecessarily complicated, too interesting then it really is or simply too darn wordy. Being concise has benefits. People get a quicker grasp on what it is we do. Of course the questions is: do we wish to be labelled? Does it matter? And: we are often labelled whether we agree with it or not! Do we make enough time to explore more about a person we meet? Look past the label or title enough?

Just recently I met this lovely couple through my work. They live only 10 minutes away from where our farm is and they needed a solution for their interior. A few years ago they helped us with our highland cattle as we had been shifting them from our farm to the neighbors. Then last Saturday I finally discovered what it actually was what the husband does for a profession. He hunts Moose. In New Zealand. With a bunch of cameras. In a very dense large stretched out area called Southland. Apparently he is quite well known throughout New Zealand and I hadn't had a clue, because I hadn't heard about any of it before. His work is controversial and many New Zealanders think that his work and theories are a bunch of crock (as they say here) because no one has seen a live Moose since the 50s. The fact that Ken is relatively famous is not interesting, but the funny fact that it took me a few conversations to finally clue in on the fact that of course there was a lot more to these lovely people then met the eye, as my main priority had been to help them with their interior.

A title or name can be useful, but being labelled can have negative connotations as Ken has found from time to time. Either we choose or accept the label we like/are given or we decide to just play the part we want to ourselves regardless of it. It's not so much what we're called, it's what we do that makes a difference. It's what stories we share ourselves.

More about the topic of labeling here (excellent post)

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