Let me get one thing straight — I’m not exactly what you’d call “outdoorsy”. I hated boy scouts, despised P.E. in high school; I’m still not sure I fully understand the offside rule. But there’s something quite special about stepping away from they keyboard and making something, or going somewhere. Smelling the Earth. Getting dirt in your fingernails, and building a thing you can take home and use.
My (unlikely) dream is to one day get myself a prefabricated, flat-pack house, much like the one you see above from HUF Haus, and put it up somewhere nice. Something I can call my own — completely new. Something I know from the inside out. My own custom castle.
Of course, I know I could never do it alone — I don’t have the manpower to build such a thing on my own, nor the brainpower to figure out things like plumbing and electricity. Maybe if I put my mind to it I could, but I doubt it. But the intention is there, and I’d supervise the whole thing, and it would still be that — my castle. And I could sure as hell decorate the thing, and put up the shelves myself, and maybe even build a table and a few whatchamacallits.
Where exactly are you heading with this, Dan?
Good question. I feel very much the same way about my future as I do about design & web development. I feel like we should be making our own tools, and our own crutches, rather than using whatever the hottest thing right now is. When I needed a CSS framework, I found that the currently available solutions didn’t suit my needs — so I made one. When I found myself repeatedly writing the same CSS animations on websites, I thought to myself “There must be a place with all this stuff already written?” — and there wasn’t. So I made one. When I needed a place to calculate my income and outgoings, I found there were a few places to go. But they were all way to complex or expensive. So… you guessed it.
Even if a solution already exists, we should strive to make something else. Because it’s fun. It’s hard work. It’s practice. It could be invaluable to others. What defines a product’s success, to me, is not how well it is received by others, but how happy you are with it.
Don’t settle for a house someone else has built — strive for a castle you crafted. Make things.