Making your work uniquely you

Fast Company recently highlighted the award designed for this year’s graduating class at the top Dutch design school. Instead of a simple hood or diploma, The Design Academy Eindhoven has a special graduating trophy each year.  This year, the trophy was actually a set of medallions–one for each of the graduates–that created a pig’s head when stacked.

It’s not as undignified as it sounds–not for this group: the Netherlands have a tradition of pig farming and designers by nature and nurture enjoy creating unusual responses to traditional challenges. One might say they wallow in it.

This pig’s head trophy wouldn’t work everywhere, and it shouldn’t. In fact it shouldn’t be replicated–no matter what a good idea it is.  It was a one-time solution that would really only work there. 

In your downtown events, celebrations, and problem solving, the local traditions you draw upon and the collective community creativity you employ will produce authentic, unique models that may only work in your district. You’ll draw from other communities, but in the end, you’ve got to make it yours.