Jordan Rotheiser, a.k.a my dad, is a sculptor, cartoonist, product designer, mechanical engineer, interior designer, store owner, author, lecturer, and expert witness. He’s always been one of the hardest workers I’ve known and taught me that same work ethic. His advice was ‘you’ll most likely spend the majority of your hours working, so you should really love what you do.’ I have vivid memories of him drafting a cup or silverware for United Airlines. Or TAGGING ALONG TO VISIT THE STORE 'CITY' (WHICH later became luminaire) TO PICK OUT FURNITURE FOR HIS INTERIOR CLIENTS. When my cousins came to visit, he would draw futuristic cars and DOOR HANDLE details, harkening back to his days in the styling division at General Motors. STARTING WHEN I WAS 8 YEARS OLD, He would BRING ME to THE houseware shows TO help CHOOSE PRODUCTS to sell at the store he owned with my mom. They even let me play around with the store displays. When I started drawing letter forms, he would take out his French curves and teach me how to use them with pen and ink. I became a designer because of him. When you meet my dad, he might seem lost in his own thoughts. His creative process actually surprised me and it gave me a peek inside his head.
Jordan's Creative Process :
My creative process is difficult to describe because it is often spontaneous. Ideas sometimes pop into my head singly or in clusters so fast that I have difficulty recording them before they disappear into my subconscious. They can even come while the project is still being presented to me. It is not something I can control very well. I cannot call it up on demand or even guess when it will happen.
When it does not happen, I rely on the techniques I learned in my Industrial Design education. That is to brainstorm a bunch of concepts in "thumbnail" sketches, then refine them in two or three stages. That finally results in well-developed composite drawings, known as "comps," of the design proposals for presentation to the client.
That works, but it is a procedure different from the "starburst" event. When that occurs, my first effort is to record the concepts as quickly as possible so I do not lose them. Then I skip the "thumbnail" stage and attempt to gain control over this process. It helps that I am also a degreed engineer with many years of engineering experience. That helps me isolate those concepts which present ridiculous engineering challenges (e.g. there is no known material which can provide the necessary physical properties) needed to achieve success.
In the current business environment, there are few clients able and willing to spend the time and resources required to overcome these challenges. Consequently, I then concentrate my efforts on concepts more readily achieved. The engineering side of my brain is always trying to bring the project to fruition using the minimum of resources, what engineers refer to as an "elegant solution."
When concepts come in clusters, I can become so concentrated I lose contact with the outside world – disappearing into the "zone" so to speak. When someone starts to speak to me, I will not hear the first sentence of what that person has said until my real world presence has returned. Calling my name does bring me out of the "zone."
When I am in a situation where I need to force the creative process, I crossbreed my experience from the various industries I have done work in. That does help, however it is hard to fully grasp the workings of the creative mind because there are so many conflicting elements. Clearly, personal experiences play an important part.