Great, another Japanese phrase appropriated as a lofty creative concept. Hear me out though, this one kind of spoke to me, and stuck. Here’s why.
The idea struck me while in Tokyo — on vacation, pursuing the happiness of disconnection from day-to-day work, and finding some inspiration to get my creative juices flowing again. And, I came across the phrase, “tsundoku”:
tsundoku 積ん読 — (n) the act of acquiring reading material, but leaving them piled up, unread. It combines elements of tsunde-oku (積んでおく, to pile things up ready for later and leave) and dokusho (読書, reading books)
Do you relate to this as much as I do? I can probably point to a dozen or two books on my shelf back at home, that I have purchased but have not even touched. And I honestly feel bad about my lack of commitment to consuming these ideas.
But for me, this is only representative of a larger problem (that this article is, hopefully, the start of a solution) in my life.
The reason I have so many books piled up is that I get a certain idea in my head, and start to research it immediately. I come across thought leaders that I need to look to, read into it a bit before purchasing their work, and…that’s it. The initial thought lingers, and sometimes I look back for reference, but the rabbit hole isn’t fully satiated.
The same goes for my creative thoughts. As a designer-turned-strategist, I’ve spent the last year thinking a lot about design, but not designing — because that’s no longer my job. But I have a lot of crazy ideas and a lot of crazy questions I’d like to try to answer, but they don’t often get very far.
Just like my books — some ideas and thoughts linger in-and-out of existence, in partial un-formed states.
That’s where this collection comes in.
I’m hoping that this platform becomes a place for these ideas to live and breathe, lingering in and out of my brain. It’s a playground of thinking, that will attempt to move some of these ideas onto paper to share with the world, even as initial and rough as they may be to re-visit later on.
tsundoku is a reminder of that pile of thoughts left unread...unsatiated...undefined. A reminder for me to put these thoughts to work. Hope you enjoy as I invite you to follow along on this creative journey.
a quick bio...
💁♂️ Jamie Kwan is an Experiential Designer and Strategist, working at the intersection of space, service, and digital experience design. During the day, he’s a Service Designer with Atlassian in 🇨🇦, but more broadly … He's a recovering Architect, 'creative-tech'-dabbling designer, and a research-driven brand strategist, who's worked alongside clients in the retail, technology, themed entertainment, and financial services sectors in navigating the future — transforming their brand purpose into designed experiences that connect with their audiences (and strives to make their heart skip a beat). ✨ Through his work, he's on a mission to inject the power of play, storytelling, and hero-centered experience design in envisioning the future. Selected clients include the Panama Canal Authority, CJ Group, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), AIRMILES, Canadian Tire Corporation, Cineplex Entertainment, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).
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