Designer of the Day: Joe Doucet

The native Texan talks about doing manly things, his family, and the ghost that lives in his country house.

The native Texan talks about doing manly things, his family, and the ghost that lives in his country house.

Every day we ask a designer to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their lives.

Age: 46

Occupation: Designer, entrepreneur, and inventor

Hometown: Terrell, Texas

Studio location: Chinatown, New York City

Describe what you make: From designing business cards to business models, we approach challenges with the same goal of creating an elegant and innovative solution. We work across a great many categories, which apart from keeping work interesting, gives us insights gleaned from a broad base of experience that we can apply to new problems.

The most important thing you’ve designed to date: My life. Finding a balance between creating ambitious projects and being there for my family is the best application of design principles I can think of.

The problem your work solves: We specialize in intractable problems. Many of our best projects come to us from clients who have struggled with something particularly difficult and gone through a few other designers before coming to us. I particularly like difficult challenges, as they keep you sharp and offer no greater satisfaction than when you arrive at an elegant solution.

What you are working on now: Most of my time these days is spent on taking Othr, our design brand of 3D-printed objects, to the next level. Building a new type of consumer-facing design brand with an amazing team and a global list of the best talent is about as engaging as it gets.

A new or forthcoming project we should know about: There are always a dozen or so projects at various stages of progress. One coming up that I am particularly excited about is a politically motivated collection launching in Mexico in February. More to come on that….

What you absolutely have to have in your studio: A clean desk and a cluttered mind.

Joe Doucet's decanter set for Nude Glass.

What you do when you’re not working: I spend a good deal of time at my country house in Stoneridge, New York, doing very manly things. It’s on a larger plot of heavily wooded land, and you’ll see me with an ax or chainsaw in my hands most weekends. I believe they would be shocked at my local hardware store if they knew what I did for a living during the week. Probably not, but I get a great deal of satisfaction in telling myself that.

Sources of creative envy: I read a great deal (meaning audiobooks, as dyslexia makes traditional reading difficult)—particularly non-fiction. Biographies of great people I admire are a particular favorite as I find them motivational when planning you next moves. I’m rereading Walter Isaacson’s Benjamin Franklin now, as he has always been a source of inspiration and a model of how diverse one person can become with curiosity and industriousness. DaVinci, Elon Musk, and Richard Feynman are also favorite authors for similar reasons.

The distraction you want to eliminate: Email.

Concrete or marble? Marble. Noble materials create heirlooms and not items easily disposed of when one is tired of them.

High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse. There is nothing like a backyard in the city.

Aliens or ghosts? Ghosts. I happen to have one in my country house. Seriously.

Remember or forget? I’ve been blessed with a very short memory. It helps in only looking ahead …

Dark or light? You cannot have one without the other. I love and employ them equally.

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