Gerry Mussett

One of the definitions of sacrifice includes “the act of slaughtering an animal or person for ritual reasons...” and the more I think of that the more I realise that the more common but less dramatic definition descriptors ...surrender, relinquish, forgo are somewhat wimpish by comparison.

Now I am not saying that actual physical sacrifice is something that I have engaged in but to be truthfully honest there have been times in my career that deep, deep down I would have gladly enjoyed putting a particularly painful client to the ritual sword… oh and thrown in a few recalcitrant suppliers into this bloody amphitheatre of my mind.

Pain and retribution are the sweet things that reside solely in the deep recesses of my brain to be used to compensate failure and impotence at events that couldn’t be controlled or results that would have been better…had that client just listened.

I’ve got to ask...

How many times did I let the client select the one design option I hated because I sacrificed my integrity for their ego?

How many times did I sacrifice my ideas for the harmony of the team or the placation of my partners?

How many times did I sacrifice the purity of a design because the cost would add a few cents to the product when it would have sold many times over the compromised solution?

How many times did I ignore the environment because I sacrificed the opportunity to make a difference by acquiescing to the difficulty of selling the idea to the client?

I think my professional sacrifice ledger is in the positive but you always wonder did I sometimes sacrifice my soul…do you?

Design is an all-encompassing beast and as I near the end of a long career it has also become abundantly clear that indeed sacrifice in the common, conventional form is and was a fundamental part of my journey as a designer. We, as a profession are narcissistic beasts and need affirmation to perform and drive ourselves to the next step closer to perfection.

We all have done it...just another few hours at the studio, throw in a working weekend, forgo that holiday time to get that latest design just right...and well the designs were mostly right but my personal sacrifice to the altar of the design gods often came at the cost of sharing time with those that mattered.

I am who I am because others put themselves behind my dreams, put their ambitions on hold and yes, sacrificed a part of their life for mine...I only wish she was here to see that it was not all in vain.

True sacrifice is in reality a selfish either sacrifice yourself for others or sacrifice yourself for yourself [and really hope others think it is for them]. I must admit I think a lot of my ‘sacrifice’ was the latter and whilst I reckon I put some great design work out there...was it worth it?

Gerry Mussett

Gerry graduated with distinction in Industrial Design from RMIT, Melbourne in 1975 when it had only one computer and access to it was via binary code and punch cards and 3d printing was a pipe dream. 

He has since developed an affinity for computers and all things electronic and has morphed his industrial design consultancy into Sprocket, a fusion of art, technology and manufacturing reality and is now one of Australia’s leading interactive tablet technology and digital directory companies with global facilities in Australia and Shanghai.

Gerry has delivered keynote addresses on design and technology at numerous international conferences. He is a Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia, past Councillor and President of the Design Institute of Australia [Victoria] and member of the Advisory Board of Design Victoria.

Today Sprocket sits as testament to the evolution of industrial designers from interpreters of others’ visions into producing products of their choice and their design.

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