One of the most insightful slices into the current creative process of Tinker Hatfield comes from Brett Golliff’s in-depth “Design Insight” interview of the designer behind a breathtaking number of Nike and Air Jordan footwear classics over the last 30 years, including this month’s return of the AJ XI, regarded in many circles as the greatest sneaker of all time.
Hatfield’s artistic approach brings to mind the work flow of a current generation of rappers, most notably led by Jay-Z, who has been known to simply let ideas stew around in his head for a bit, then promptly spits out creative work captured in rapid fire procession. It’s newsworthy enough to pull a few quotes from Brett’s talk if you were too lazy to read the original transcripts.
A response from Tinker on the evolution of his work in Part 3 of Brett’s interview:
I would say that through the years the process for me, it’s not that I changed the approach but I just got a lot quicker at it. I pretty much design shoes now in an hour.
I think I have somehow internalized the process enough and have enough experiences that when someone asks me to do a project or I am thinking of doing a project, I might sit around for a few days and ponder it but when I sit down and get ready to go I usually have a pretty well thought out design in about an hour. I am doing it all on an iPad now so I can color it and even render it pretty quickly and actually shoot it to somebody.
It’s a pretty cool reveal about the sneaker industry’s most revered designer, with a contemporary technology assist by Apple’s digital iPad tablet helping bring new sport shoes to the world which was formerly all crafted by pencils and Prismacolors on physical paper.
A final pull from Tinker Hatfield, Nike’s Vice President of Design and Special Projects, on work:
…I don’t think I have ever changed my general philosophy but the evolution is that I got so much quicker. I can just spit out stuff right and left. It still takes time to refine the design and/or go through the sampling process, as you know full well, that you have to wait for things, but just getting the drawing out has become a real quick process for me.