I am a designer. I study design. I have learned about grids, layout and structure. I have obsessed over typography. I have been unable to disregard an ineffective use of the negative. I have wrestled with the complexities of human psychology and sown the subtle seeds of suggestion. I have considered the components, compositions and concepts required to effectively communicate a subconscious message. I twist light into colors and bend space into lines and shapes that will evoke any emotion or persuade even the most obstinate viewer. For these reasons, I would like to talk about food.
Really? What does food have to do with design? What does any of this have to do with Asynchrony? Allow me to explain, inquisitive reader. We all have experienced food in its various forms, served from the greasiest spoons to the shiniest of silver platters. When prepared correctly, food is the perfect coalescence of art and science. Every day and night, chefs in dining establishments around the world create one of the most intimate of user experiences by cooking our food. In many cases, this job of creation is done in a time-critical, high-pressure environment that can be very unforgiving of mistakes.
For those unfamiliar with a proper kitchen hierarchy, I will provide a quick breakdown. If you have eaten in a restaurant before, you are probably familiar with the servers. The server greets you, provides you with a menu and takes your order including any special instructions. Upon receiving the order in the kitchen, the head chef (or the second in command sous-chef) calls out each item to the waiting team of line cooks and oversees the entire operation. The line cooks are positioned at various stations around the kitchen ranging from appetizers and garnish, to meats and fish. Each line cook is responsible for efficiently producing the necessary components from their station and delivering them in sync to the expediter. The expediter inspects each dish for quality and puts on any finishing touches that are necessary before signaling the server that the finished order is ready for the table.
Communication is crucial to the successful function of a kitchen brigade. I get very worried if I’m eating dinner in a restaurant with a silent kitchen. Every cook on the line plays an integral role in the coordination and production of a diner’s meal. It should go without saying, however, that the best team will produce poor quality results without good recipes and fresh ingredients. Garbage in, garbage out.
I often think of Asynchrony as the kitchen in a fine-dining restaurant (with an excellent à la carte snack selection). We have servers that meet with our customers and find out what they want. We have head chefs, and sous-chefs that manage the process of distributing the work and overseeing the operation. We have a vast array of line cooks, both in design and development, with innumerable signature dishes and specialties in between. We have all played the role of the expediter through peer reviews or quality assurance, and collectively we have been rewarded with the contagious excitement of satisfied customers.
Nonetheless, successful restaurateurs will agree that constant vigilance is required to ensure that the highest standards are consistently set and achieved. Shortcuts can be tempting, but they can also be a slippery slope that leads to substandard fast food results; nobody wants that.
What kind of restaurant is Asynchrony to you? What is your role in the Asynchrony restaurant? Are you satisfied with the food you send out, regardless of your station? Would you eat it yourself? Serve it at your wedding? Feed it to your kids?
That’s food for thought.