#36: How do you cultivate taste?

  
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Hello! I'm Nate Kadlac, designer of Plan Your Next, a newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.

Every Sunday, I aim to make this newsletter as timeless as the Rolex of watches. If you’re new here; join us.


What’s new this week?

✍️ A couple of weeks ago I wrote about inside-out design. I just published an expanded article on my site, Unlocking Your Creative Taste From the Inside Out.

👨‍🎨 I posted two new branding projects to my portfolio which I’m proud of. While I am focusing on the concept of, “Build once, sell twice,” I plan to continue publishing my past work when I get around to building case studies for them.

🖍 While it’s not mine, this piece by Nick deWilde on Integrating Publishing with your Profession hit home for me, and I think it applies to my thinking here at Plan Your Next. Worth highlighting, and subscribing to.


Good morning from Los Angeles!

“What I really get from this wine is sheep’s butt. A really stinky, fertilized sheep butt.”

Long ago, I was watching Late Night with Conan O’Brien. One of his guests on this episode was a loud-mouthed New Yorker who’s family immigrated from the Soviet Union.

Gary Vaynerchuck had grown his family’s business into the largest online retailer of wine, from $3 million a year to $60 million by 2003.

Here he was, talking about which wines would pair best with frozen dinners, or with snacks during a Jet’s football game.

Gary flipped the wine world from sirloin steaks to mac and cheese.

During this segment, he talked about our imbecilic palettes. To paraphrase, Gary said that many people lack the vocabulary to talk about wine because we haven’t explored enough. You can’t say that a wine tastes like dirt if you haven’t shoved a mouthful of sand into your mouth. These experiences give us new connections to shape our taste.

In last week’s letter, I talked about how exploration is the root of creativity. And if exploration is the root of creativity, having a sense of curiosity about why we’re drawn to certain objects allows us to ask better questions of ourselves.

First, make a list of the things that inspire you. It could be music, art, or a fountain pen you use daily. Who created that, and why? Why do you love it? Start to think about how it makes you feel to have a better understanding of its impact on your life, which will ultimately give you a deeper appreciation for the things around you.

Soon, you can start to take themes from this and apply them to other areas of your life.

For example, maybe you need to choose a typeface for your personal site. Instead of choosing a random font from a long list, you might prefer to find a type designer from your country or state because you take pride in where you’re from.

Or if you’re looking to buy a new reading chair, instead of going to the largest .com to buy it based solely on reviews, you might instead think about your favorite book and choose a style that emits itself from the fumes of the story itself.

But, maybe we all need to go sniff the fertilized butt of a sheep.

👅 Cultivate your taste

Visa recently tweeted this out, which I think hits home for me. Cultivating taste is about knowing what motivates you. Dig into that and ask questions. How is the way you feel connected to why the designer created that object in the first place?

🧐 Get curious about your next purchase

An oldy, but a goodie. Gary Hustwit’s feature-length documentary, Objectified, focuses on the design of objects and our relationships with them.

“You’ll never look at your next toothbrush (or your next any product) in quite the same way after watching this astute, elegant inquiry into the purpose and process of industrial design.” – Entertainment Weekly

🛠 Build your next idea without code

Building out a product idea can take a ton of time and money. No Code MVP is a course focused on validating ideas first before getting too invested.

This weekend I had a chat with the founder, Bram Kanstein, and I was impressed with his framework for validating ideas.

Right now he’s offering his course for $99 through Monday (down from $249). If you have ever wanted to test an idea without having to code, you can check it out here. (Not an affiliate link)

🧠 Learn your next skill

One of the most popular courses online—enrolled by over 2.6 million students—is Learning How to Learn. If you have wanted to master a new skill, this course teaches you the mental tools to learn and soak up information used by experts in art, math, science, and more.

It’s free to take and is taught by Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski.

👋 See you next Sunday

Are there certain topics you would like me to cover? Hit reply and expect a response!

As always, my calendar is always open to chat about your crazy ideas.

Have a great week!