FEATURE : Food For Thought

I’ve known for some time that Dave Dryden, Director of Creative Services at Clemson University, is an amazing designer. I did not realize until we became Facebook friends that he is also an amazing cook. Dave often posts gorgeous photos and descriptions of his tantalizing kitchen creations, including such treats as mint, parsley, and chive soufflé; sun-dried tomato and red pepper fettuccine with homemade ciabatta; and sweet potato soup with brussels sprouts, red pepper, onion, and carrot. Are you hungry yet?

We decided to give Dave a call to learn more about his creativity at the office and in the kitchen. We were not surprised when Dave explained that there are many parallels between the two. “In both places you have problems to solve,” he explains. “For example, you look in the fridge and see that you only have three things in there to cook. What can you make out of them?” Other problems that are shared include working with deadlines, the demands of pleasing large or small groups of people, and the constraints of budget. The successful designer approaches these problems as eagerly as the successful cook.

Above all, Dave loves making bread. “Bread baking is therapeutic to me. I enjoy the tactile, sensual qualities of kneading dough and the zen-like experience of watching the bread rise and come to life. There is something timeless and peaceful about it.” It only takes three basic ingredients—yeast, flour, and water—to make bread. Those simple ingredients are the starting point for endless variety. The same can be said for the creative process: start simply, know the fundamentals, then expand outward from there. Dave recalls the advice he gave to one of his students who was over-complicating a design. “I told her she had to keep reducing the design until she got to the basic elements. You have to taste each ingredient distinctly to get the overall design to work.” That’s great advice for the office and the kitchen. Thank you and bon appétit, Dave!

Contributed by Brenda and Domenica

Dave Dryden is the director of Clemson University’s Office of Creative Services, which is focused on branding, digital and interactive communication, advertising, print, and video. His 25-member staff works closely with a variety of clients across campus. Dave serves on the board of directors for the University and College Designers Association (UCDA) and was president of the organization in 1995 and again in 2011.