Like most designers, we first learned about Charles and Ray Eames in college. We instantly fell in love with their approach, process, and creative philosophies. During a recent trip to Los Angeles, we made the loveliest pilgrimage to visit the Eames House. Slipping the delicate booties over our shoes and crossing over the threshold immediately took our breath away. We were sharing the same air, we could feel their energy, and see their process first hand. To commemorate our inspiring visit, we’ve compiled a list of our TEN favorite Eames-isms below.

1. Essential Eames | Words & Pictures
For the first time, quotes are paired with context giving more background information behind some of their iconic phrases.
Ray Eames was the original analog mood board. Famous for collecting, acquiring, arranging and curating objects, textures, materials and colors that inspired her.
Charles and Ray were obsessive learners. They never stopped traveling, learning, connecting, and seeking. “Look at things as though for the first time.” We also love the term a drawing professor shared with us, “Fill your reservoir.”
To the product, the process, the materials, the craftsmanship, and the function. Production should never be at the sacrifice of the craft. “It would be a chair on which mass production would not have anything but a positive influence; it would have in its appearance the essence of the method that produced it. It would have an inherent rightness about it, and it would be produced by people working in a dignified way.” *This was a response from Charles in recognizing that design for mass production was a whole new animal.
Through their process, we’ve learned the important practice of rigorously testing and living with our own designs. Adjusting, modifying, shifting perspective, and often simplifying based on our own interactions (and using our friends at dinner parties as our testing ground). The Kazam! Machine.
We’re avid collectors of stacking sets, wooden blocks, snow globes and tin toys. We wholeheartedly agree that “Toys are really not as innocent at they look. Toys and games are the preludes to serious ideas.” A few favorites: Giant House of Cards (1953), Tops (1969) and Mr Rogers Shows How to Make Crayons (1981).
7. An Eames Primer
One of our prized possessions is a signed copy of this book, written by their grandson Eames Demetrios. This lovely book features an inside perspective, anecdotes and personal observations of the Eames Office.
Photograph, sketch, write, build. The details and images we each collect become our own ongoing reference catalogs.
We learned very early in our partnership that constraints must be part of our creative process. “The role of the designer is to recognize as many of the constraints as possible. And work within these constraints willingly and enthusiastically.” Once boundaries are set, we feel liberated to design freely within the given constraints.
“Take your pleasure seriously.” Until fairly recently, we’ve struggled with finding a life/work balance. Our creative, personal, and work lives are so incredibly intertwined. To Charles and Ray, their daily lives were their life long project. Instead, we now strive to balance time for daydreaming and time for production, time for calm and time for energy, time for fueling, and time for reflection. “Design is a full time job.”