Adjustable Wrench

Speaking of design—distilling ideas and understanding meaning, creating something simple that’s reflective of the concept—the logo I chose for Hack/Make is an adjustable wrench (scroll all the way down, if you’ve never seen it). One of these was always in my Dad’s toolbox. It’s main purpose was to turn the heads of nuts and bolts of different sizes. With a quick turn of the dial that same wrench could fit all kinds of different bolts, something that a standard box wrench couldn’t do. I always ended up using that adjustable wrench for other things too. Sometimes I’d need to lightly tap the end of a nail, nudge a piece into position, or get some extra leverage to pry something; this tool handled the challenge.

That meant a lot to me and was something I wanted to convey through what I write here. The adjustable wrench was designed for a purpose and part of its design was to be flexible but within a certain set of constraints. Though an adjustable wrench could get by temporarily as a hammer, it wouldn’t never be a screwdriver. It was flexible but there was a limit in how adjustable it was. You couldn’t use the same adjustable wrench to turn a plastic bolt on your son’s toy tool bench as you’d need to tighten down the hubs on a tractor. The tool was designed to be able to make something and at the same time had some qualities that you could take advantage of when you needed a quick hack.

Men often have a certain respect for tools. They take care of their tools so their tools will take care of them. But at the same time, you don’t just leave your tools in your big red tool chest just so they don’t get scratched up. That would be robbing them of what they were made for. You use a tool because that’s what they’re for. You take care of them but don’t worry if they get scratched while turning a bolt.

Those are values that are important to me and I want to distill into what I publish. To be flexible and adaptable but within limitations and constraints. To design with purpose but have the ability to stretch beyond that intention. To be an instrument that creates and inspires others to create.