(by Charissa Durst, originally posted November 8, 2011)
Where did the name “Hardlines” originate?
Back in the 1980s, after Don Durst and I had successfully completed several projects together at the University of Maryland, we started to joke about starting a firm. Don suggested something using our last names, like “Durst and Wang,” which prompted me to note that if his name was first, we should call the company “Durst Wang Inc.,” and use DWI as our acronym, complete with a fuzzy drunken-looking logo. And that pretty much ended the idea of using our names for the company. Years later, one of our employees asked me why we never used a reconfiguration of our names. I thought about it again briefly and realized that with a slip of the tongue, we could all too easily become erroneously known as the “Dang Wurst Company” in town. Again, another good reason not to use our names!
Seriously, the real reason we didn’t name the company after ourselves is because we thought employees would just feel better working for an entity instead of for two specific people. The name of “Hardlines” came about in 1988. Don and I had both spent summers working for the National Park Service preparing HABS/HAER drawings for deposit in the Library of Congress. The final drawings were produced using a “hardline” as opposed to freehand technique, and credit was given to the “delineator.” So, we named our newly formed partnership “Hardlines: Design & Delineation” and abbreviated it as HDLS.
In 2000, the partnership became a corporation, which required the official name to include the word “company” or “inc.” The staff at the time decided that the company name should be shortened, and after a vote, Hardlines Design Company (HDC) was declared the winner.
Another name changed occurred in 2005, but this time the name was mine: Wang became Durst when Don and I got married that year, after 20 years of being together and (most important) a year or so after HDC bought out Don’s share of the business–we both knew that 24/7 hours of togetherness would have tested even the most devoted relationship. And so our partnership continued, just on a different track, and some might be tempted to add, for better or wurst!