The roles of a designer are changing as companies are recognizing the value that designers bring to a business, impacting the perceived value of a company as well as directly affecting their bottom line. As creatives we are taking more of a strategic role in businesses as well as becoming leaders in design thinking, a process of creating new and innovative ideas and solving problems.
Developed by IDEO founder David Kelley, design thinking is defined as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
Who is a designer?
“First and foremost, designers are keen observers and lovers of beautiful and useful objects, messages, and experiences. They pay attention as they move through their day, possessing a hyper awareness of the visual and textual world around them. They make connections and ask questions about how those objects and messages work, what they are, what things look like, and what they mean.” — AIGA
Designers have a desire to make and customize things they haven’t seen before, and then share them. Observations lead to wondering what something that doesn’t exist yet would look like, and oftentimes the only way to know what it would be like is to make it. This curiosity is at the core of the designer, and doesn’t always make sense to everyone else. Designers are also obsessed with clear communication. They obsess over misunderstandings, mistranslations, misappropriations, and missed connections, looking for possible solutions, especially when language doesn’t feel sufficient. — AIGA
Coupled with this is usually a restless desire for order. Designers have a need for completing things, revealing relationships, and simplifying complicated things.
Finally, design requires both introversion and extroversion. A good designer is able to really get close to a problem or project and can work long hours alone towards a solution. At the same time, a designer is an expert in reading people and navigating the needs and desires of a client to eventually shape the experience of the end user. This requires a sense of observation that is not limited to the world of objects and messages, but extends to the relationships humans have with those objects and with each other.