Inspired by articles that say everyone is a Designer
In the past months, I've read several nice articles where authors share their thoughts and have great arguments on why everyone is a Designer. Here is the article by Daniel Burka that actually inspired me to write the current article.
My article will take a bit of different angle. It tells why I’m not a Great Designer and what a Great Designer is for me. I hope it will inspire more people to strive towards the goal of becoming better Designers.
Why am I not a Great Designer?
Most of us are not Great Designers, especially me. Maybe there are some Great Designers out there. I can only speak for myself and why I’m not one of them.
I remember my first day at design school. I was thinking “When I graduate, I will be a Designer”. The thing I couldn’t see at the time was that I already was one. The moment I consciously chose to take on this new journey, I became a Designer.
I was already designing the stuff around me and my designs were designing me back.
But, becoming a Great Designer is a different story. It is almost an endless road. It is crazy exciting!
I already have several good years of work experience + all the extra hours polishing my knowledge and skills. Yet, to me it feels like I am taking my first steps.
The more I learn, the more opportunities to learn new stuff are revealed. It makes me realize how much is needed to be a Great Designer. It makes me see how far I am from that goal of mine.
The Great Designer
A Great Designer has mastery over the design process from ideation to supporting and improving the released product. A Great Designer has mastery over the creative tools needed to visualize and prototype the ideas.
He is a friend to the people using the product and a challenging rival to his teammates. Clearly communicating and being able to really connect with the world around is second nature of the Great Designer.
A Great Designer should have the essence of design embedded in his DNA. Design is more than a job, it is a way of interacting with the world and changing it. A way of living.
There are several points outlined below that in my opinion represent the design essence I am speaking of.
Note: Would love to hear your opinion about them if you think something can be added or should be removed.
Design is a journey
Design is a never ending journey. It is a river that tries to find its way to the sea of happiness by providing life to the environment around it.
Design is a way of progressing forward, creating new things by remixing the world. Design is evolution.
Great Designers move forward, constantly adapting their creations and making them better with each iteration. They know that the design is never done and it is about the journey making the best out of the available situation.
Design is selflessness
Design is about creating things for others. It is about making a positive difference in people’s lives. To do that, Great Designers are full with empathy and understand these people to their core. Great Designers design for others, not for themselves.
Design is telling a story
A story where the user is the protagonist that needs to achieve a goal by overcoming a challenge. Great Designers are there to help the user in his journey.
Coming up with ideas is easy, polishing these ideas into a good story is hard. Same principle is valid for design. Great designers take the idea and start working and polishing it until it starts to shine.
Design is about converting complicated information into enjoyable story for the users. Great Designers visualize complex data into easily digestible visuals for the viewer.
Design is a remix
Design is a cycle of remixing existing design. Great Designers remix continuously.
Great Designers take in the world around. They absorb all that beauty and diversity and start remixing it. From that remixing a new creation is born and released in the world, where it can be absorbed and used in further remixing.
Design is awareness
Design is about having awareness of all touch-points and subjects involved in solving a problem. Great Designers are simultaneously seeing the tree and the forest.
Great Designers are always aware that everything is connected and every action they take ripples across the design system.
Design is harmony
Design is a way of creating a harmony. Great Designers are creating balanced solution. They can balance the needs of all stakeholders and make the tough decisions of what to take out and what to leave in the solution.
Great Designers walk on the narrow rope between the business and the users needs and still solve the problem.
Design is beauty
Design is aesthetically charming complexity. Great Designers are masters of simplifying the complexity and turning it into a beauty.
Once their creation is out, people can’t see all the complexity and polishing done. The only thing visible is the final beautiful and usable result.
Other times, Great Designers are creating things that are aesthetically invisible! Things that change the life of millions without them even realizing that.
Design is happiness
Design brings happiness to the creator and to the user. That is the ultimate reward for the Great Designers. They are happy to create things that make people experience joy.
Yet, satisfying everyone and making them experience joy is close to impossible. Great Designers know that so they continue on their design journey.
In the end, I am not a Great Designer. Becoming a Great Designer is a journey. Pretty damn long one, where the company of other Designers and Creators is needed.
We need to keep pushing forward together. Creating and remixing until we find a solution that brings happiness. From there it’s just more pushing and polishing until one day maybe we can become Great Designers.
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