As I'm about to hit my two-year mark from graduating college, I felt that it was good for me to look back and write about what being a designer means to me.* As a designer, I've had the opportunity to change roles from an Art Director to a Multidisciplinary Designer that focuses on research.
What does design mean to you?
Design is the art of solving problems. Designing an experience, app, or product is an continuous cycle of validating needs, researching, ideating, and developing ideas or experiences that meet user's needs. Design focuses on understanding and empathizing with your user. You need to design with and for your user.
As design and technology continue to advance, I'm always excited for how design and design thinking process continue to be embedded into new areas.
What's the difference between a good and great designer?
I believe there are 5 main ideas that make a great designer:
- A great designer knows that they are not the user
- This one is totatlly obvious, but still needs to be stated. Users will make or break what you create, if you don't create it for them. Designing for you will not help or solve any issues for other people.
- A great designer focuses on solving a problem for the user
- As I said above, focus on solving the needs of your user. As well, when researching it is important to search for the missing gaps that users may or may not realize they need help with.
- A great designer constantly searches for inspiration
- Inspiration does not just come from an inspiration website. I find that traveling is my way to find inspiration and a new perspective on how design lives and effects the lives of others.
- A great designer articulates the 'what' and 'why' for their design choices
- Designers should understand that there needs to be a reason for everything created. All these reasons needs to solve a problem for the user you are designing for.
- A great designer collaborates
- Depending on your role, you will always have to work with someone else. Of course, this can be challenging but the key is the be a team player.
What's the most interesting project you've worked on?
I've had great opportunities throughout my design career, but my favorite project I've worked on with my Epipen project. The project was interesting because I was personally affected by it (though, I wasn't designing for myself) when having an allergic reaction. 60% of the time I dealt with the reaction I was alone with no one around or I did not have my medicine. I knew I wasn't alone in trying to seek help when having an allergic reaction. I love this project because it shows that design is more than making something look pretty. It's about understand new aspects of the world or people and incorporating it into a useable experience.
*WARNING: This is my personal opinion that is based on personal experiences