Throughout this process of my growth as a designer over the past few months I have learnt to see myself through a different light. I am able to look back and reflect further on where I want to go as a designer. If I were to plot my highs and lows of the past 11 weeks of developing as a designer, it would look like the following.
During a studio session with one of my design colleagues we reflected with each other on our growth as designers. We repeated those questions I first asked myself in my first blog post. What is design? What is a designer?
I found that my definition of design had changed. For me at the beginning, I had only thought of design in a visual sense, in layouts of magazines and posters. But now it is broader.
“Everything is Design. Everything!”
– Paul Rand
(2016, under “Paul Rand > Quotes > Quotable Quotes” ).
Yes. I can see design in every thing; I can understand that everything needs to be processed first, in order to be created.
Thus design is just that; A process.
It is a process of creative creation. However, simply because everything already has a designed process to come about, it doesn’t mean that design as a profession is obsolete. Design in the professional sense further requires a more in-depth and conscious knowledge of the decisions being made throughout the design process (Ilstedt Hjelm 2005).
A point my colleague made is true, the process requires so much more than just coming up with an idea. The process of ideation was much more in-depth and practical than I had realized at first. Not only was it possible to mind map out ideas, but also there is a plethora of ways to ideate. For example, heuristic ideation technique (HIT) matrices where you compare two unrelated topics (e.g. design issues and design products) to develop crazy new ideas (BMGI n.d.).
You may remember this technique from my fifth blog. Depending on how your brain is wired you can find a technique as a designer to spark ideas.
Returning to my initial idea of design as mainly a visual outcome. I must mention that of course, I had already subconsciously known that design wasn’t just creating pretty posters. But I wasn’t consciously aware of interactive design.; or the fact that I could foster a relationship between people and what I created (2015, under “Complete Beginner’s Guide to Interaction Design”). These few months I realized and appreciated more the perspective of creating an experience and not an object. If I want to be an effective designer that can continue to grow, I need to find the purpose of my designs. This is integral, as it is easy to get lost in aimless ideas.
Also, I realized I was already naturally one step closer to being a designer from the beginning. To become a designer observation is key. We saw this in my Thoughtlessly Thoughtful blog post. To first create something that is needed you need to observe what is missing. I already observe people around me and weird or normal things that I pass by; it’s a pastime of mine.
This gave me a sense of hope that I am on the path that I want to walk on. Even though I feel I am not even close to being a fully fledged designer, I am growing into one. What sort of designer, I am not sure just yet; but I now know that I don’t have to only focus on graphic design or interactive design. I can design anything I have an idea for. I can go in any direction I feel is the most appropriate at the time for my vision. As long as I have a clear idea on what I am trying to achieve as a designer. Philippe Starck’s Ted talk: Design and Destiny (2007) made me further reflect on this:
What I grasped in his talk was that designers must continue evolving and musn’t get caught up in what has previously been considered design. Humans are mutations that have evolved from a single cell, and in the same way so must design evolve. Turn the page and don’t aim to fit into a pre-existing category, aim to evolve and always create something new.
To mirror my first blog, if I as a designer were something tangible, such as a tattoo, I would be a stencil tattoo of a rose. Though it is at first visually simple and seemingly common, it has the potential to be so much more.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”
– Juliet Capulet
(2016, under “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose – Shakespeare Quotes”)
In that vein of thought, there exist many more designers in this world, who could create something as brilliant as I would. However, it is up to me to find out what sort of designer I am, and what differentiates me from them.
Ultimately, from the conversation with my colleague, I found that my definition of design is now broader but as a designer I have refined my idea of how to go about it.
I am not boxing myself in, but I am more focused.