Even the most experienced senior designers need a reminder of the limitless possibilities of design and the priorities of our profession every now and then. This post is meant to give all us designers a little boost.
We need to keep our priorities in order: Design is a service, to our clients and to the people those clients serve. Design for the love of design and the good of people and the planet, not for money. It is fine to get paid—and paid well—for your design work, but if that is the only reason you do it you are in the wrong field. Find joy in your designs, do what needs to be done, and the money you need will follow.
Picture: The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Quotation: Lyric from “Windpower”, on the 1982 album The Golden Age of Wireless, by Thomas Dolby.
Keep dreaming: Design to make the world better in any way you can imagine. Design is powerful. Design solves problems. There are no small projects. Every design can bring positive change to the world, even if it means making one dark corner of a shelf a little brighter and little more positive. Our job is to offer clients opportunities they have not yet seen.
For some designers this will mean getting involved with politics. Though it isn’t necessary for every designer to consider the political side of things, it is often the only way to get things done. So do not shy away from it, or think it is not your responsibility. "If you don't do politics, politics will do you."
Remember that the future will not design itself: We are responsible for how the future will look and feel. If we do not design it, it will be “designed” for us by politicians and businessmen according to their priorities an their needs. Us designers guide humanity into the future; all else, including politicians and businessmen, should follow.
Selfie with the “Fearless Girl”, near the “Bull of Wallstreet” in NYC.
Make your designs memorable: Design will not remember itself. So always ask, Is my design memorable? Is it iconic enough to become part of the tapestry, the fabric, of someone’s life?
How well do people remember a design? Above are 150 people's drawings of Starbuck's logo from memory. See drawings of 9 more famous logos here. The more simple, more essential, the logo, the better the memory.
ASK: Would someone want to take selfie with my design and post it on Social Media? (If not, start over, these are the times we are living in, and clients love the free publicity from selfie posts.)
And if you still have time here are a few other things I remind myself of often:
You do not need permission to:
Design experiences. There are five senses, design for all of them, and for interaction with people. People still feel lonely, if a design helps them connect with other people it will be loved.
And If you feel you do need permission to do any of these, then you are in the wrong company or school.
Biomimicry is a fascinating avenue of design that is rapidly growing, it focuses not he wisdom of Natures hudreds of millions of years of "design" trial and error.
Always look for new avenues of design inspiration:
Start with people. Design is for people, so ask people and LISTEN to their replies. They are not a target, and resent being a target. If you want people to love your design, then love the people you design for.
Biomimicry, a field that looks to the “wisdom” of evolution for design inspiration. Nature has found endless ingenious ways to attract and generate passion, what more could you want for a package or brand design?
Sometimes biomimicry and origami influence design together.
Don’t sit still:
"Stay a beginner." - Steve Jobs. Harder than it sounds, but if you keep moving it is easy, because there is so much going on, so much to learn.
All categories of design—graphic, brand, tech, interface, industrial, digital, architectural, political, systems, et al—are merging into a segments of a single field; if you focus too narrowly your skills will not be viable.
We have a responsibility to:
Design for universality; Universal Design seeks to include everybody—male, female, transgender, young, old, blind, def, mobility challenged—and it has been shown and such designs appeal to a wider spectrum of people.
Nelson Mandela did what they said was impossible. He helped bring down the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
Ok, so that's how I remind myself what's important. Now back to work!
TED Radio Hour: The Power Of Design