What exactly is design?
A calculated, thoroughly thought-out solution to a set of problems. It can be a process to making a decision. It can be the creation of an object. It can be a graphic solution, a way to display and distill information. Or a graphic solution that’s sole purpose is capturing attention. A design can be a purely visual end product as long as it solves a specific set of problems. Sometimes I think design can be a hard thing for non-designers to comprehend. EVERYTHING in the world has been designed. I did not say that everything has been WELL designed, only that every object was made with intention within a set of parameters. Non-designers may not realize what it takes to get from idea to production.
Does the best design come from inspired individuals or through team effort?
There is a place where ideas go to die. It’s called a committee. Very often, committees fail to make good design decisions because individuals are unable to seperate their want to contribute from the need to do what’s best. The most productive committees aren’t thinking of themselves, but of the greater good. When thinking in this manner, ideas thrive. How to do this? Committee members should leave their egos at the door and truly open their minds. We’re but one human race and actually have the power within us—collectively—to solve all problems. We just let our egos and closed minds get in the way. We are a race of people who isn’t concerned with the greater good, but with number one. We’re each so concerned with our own selves that it can keep us from being truly great.
In my line of work, the best ideas stem from two people tossing ideas back and forth. One person is able to expound upon another person’s idea and think about it in new ways that, very often, the first person hadn’t thought of. And through this process, an end product is much stronger and better because two brains contributed to the solution. Each person has a set of life experiences that shape and mold our brains. Put two people together who have different life experiences—and open minds—and your end product is going to be dynamic and fantastic.
How much do you care about design?
Very much. It’s ingrained into my very being. I think about design improvements all the time. I describe myself as seeing the world through my design lenses. Like rose colored glasses, the way I view objects and systems is different from the next person. Even though I’ve lived in my house for over five years, and used my bathroom in the same way for all this time. I have recently come to a design solution that will allow me to use the space better, which will help me get ready safer and faster in the morning. This should help me to be a better person in the morning, which will in turn, improve the lives of those around me. (You might ask how I can make my bathroom safer. I have a pedestal sink. My flat iron balances on the sink and is heating up as I brush my teeth. It could fall into the sink and electrocute me! This solution is necessary. And why not get a new bathroom mirror while I’m at it!)
Design is bigger than the types of design: product, graphic, web, experience, interior, etc. Design is life. We each are designers whether we know it or not. Every single human being makes design decisions to make their or others lives better. We design our homes for comfort and entertainment. We purchase specific products—tools—which make our lives easier. Not only is the person who designed the product a designer, but the person who uses the product is also a designer, making calculated decisions about how to use the tools we have available to us. The visuals on the labels of the products we buy are a definition of our tastes. The graphics we see around us define us as a culture.
Design is important. Design is culture. Design is life.
If your career or trade is design, your work is never done. There’s always a better way. A whole society of people depend on you to make the right decisions.