Design is Everything and Everything is Design

June 12, 2017
4 min read

The world of technology fled across the Desert, and the Designer followed.

This post is about everything and nothing specific, it is about emotions and philosophy. It’s about ideas and disasters. It’s about clients and your work. It’s about the good and the bad, it's about life... it’s about Design.

John Maeda said: There are three kinds of design at play. There’s classical design (Design), there is design thinking (Business) and there is computational design (Technology). 

Mr. Maeda concluded that the design has always been about selling things.

So, how do you sell things through design? How do you sell design? How do you make the client happy? How do you reach that high level of user satisfaction? How do you approach the problem objectively?

Today, everything is going around focus groups and research. Thinking out of the box already filled with rules and ideas has proven to be quite difficult. Trying to break through the stone walls of that very same box while still being creative will be a demanding task of epic proportions, drilling your nerves, mind, and body on the level of Tantalus' eternal suffering.

Tantalus's punishment was to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches. Whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches raised his intended meal from his grasp. Whenever he bent down to get a drink, the water receded before he could get any.

Before you start rolling your eyes please note; The over-dramatization of the design process is on purpose. The purpose is to paint a picture of designers inner struggle and the importance of nourishment. You might not know but a designer is always working and because of that he tends to overload quickly. Trying to be creative and grasp an idea is not easy. Trying to shut down your brain while you do creative work is not easy.

You're doing your usual running routine because you want to stay in shape but your mind is filled with interfaces, interaction patterns, fonts, and colors. You go out buying groceries but end up spending hours going through the labyrinth of products inside a huge shopping mall without noticing because you are in a world of design thinking. You're taking a shower back home and use all warm water because your mind went into a hyperloop of shapes and colors. It will require a couple of hours to create everything using Photoshop or Sketch (at least a very good starting point) but they don't know you spent days obsessing over it. You think and think about the problem and the possible solution, but you forget to nourish it. Nourishment is important.

Take your time, let it cook inside your mind. A design is never done and should not be rushed. Another day and a little bit of rest will give you a whole new approach to the problem in front of yourself.

Taking a risk in a sea of patterns and similar ideas while trying to explain that design is everything will feel like temptation without satisfaction. 

The problem with focus groups is that specific groups of people react differently to specific patterns, colors, and shapes. Blue is likable while red is good or bad for some and green gives energy and harmony for others. Some groups like a specific neutral font and rounded shapes, other groups like serious tones and sharp edges. There are those who do not possess any taste or education in understanding design while some are impossible to please. It's a thorny path but as a designer, you enjoy it because you love what you do.

At the end of the day, a designer's solution is his individualistic approach. A designer is working on a problem through his own eyes and uses the knowledge he possesses based on the idea and information shared with him to solve and to create. You and your team go through a process, and an adventure but in the end, when you present the idea to the user you never know what will happen. There is no clear path to success.

Don't always rely on data. Take risks. Nourish yourself and your team. Argue because it is helpful even if it becomes painful and drains you. Be honest and direct even if the client pushes back, you are hired for a reason. Don't be afraid to fail, it will help you grow. Work hard and be humble and most importantly rest your mind.


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