What Makes You a Designer?

How do you define Designer?

The definition in dictionary is a pretty generic definition and fails to recognize allied design professionals.

I started thinking that creativity has more to do with how a person thinks, views, and processes information rather than their ability to draw or paint well. As a result, you don’t have to be a genius level intellect to demonstrate creativity. Sometimes it’s about being clever and noticing what’s around you and realizing that you can do something with what you see.

“You don’t just design buildings, you design details, you design execution … you design the entire process”.

There are many things an architect do during a typical day, designing “stuff” is just one very small portion – but we still consider ourselves a designer more so than a project architect. To be considered a designer just means you need to think about the design of everything – and I mean everything. Not everything an architect does is BIG picture design – compared with the overall time spent, very little of it is – but we consider the creation and coordination of the details of every project integral to the process that yields a successful design. 

What skills do you want to be a designer?

There are many skills a designer must demonstrate, but in my opinion, here are the 7 most important:

  1. Observation If you consider yourself a designer, you make it a point to notice your surroundings. As a characteristic, designers are curious and they take notice and make notes of things others overlook.
  2. Communicators Designers need to be able to articulate their ideas in a way that builds consensus and fosters an atmosphere of confidence.
  3. Integration And by this I mean they are able to take their ideas and put them into play.
  4. Evaluate Designers need to be able to look at their own work critically and keep the good bits and get rid of the parts that don’t work.
  5. Inventive Designers need to keep learning new stuff by exploring new tools coming in architecture world and hence new design perspective must invent every time we work on new project which will avoid you from repeating the same design every time.
  6. Context Designers are great at understanding context, and context is what enables us to make sense of things and put some sense of order to the task at hand. Context is the bit that allows us to decide if something is relevant … and determining if something is relevant is crucial when designing because if you design a solution to a problem that isn’t relevant in a given context it’s worthless.
  7. Forge Their Own Path Rather than forming a belief of what a solution can or can’t be, designers tend to look at the process and ask themselves “What if?” and “Why not?” Designers often see rules as guidelines and will work along the edges and as a result generally feel unbound by rules that others follow.

There are many paths one can take that can lead you to be considered a “designer” and I certainly haven’t taken or explored a fraction of them all. If your aspirations include being called a designer, you can look at those 7 traits and I bet you know which areas you need to work on.

“If you don’t see yourself as a designer when you’re doing the designing – you’re not in the right job.”

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