If you are a designer or a student designer.
What does your friend, and family think about your activity?
What are the questions people ask about your job?
You realize the same questions come up.
There are plenty of clichés about you as a designer.
I dig today for you the 7 clichés I hear the most from (non-designer) people I met.
If you aspire to become a Designer,
I hope today’s article will give you an eye-opening insider view. : )
*Do you know any cliché you wanna share?
Tell me yours in the comments below the article!
Cliché 1: “Designers are Superstars!”
The media loves to highlight famous designers such as Philippe Starck, Zaha Hadid, Jony Ive… and many other famous designers from the fashion industry.
It makes us feel that the design industry is an elitist world.
That there are only a few elected designers in the world.
But, if we think twice. It is impossible.
Designers are behind everything that surrounds you.
Behind every single television, glass, ballpoint pen, shoe, table, cupboard, microwave, toilet, computer, spoon… and other million products, there is somehow to create them.
Someone to make a first sketch or a doodle of the product design.
You realize there are thousands and thousands of designers creating anonymously on each continent of the world.
Example of Decathlon
Look at for example: Decathlon (one of my favorite company I admire)
They created their R&D department to multiply the innovations and they now collect the design awards!
Every time I visit their shop,
I feel I am visiting a science expo. It is full of discoveries!
I believe there are hundreds of ideas popping
in the designer’s head every day in the Decathlon design center.
They created new brands by category of sports:
Quechua, Artengo (Racket sports), B’Twin (Cycling), Domyos (Fitness, Yoga, Gym, Dance), Kalenji (Running), Tribord (Watersports)… and compete creatively with other major sports brands.
But who knows the designers’ identity?
If you don’t work in the industry there is a high chance you have no clue about it.
Humble and anonymous
Actually, in a cohesive design team, ultimately it doesn’t matter who the idea comes from.
The innovation and the product come first.
Designers are no superstars.
They are humble creatives whose mission is to make our world better every day.
Cliché 2: “Design is contemporary and modern.”
I was born in the 80’s. I remember during my first year of design school, our teacher showed us a picture of the Pantone chair.
She asked us to guess when it was created.
We mostly thought it was very new. Max 10 years old.
It was created before we were born.
It was in the 60’s!
Pantone chair created in the 60’s
We can go back to the Middle age,
or even the creation of an arrowhead with a silex at the prehistoric age.
Cliché 3: “Design is making things beautiful!”
Have you ever heard this: “Wow this is sooo Design!!”
It often relates to something beautiful, modern or minimalist.
Design is NOT ONLY about the aesthetic.
It is mainly about creating functional products.
A product that people love gathers Practical + Emotional.
Cliché 4: “Design stuff is damn expensive!”
Design sounds: expensive furniture, architecture, modern villa…
that you can see on Instagram.
Ok. But in parallel, we shouldn’t forget about the Democratic design.
Example of IKEA
The company we could have in mind today is IKEA.
IKEA proves we can be innovative and propose beautiful products to the masses at an affordable price.
IKEA designs are so successful that,
every time you go to some of your friend’s house, there is always at least 1 item
from IKEA: maybe a shelve, a spoon, a chair… haha
So no, Design is not only about expensive price.
A design goal can be affordable for all.
Cliché 5: “Designers are artists!”
When I tell people I am a designer, they respond:
“Oh, you are an artist!”
“Can you draw my portrait portrait?” -.-
I don’t consider myself as an artist even though
I admire their work and am constantly inspired by them.
Artist vs Designer
First of all, the artist tends to create with an art craft perspective.
Designers will use innovative technologies
to create with industrial limitation
(Costing, manufacturing, shipping, speed of delivery, pricing, technology…)
Second, the artist tends to create with a personal approach.
A willingness to express a personal message.
While the designer will create a product
from other people’s perspective. He put himself in the shoes of the user
to understand their needs, and problems and create a product solution for them.
Cliché 6: “Designers live in a bubble like a mad inventor”
We imagine a designer working alone in his design studio like a “crazy inventor”.
However, most work in a team and/or join an organization.
A designer can need a great team full of various talents from the engineer’s team, the marketing team, the quality control department team… to ensure that the product he’s creating will be delivered to the customers on time, with the best quality possible.
To do so, he needs to build a strong relationship with other departments.
Many introverted people choose to be designers
thinking they can “hide” behind a piece of paper and a computer all day.
This is true in some companies.
But in my opinion,
things get a lot more exciting if you want to raise your chance
to see your product to be created how you imagine.
From the day you draw it till the product arrives in the shelve.
There might be plenty of modifications you may not desire.
You have to fight for for your product.
You might have to defend your ideas within several departments.
Some departments will tell you that your request is impossible (It is too expensive, nobody will want it, it won’t work…).
If such a thing happened.
Collaborate with them and see how you guys can unlock the situation together.
Like How Michael DiTullo says:
“The most difficult part in design, is not to have an idea. It is to protect it.”
* Click here for the full Michael DiTullo designer’s Coffee Chat interview
Cliché 7: “Designers are born designers.”
If by today you can’t draw. You think you have no imagination.
But you love thinking how to make things better and all day long asking yourself:
What if… it was different… it would be better…
You are on the right track. 🙂
Remember that you can learn how to draw.
You can learn how to develop your design thinking.
It is not something that only some genius creatives have.
Sketching and Creativity are skills you can develop if you are willing to learn.
See you on the next TIP-A-DAY !