There are many, many designers. But we have good, bad and even ugly designs. Why is that?
There must be many reasons for this and we can find the reasons from education, industry, culture, client-designer relationships,. and roles of designers and others. But most importantly, it comes from the fact that not all ‘designers’ are designers. So the question what makes ‘designers’ designers comes in.
I am not a pianist and I have never practiced to become one. Imagine one day I wanted to play some songs on piano. Then I would take some piano classes and learn basic keyboard skills and practice few songs that I always wanted to play. I may become good at playing those songs and even become able to play them in front of few of my friends. Have I become a pianist? I think not. If I practice more to become more confident and play in front of audiences, am I a pianist then? May be not yet. When I become very good at piano mechanically, I may become a good piano player. But may not be a pianist, yet. So the question is, what makes a pianist and a piano player?
Let’s take another example. I am not a medical doctor and never trained to be one. But I know somethings that can fix some troubles. If I want to learn more, I can gain more knowledge and can become better. I may be able to help my friends and they may trust me as someone-who-can-do-some-medical-treatment. But it will make me neither a medical doctor nor a nurse.
Similar question can be applied to designers. When someone have design skills, capable to use design tools, and do ‘design thinking’, is this person a designer? Or just a ‘design doer’ or ‘design thinker’? In design education, most of the curriculum goes into teaching of skills and delivering knowledge to make design does and design thinkers. Those who don’t have good skills can do design these days with aid from computer technology. But I think not all of them turn into designers. If most do become designers, there should be much better designs everywhere and we must have been living in must better world.
We need designers. We need good ones, really good ones. Let’s talk about what makes good designers not merely someone-who-can-do-design.