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what makes a good designer?

A few posts back I wrote about my definition of good design. It seems only fitting, then, to say something about my definition of a good designer.

In this case, I am defining design as human-centered creative problem solving, and the designer as the one finding and solving the problems. This is similar to an engineer, but the key is that design is human-centered and rooted in emotion.

To be a good designer, then, I believe that you must be either a good consumer or (and) an excellent observer. The most successful designs will cater seamlessly to their end user. The designer has to have a comprehensive understanding of that end user and be able to relate to him or her in some way in order to carry out the design process successfully.

I also think that really great designers don't spend 100% of their time in the studio or workshop sketching and modeling things. You have to get out into the world and experience things in order to find problems that need to be solved, see how consumers are reacting to products and experiences, and to give your brain some time for 'incubation'- passively thinking through the problem solving process.

Designers also must be effective communicators. Design is a social process that requires collaboration at some levels and benefits from collaboration at all levels. If you can draw really well, but are not interested in communicating with anyone, you're a good drawer but not a good designer. Of course, the inverse is also true- if you are great at communicating, but cannot draw (or model, etc.), then you should probably transfer to marketing...

>idea for future post: habits