We engage with the work of designers in almost everything we do. I’m writing this from my desk with a coffee cup to my right, my favourite hand bag to my left, and my computer screen in front of me – all branded and designed for the user. As you read this there will be design all around you too – an ad on the screen, the texture of the seat you’re sitting on, the look and feel of the shoes you’re wearing.
Our engagement with the work of designers is often unconscious, but if done well the message gets through. So if design is fundamentally about creativity and communication, there are lessons to be learnt for all of us. Here’s five to get you started:
Be curious and engaged
To communicate effectively requires understanding. Become a keen observer of current events and trends – be curious and dive deeper into the issues so you can provide your own unique perspective.
Understand your creative process
While it’s nice to think that a “big idea” will just come to you one day, the reality is that behind every “eureka” moment is a lot of hard work. Discover how you learn and create best – maybe you need to mull over an idea for a few days until it’s sharpened, or you might draw out ideas through brainstorming with others. Whatever your creative process is; understand it, own it, and don’t be afraid to take hold and run with new ideas when they come to you.
Think beyond the people you know
Talking to new people, asking questions, being interested and curious about what they have to say, are all part of the recipe for successful communication. Try starting a conversation with someone you haven’t spoken to before, they may offer you a new perspective that leads you to a new idea. Understanding the way different people tick will help you reach new and existing audiences.
Be confident and open to new ideas
Everyone has unique skills to offer, you might not be a designer but what is it that you have to offer that is different to those around you? Don’t be afraid to own the skills you have and the work that you create. However, embracing critique is important too –we are always learning.
Collaboration leads to innovation
The flip side of having unique skills to offer are the things you can’t do so well. Recognise what these are and reach out to those who will compliment your skills. Collaborating with others will help push ideas further, leading to better results.
Images via http://www.rednovalabs.com/designing-for-web/
By Dr Nicki Wragg, program director of design at Swinburne Online and senior lecturer of the design honours program at Swinburne University. She graduated in 1989 and worked in the areas of brand identity and publication design. Nicki completed her doctorate in 2012.
Isabelle is a writer who has a hundred-and-one side-splittingly funny stories about growing up at an all-girls boarding school, with a chocolate habit that requires constant monitoring. Follow Isabelle on Twitter.