My Thoughts On Design

To much to read? just skip to the conclusions at the bottom.

The Designer

Design, the word itself is so popular that it is used almost anywhere. Multiple studies have shown that just changing the title of jobs, majors and school programs to include the words “design” or “designer” gives an increase in applications without actually changing anything else. People tend to like the idea of designing, but what is it they actually like? A design can be anything from a nice shirt to a construction method. I believe we all like the sense of creating something that’s originated from our own simple ideas. Perhaps it somehow derives from our biological need to reproduce, only in a more intellectual way. We want to shape the world with our own ideas; we want them to live on long after we are gone.

Graphic Designers

Up until now, I have addressed the designer at a high level as a creator of ideas. It’s time to narrow it down, there are a wide variety of designs and designers and I will further on focus on those who visualize their ideas (i.e. those that make things nice to look at).

So Why Do We Need Designers?

I heard somewhere that in the 1970s we had about 15 major shoe brands. Today we have a little over 280. This applies to almost every common product on the market. It means that branding and standing out is more important than ever, we need to be creative and differentiate us from our competitors to make money right?

This is where design matters, a good product design is just as important as great functionality. People tend to look at these separately, functionality is one thing and design is another. This is (in my opinion) false. I have come to realize they are very much the same thing. A good product design makes us want to use the product and therefore its functionality as well. It is not enough to have great functionality anymore. You got to have it all, products need to harmonize with the user. They require a good look, the right feeling, and the right weight, all of these things matter in terms of the user experience.

Apple Does It

Apple has always impressed us with well-designed products.

Apple has always impressed us with well-designed products.

Take a look at the arguments of Apple vs “every other brand you can think of”. Sure PC may give you better hardware specs for the same price as a mac. The same can be said for Samsung’s mobiles. People still choose Apple products about half the time and the largest difference between these products is that Apple delivers a very good user experience. Apple has been known as a “design company” for quite some time and whatever we might feel about Apple (and the cost of their products), one has to admit it is admirable to just have one phone model and own about 50% of the phone market.

Design As A Problem Solver

Products along with society are getting more and more complex, and in Sweden people are getting more and more stressed. This requires simplicity in design as a counterpart, especially online. People are getting tired of cluttered websites where they have to spend minutes finding the content of interest. Keep this in mind the next time you take your daily walk on the web, we are looking at a minimalistic and flat design trend on the web, and not just in Sweden I dare to say.

Today we standardize and automate everything we can. Products become cheaper to manufacture this way. The thing about design is that you can’t standardize it, in that case, it won’t stand out, it won’t be creative and you can’t compete with your competitors. That’s why I believe designers are becoming more and more important to the economy.

Conclusions

  • Our society is growing into a creativity-driven economy. With thousands of new products emerging every year.
  • Aesthetic design matters, just look at Apple and their products!
  • Stress and complexity crave simplicity. With a lot of options, the simplest one is easiest to choose.
  • Designers aren’t just artists, they are problem solvers. They solve the problem of delivering complexity in a simple package.

Thanks for reading! You can find all of my articles via my profile Jonas Johansson