The designer’s process can’t begin without a problem to solve. Thankfully, there are clients. The amount of information each client brings varies. Some clients have research, extensive materials on consumer behavior and insights, and competitive analysis or reviews. Some clients want us to do this. We do some of this information gathering internally, but if the budget and timing allow for a deeper investigation we have consulting firms to partner with. The quest for in depth information is to help reveal a clear direction. There have been times when other business opportunities have been discovered. The amount of information we receive helps to focus or guide our thinking and provide a source of inspiration. Our preoccupation with strategy and positioning runs counter to many people’s perceptions of designers.
But the truth is, most designers can draw, but not all are gifted at it. Some are exceptional at bringing order to chaos. They can take a complex set of elements and organize them into beautiful arrangement. Some have excellent special perception or a curiosity for how things work. Perhaps this ability is something one can be born with. It’s the case of perfect makes practice. Because one understands he or she has this gift, it eventually leads to a career. Maybe there’s more fascination with making perfect letterforms than there is making sentences. It’s difficult to pinpoint when it starts to manifest. Maybe a toddler who straightens a throw rug or wants food placed on the plate in a certain order could be a sign. Whatever the inclination, the advancement and development into a profession is enhanced by seeing and doing. Seeing helps build awareness and understanding. Doing helps to challenge and refine skills. This builds design muscle mass. Education can be a significant factor in opening ones eyes and mind. Those who are able to attend schools with strong design programs are lucky to learn from instructors who often are practicing professionals. It is an opportunity to learn about art and design history. It is an opportunity to focus on specific kinds of problem solving and methodologies. It is an opportunity to witness other student approaches and solutions to the same assignment. There may be an opportunity for internship. And it can help establish the kind of rigor it takes to meet the needs of clients and deal with the deadlines and other issues of production.