Someone recently asked me what I like about design. This was a question I had never heard asked before. This was something I never asked myself about something I do and practice every day of my life. You see, design isn’t just a noun describing the action of creating. It’s a lifestyle. Design isn’t implied or suggested, it’s required. So when I heard the question, “what I like about design?”, I thought it was obvious. I thought everyone understood it. But as the words fell from my lips, I realized that it wasn’t obvious and I realized I didn’t know what I liked about design or being a designer for that matter.
As I take a moment to ponder this question, I start to think about how design makes me feel. Is it the way it looks, or the way it feels in my hand, is it that feature that I can’t live without? Then I start to think about all of the people and influences in my life that impacted my designs. I think about the voices in my head that guided me every step of the way and the mistakes I made. The times when I made the right decisions and the times when I made the client speechless. I think about the long design meetings and the sleepless nights kept awake with thoughts of design. I think about all of decisions that were made over a cup of coffee or a slice of pizza. I think about the epiphany in the shower. I think about the impact I’ve made in a company’s product line, or the influence I had on a consumer to buy a product.
Design isn’t about what a product looks like or feels like. Design is about how it brings people together. Design is about the process and the people we meet along the way. Design is about the decisions, the arguments and the compromises. It’s the way you talk about a product; the way you love something or the way you hate something. It’s the conversations you have with someone you’ve never met about something that doesn’t really matter.
Design is everywhere, it’s the television that brings entertainment to your family. It’s the lamp that brings light into your room or the phone your loved ones call you on. Design is the steering wheel that makes you feel like a racecar driver, it’s the seatbelt that keeps you safe. Design are the toys that your kids love to play with. Design is the dance shoes from the recital or its the baseball glove from the game winning catch. Design is the medical equipment we hope we never need; design is the tools that keep us alive when we need them.
So now when I hear the question, “what I like about design?”, it’s the people. The people that I have met, the people that I will meet, the people that use the products and the people that are brought together using the products that I designed.