Designing with Success

I spend a lot of time thinking about design. The word design means different things to different people. All things outside of nature are designed. To design is to solve a problem. We all design solutions to problems every day. For example, I designed the combination of clothes that I am wearing today.

A machinery designer may solve problems using the same process that an interior designer would use. Both vocations strive to successfully solve a problem, the end result is different, but the process can be the same.

There are many different approaches to design: less is more, user-focused, aesthetics, how it is used and production, are a few that come to mind. How you approach design will determine the outcome and whether or not you are successful.

Defining the outcome of the design process is important in determining the correct approach. If I’m asked to design a shower with low-cost being the outcome, I will approach the design with cost as my focus. The end result could be a shower that is difficult to enter, the controls may be hard to reach, and it may leak. Is my design successful? How different would the shower design be if I approached it with concern about how it will be used?

Some argue that design is instinctive and intuitive. Perhaps. I know that some people are better than others at instinctive design. They are able to see through external diversions to define the problem in its most basic terms and can design a solution that works.

In some cases, the design solution is so innovative that it completely changes how we use and act with a product. For me, innovation in design is the most interesting part of the design process. Designing my daily wardrobe could be easy. I could wear the same thing every day. Innovation in design is frustrating and difficult. Will this shirt go with these pants? Does this color clash with that color? Putting it all together in a brilliant way is innovative.

Innovative design creates the opportunity for growth and learning. Success in innovative design will leave a designer feeling euphoric. You know instinctively when you’ve designed the best possible solution and there is nothing like the feeling of success.

By the way, I look fabulous today.