Designing With Purpose

Derick Carss
Aug 29, 2015 · 2 min read

A process for change
Originally posted on the Bureau Blank Blog, 11 August 2014

Some books have the ability to change your perspective and inform your decisions thereafter, while others reaffirm your opinions and let you know you’re on the right track. The Bureau Blank design team just finished reading Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro, a book that primarily reminded me why I chose a career in design and reinforced the reasons I work here.

Design is a Job talks about the reality of working in a creative industry, how to balance business with craft and ultimately deliver a better service to everyone involved. One key aspect is the importance of process. Monteiro describes the unrealistic expectations of some designers, “expected to succeed based on instinct, rolling the dice every time, rather than on a methodical process that can be repeated time and time again.” As strategists, designers and developers we don’t look to pull ideas out of the ether, but to solve our clients’ problems. That means conducting research, evaluating goals, weighing up options and through this process creating solutions that address all those points. Without strategy, we’re just making things look nice and without development we have no metrics to evaluate. That’s why we have a team ready to collaborate, why design is so much more than the traditional notion of creativity, and why I find it so fulfilling.

If I told you the idea of working on a glamorous campaign to sell expensive sneakers held no appeal whatsoever, I’d be lying, but it wouldn’t necessarily address the reasons I work in design. Design is a Job makes the case that as a designer, “you are responsible for what you put into the world” with the logical conclusion that you should choose your projects carefully. Our economy may rely on selling commercial products, often with the ability to improve lives, but that’s not the only challenge a designer can tackle. Bureau Blank works with clients from government, academia, infrastructure and non-profit (you can read more about GAIN here) because they offer problems we consider worth solving and that’s how we choose to be defined.

In my opinion, Monteiro’s most compelling statement was, “Not only can a designer change the world, a designer should. This is the best job in the world! Let’s do it right.” When we designed the Bureau Blank website, we decided to showcase every member of staff on the People section. You’ve probably seen our oversized faces grinning back at you. Potential employees always seem pleasantly surprised that we’d give everyone that recognition, but it seemed obvious to us. Without the right, like-minded people, we can’t collaborate and without collaboration, we can’t solve problems. When we’re solving problems, we’re doing it right. That’s why I’m glad to be one of those oversized faces and, hopefully, why you’ll want to work with us.

Checkout Design is a Job here and let us know what problems we can help you solve.

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