The day I became a better designer

There was a popular motion graphic video titled “29 ways to stay creative” that made its rounds on the internet when I was a senior in high school preparing for design school. Listed as #11, it said “surround yourself with creative people”. Being the blooming creative I was, I naively took this advice and ran. I surrounded myself with design and art students, categorizing the creative under these two categories and truly believed this would help me become a better designer.

Over the years I’ve learnt that this is not the case. I was too comfortable with my “confirmation bias”, I became nearsighted. When I was only with designers, I was more closed minded and less experienced with the world. Over the summer when all my friends were doing internships I found all the design people were experiencing and doing more or less all the same things as me while my non design friends were doing things so foreign such as taking care of low income families and saving woman from abusive relationships. It was so fascinating to hear about what they have to face in their potential full time job.

Surrounding myself with non-designers allowed conversation and problem detection of topics I would never think of. Lending an ear for different educational backgrounds is a greater source of inspiration than speaking to regular designers.

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I’m in the process of creating an app where people are able to educate themselves in other disciplines and open the conversation between fields. A sort of education hub to help people further their studies and gain new knowledge and hobbies. While it may be more relevant for designers to learn and cater to other fields, it’s also important for non-designers to learn about our field and understand what our thought process is. There’s a lot of misconception on what design is, many think it pertains only to graphics and aesthetics. This app is to challenge that and allow people to better educate themselves.

As said by Tobias van Schneider,

“by immersing ourselves in different perspectives, we can draw a much richer and more balanced picture. Which in result, enhances our work.”

Being around other designers doesn’t mean you will become a better designer. Instead, delving into other professions and opening your worldview will benefit you in so many ways.

Stay curious!