What separates designers from other professions?

At an alumni meet with my school friends I shared that I’m a ‘designer’ involved in designing products, but they all failed to understand my work. Thus, today I thought about deciphering the role of designers in the creative process of designing products.
 People perceive ‘designers’ to be creative with a different temperament, flaunting their creativity by dressing in turtleneck T Shirt, wayfarer glasses and skinny jeans. They ask ‘Are you like engineers or artists?’ So let’s decode ‘How different we are from others?’

Engineers: Logical solution providers
 Engineers work on the logical and rational part of each problem to find solutions. They are inquisitive about finding ways to make things work better. Their work is less intuitive but is based more on principles of a particular subject like Physics, Chemistry, etc. You cannot deny that they are innovative but their mind is tilted to finding logical solutions to complex problems.

Artists: A creative bent of mind
 Artists are at the other end of rationality, they are highly creative. Artists are instinctive and impulsive. They give ‘out of the box’ ideas that cannot be limited by reason. Artists challenge rules and their work reflects their observations. Many of them are self-taught and thus, carve their unique journey.

Designers v/s engineers:
 Like engineers, designers solve problems too. But, engineers are restrained by laws and principles. They don’t rephrase the problem like designers do. So when designers reconstruct a problem, the solutions vary from the engineers’ solution. Out of numerous solutions they analyze the best one. This open-minded approach leads to path breaking solutions. Thus, they are trendsetters who pioneer products that change our lives.

Designer v/s artist:
 Art awes you and your mind traverses beyond the normal realm of meaning to interpret it. You enter a beautiful world of imagination in which there are endless possibilities introduced by the artist. Designers don’t dwell at this level. A designer’s objective is to make the user’s life easy and joyful. Art breaks all rules, but design has basic structures, rules and limitations. Art doesn’t solve problems to facilitate our life, design does. Both are valuable to us and contribute to the society.

User centricity:David Kelly, founder of IDEO, the design consulting firm shared on TED talks about Doug Dietz, who was proud of designing the MRI machine. 80% of kids needed to be sedated before using this machine. Hurt to see the fear among kids he reinvented this experience. He painted the walls and the machine. Operators would tell kids that they are being taken to a pirate ship and they need to stay still as pirates shouldn’t find them. This gave great results. From 80% of kids needing sedation the figure came down to 10%.

In this manner designers make our life easier by designing products that facilitate various tasks. Can you imagine your life with no ‘designers’ around? We would surely end up struggling hard to figure out how to use products.

Originally published at www.yujdesigns.com on March 15, 2015.

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