Photo of a letterpress
Photo of a letterpress
Photo by Marco Djallo from Unsplash

Recently I discovered that the strength of my practice has been my interest in ideas. Perhaps this explains why, as a designer, I have enjoyed working across so many types of projects, mediums, and disciplines. This has led me to think more broadly about what constitutes design practice and what we do as designers. The intention here is not to critique design methodologies, but rather, to explore something seldom discussed in everyday practice, the importance of writing as a skill for designers. Here are a few observations from my own experience.

Relational design
For today’s designers, navigating context has never been more important than now. It helps us move away from the idealised user towards more appropriate solutions for the complex reality of diverse audience behaviour. As Akkawi notes in ‘Why writing is the most important skill in design’ (2017), the act of writing and designing are strongest when it comes to building context, ‘Both require sensitivity to every plausible situation. Like writing, the design process considers varying levels of complexity in the context of use’. In my own work, writing has become an important practice for sense-making. It has allowed me to articulate what is understood, design with reflexivity, and work more collaboratively, effectively, and smartly. …


James Ratsasane

Musings on UX, strategic design and graphic design. Currently designing the future of education at RMIT University. Visit: