“Design is done when the problem is solved”

Ehmm: I had originally wanted to make this an Instagram post where I post Design quotes/tips, but it turned out to be too long for Instagram. It is my desire that Design is valued by Stakeholder/Clients, and that Designers in Nigeria where I come from become world-class Designers. So, here’s me doing my bit.

Most times when we talk about design, most people think about artifacts, graphic, and some sort of image(s) consisting of text and colors.

Well, we’ve also heard a lot about how design is problem-solving, and bla bla bla about problems.

Yes, it is! But most of us Designers still don’t get it. When a client hits us, what comes to mind is “I’ve gotta be creative” I’ve gotta wow the client so as to justify the fee and validate my skill. But that’s not how it should be really.

Let me jump out of the product design soup now, and plunge into Graphic Design which is largely what most “Designers” here (in Nigeria) do, and what most clients around this part of the world seek for.

A client who happens to own a restaurant comes to you and says: “Hey, I want to redesign my “menu list”. Perhaps, people don’t order much when they skim through it.” We’ve all been there; clients assume, and most times tries to tell us the problems and even how to solve them.

Now, a typical Designer that I know will say: I can do it. Discusses price, and we all know how it ends.

It ends that way because most of us still think Design is what you see on screen or on paper.

Design is about Identifying problems, understanding problems by asking the right questions and ultimately eliminating the problems. It isn’t about the “I” (The Designer), it’s about the “we”. It’s about making something to change and make an impact on people’s lives.

Great design materialises when there’s a collaborative process, and its results are remarkable.

So how about working together with the client and even their customers, and seeking to know why people aren’t ordering. Could it be the Menu list? A food problem? Space, or how the restaurant is designed? And most importantly, asking customers questions. You can call that customer research.

Doing these things might seem a long rope, and most of us will say “how much is the client paying for just a “menu design?” But if we Designers understand that the client isn’t paying for a menu design, but for a problem needed to be solved, and that the problem might not be the menu, then I think we will come to the realization of our value, worth and our work’s worth.

And trust me, If Designers have this knowledge, clients will begin to understand, realizing that you aren’t just manufacturing a Photoshop/Illustrator/Corel Draw product, but a representation of the solution or need.

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