How Do You Perceive Design?

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I am an individual who lives through creative visualization. Creative visualization is a cognitive/mental process of improving yourself, mind and the things around you. I am better at expressing myself through tangible creativity than putting my thoughts into words. Saying so, I am not trying to belittle the power of writing as it is a deliverance of thought which can be learned and improved.

To me, creativity can be tangible by coming to life objectively and figuratively. When I say objectively, I mean that it is born through a physical product versus figuratively where it is breathing through a word or message. Creativity does not necessarily have to be words on printed paper. It can be the personal hand crafted paper origami I made for my friends birthday which I had to learn by following a origami instruction book for kids because sad to say, I am not the master at the art of origami.

When I first entered college, I viewed one of my majors, Design, the same as a lot of you. I too along with many others had a preconceived notion that design meant to make something prettier and more visually appealing. Because I undermined the true meaning of design by simply thinking it was a weightless trunk that existed to connect other subcategories of focuses in design such as graphic or fashion design. However, one class, the Introduction to Design, changed my whole perspective on what design truly entails.

The Introduction to Design class during my last quarter of my first year at college broadened the meaning and importance of design. It taught me that design was literally everywhere; design was life and it was far more significant than what everyone else thought. It somehow got me to understand that design was the act of eating, sleeping, walking, living, seeing and dreaming. This class taught me that every aspect of life all trickled down a filter called the process of design. I explain this a lot more below but three years after my new found appreciation for my major, I now preach my own version of understanding of what design is to the world.

Some categorize design while others inspire good design. The design process is often categorized into ontologies whereas it is also incited to change certain attitudes and ideologies. I just simply think of design as a creative endeavor. A power that the world evolves around and is built upon and an accord we have amongst ourselves to make things better and feasible. To me, design is the bridge that connects creative innovation with mankind. It is also a form of attraction and process of deployment (e.g. conversation starter) that brings users together. What I mean by this is that design attracts viewers with its aesthetics while it sparks exploration with users. Still confused? No worries, take a break by checking out this video on YouTube that explains how design is everywhere:

To explain more about design, design is everything you touch except for nature (design does affect nature both in a helpful and destructive way). Look around you. Conscious or not, everything human made is design. Medicine, law, construction, action and anything visual or tangible is filtered through a process called design. For example, the handicap assistance for the disabled, wearable technology for the fashionistas, roadside service for automobile drivers, blueprint of the house for the DIY’ers, school curriculums for the educators and even the campus tours for the new freshmen have all gone through the design process.

So now that design has been defined, why is it important? Well, one obvious reason is that it makes abstract ideas become concrete. But, the less obvious reason is that design has the power to answer the needs of the users through product, service and experience. Doing so, it brings designers and non-designers together to tackle issues producing collaboration between different professions.

Last but not the least, design has the ability to make things simple. Designers are embedded with the mindset that the previous design can always be improved upon. And one of the main focus is to improve by making it more user friendly. Just look at the iPhone. Every year, Apple comes out with the new iPhone to cater to users by making it, they call it, “user friendly” and more “futuristic”.

I never thought I would go on to find true pride and passion in design and with my continuing endeavor to explore the world of design throughout college brings me a newfound appreciation for the subject that grows deeper and stronger day by day.

And don’t worry, it’s okay to not appreciate design the same way as I do because it takes time for a viewpoint to be shifted around. But who am I to say that we will always see eye to eye? Paul Rand, visionary and the father of corporate logo design, once said, “Design is so simple… that’s why it’s so complicated.”

Paul Rand:

Check out this article by the Creative Industries that explains what design is and why it matter: