10 things you need to learn in design school if you’re tired of wasting your money
Mike Monteiro

This is really good advice for all graduates of any degree. Everyone who is going to work within a business should understand how to speak the language of their business, how the business makes money and how to sell their work.

But I disagree that design is a business skill. If you want to learn business and how to make business/finance/sales decisions you should go to business school, which involves a lot of learning how to crunch numbers in Excel.

I understand wanting to emphasize basic business language skills to design students and design students should be taught them. But businesses hire designers to design things that will sell and a lot of that design has to do with evoking emotion and creating a level of aesthetic that is appealing. They hire sales and finance people to figure out how to make the most money from those things.

A lot of this advice seems to be geared toward designers working in an agency where design is the business, but what about when design is part of the business?

Design like many other professions is about problem solving, but in a lot of companies designers don’t decide what that problem is and if it’s worth the time/labor/money/political capital to solve and support it. A designer’s job is typically to design things that align with a business strategy. I don’t need designers to analyze the data that will dictate my strategy, I need them to interpret the strategy and use it to guide their design. Design students don’t need to be learning things like data-analysis in SAS or creating attribution models, they should be learning how to work with people who are experts in those business disciplines.