Moving from Pretty Design

In the past, design used to be considered as the very final stage of the development process, where designers had very little contribution to innovation. Their role was confined to make the idea “pretty!”. In a way, this approach had increased market growth in many areas by making new ideas aesthetically attractive and hence more desirable to consumers. It also enhanced brand identity through smart, evocative advertising and communication strategies.

Later, in the second half of the twentieth century, design became an increasingly ideal competitive asset, especially in consumer goods industries. Design innovation started playing a very important role to change the perception of design. It is aided by a thorough understanding, observation, of what people want and need in their lives and what they approve or disapprove about the particular products.

Nowadays, the focus has largely shifted from making already developed ideas more “attractive” to creating new ideas. This calls for a methodology that permeates innovation activities with a human-centered design essence, widely known as “design thinking”. The design thinking is a process of collectively looking at various factors associated with an idea or an area, rather than a pre- defined series of orderly steps. Even the brainstorming exercise has become a methodical approach to get better ideas and help to bring about human centered design innovations.

One of the key aspects of design thinking is to look into details. The idea of the whole often overshadows the little aspects associated to its creation and existence. Looking up close helps to understand, interpret and rethink those details and connections. Often it is said that “think like a child”. Seeing things afresh reveal a new story altogether; adds a new dimension to the understanding process and ultimately ignites innovation.

Often designers have this tendency to get pulled by this idea of mastering design as an art. Doing what we think we do the best might restrict us to look off the margins; narrowing down the possibility of seeing new things and learning. As designers, a holistic view towards world, observing and learning is very important for the overall growth and development of a designer’s mind.

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