How a designer thinks

The work of a designer requires pure mind set, a certain type of thinking.

So what is the content of the inner world of a designer at his work? What is the content of his ideas that are processed and does the designer live throughout the ideas. What does the job of a designer require from the person?

I work as a UI designer and therefore I will primarily deal with the point of view from this position, but the principles and the internal processing of professional problems are very similar to any other design disciplines.


The role of a designer

Of course there are many disciplines in design and therefore understanding may vary. A UX designer thinks differently to a UI designer, Interactive, graphic, design or strategy. It can be a product or fashion designer, but also an architect.

What unites them is the approach to work to form a brand or product.

For me it’s the design proposal, ideas on how the product operates or communicates.

The more ideas the better. No worries if some ideas are not executed within the first rounds. No idea is a bad idea. Perhaps it’s being used in the wrong context and the right time simply hasn’t arrived yet. The designer is therefore the creator of the fundamental ideas related to the visual aspect of things.

The essential factor is that the designer outlet is abstraction. The programmer can say that the designer may or may not be able to do something however, when can the designer say that the work is complete?

What is nice for one person, can be ugly for the other. Where is the certainty that the web concept / app is good enough? Will the web/app be successful despite or because of the design? The aim is not to be the first to discover the wheel, but to build functional and aesthetic solutions for clients while maintaining maximum work efficiency.

It is crucial to meet business goals and keep in mind the users needs. Both parties must be satisfied. It connects the two sides, each with their ideas and sometimes they may contradict eachother.

Knowledge and skills

The work of the designer is a multidisciplinary profession. It requires to combine several individual pieces of knowledge and skills, therefore today, the design process is divided into several separate disciplines — UX, UI, art direction etc..

Analytical thinking — The exact data is often not available at the beginning of the process. However, there are some requirements and expectations . It is necessary to extract the relevant facts from the existing data, to categorize them and draw up conclusions for the correct design setting.

Communication — The designer is an intermediary between the client and the user. The designer requires a great deal of communication skills to interact with clients, to accept criticism and at the same time, must be able to defend his work based upon arguements.

Personality — The designer should be a personality, from the professional side but also as a human being, a person with his own opinion towards his profession but also globally, and to the extent of manners and communication towards the professional community, to clients and to colleagues.

Hard work — 90% of success is hard work. Things often do not go in the most ideal way. Sometimes you need to stay at work longer or work during the night. But really you need to get over this, take it as a challenge and do not submit your work until you are really 100% satisfied.

Craft — A designer is a modern craftsman. His work combines practicality with art.

Talent — When a talented designer, it reflects in his work. He possesses nobility and beauty. Its something that can hardly be described.

Learning — The online world (as well as other design disciplines) is constantly and rapidly changing. It is necessary to have an overview of current trends in marketing, communications, graphic design, user experience, technology etc…

Software — Whether it is the pencil tool or software, that isn’t important. Anyway, mastering software is a relatively simple matter.

Authorial approach

The creative work pays something called the authors’ approach. It is true that the author often sees his work as exceptional. When he looks at it in hindsight, his enthusiasm has faded and already his masterpiece does not seem so great and he can already see errors in his work that he hasn’t seen before.

It is necessary to depersonalise yourself from the work and proposals and to perceive the work through the eyes of others. A resilient authors approach gives the design blinkers and doesn’t help to see things realistically, but in terms of his own ego, emotions, hard work, fatigue and excitement.

It is therefore important to communicate its outcomes with colleagues and gather continuous feedback from them and to be able to not take it as criticism, but as constructive feedback. This may be the quality of the work of paramount importance.

Form vs function

In interaction design in general, it is true that the packaging should not impress the function, but encourage it. Our aim should therefore be to build functional and aesthetic solutions for clients and users (sometimes it’s necessary to consider who more). Ideally the aesthetic form is the result of the product. This is not always the rule, that’s why there aren’t any non practical solutions to design cars, yet we still buy them because we like them.

I’m trying to maintain a rational view of things and act in terms of the Design thinking process.

For me personally it is important that the work must look outstanding. The visual component is subject to trends. (Skeumorf, flat…). It is important to know the basic design principles as a grid, typography, colour…so that it’s possible to create work that is timeless.


Design is a method
of problem solving

Inloop design division — this is how we feel it


The decision making process

The creative phase gives a result that leads to a tremendous amount of decisions. It is essentially a decision making process. In almost every moment there are several (sometimes an infinite) number of optional solutions, particularly when addressed from a formal side. However, also entering the game are technical limitations, branded constraints, budget, clients or the boss infact. While thus arrive at a result which is an abstract value, you need to consider a number of alternative solutions and to be able to choose the right one, so as to harmonise it together. A presumption is good to have under control and to be able to make decisions based on knowledge and data.

Choice of typography — scheme of Julian Hansen. (link)

Your own style

Nowadays, due to UX/UI patterns and principles like Google Material Design and Mobile First UX/UI, designs have united a lot, which of course is not a bug, actually quite the contrary. That’s why to work towards your own style can be quite challenging. It is an art in itself.

Your own style can be defined by a specific value, property arising out of a specific approach to solving the problem, either in a content or formal aspect. It means that personal style may not be as a specific look, but also an interesting and functional processing user experience, animations, user interface,…

It may formally be a specific use of colour, typography, grid,…or creating interesting design strategies which combine all the previous elements.

Your own style can form a vital component of reputation and can be an important factor in the decision making authority / reservation services. A lot of smart people in this way can work from the comfort of their homes by using services like Dribble and Behance to present their work.

Presentation

An important part of the personal challenge — comparison with your peers and gathering feedback. A presentation of results of your work has a direct connection to the business. Today there are such presentational graphics platforms, especially the likes of social networks Dribble and Behance. For example if anyone would be interested in presenting work on their own site, you can use sites like Cargo or Readymag.

Presenting the work and publishing are often time consuming and therefore many smart people are not doing this because they simply do not have time for it, they are simply to busy creating other things.

See website of our designer Martin Janek — the result of getting to know the Readymag services.

Being in the zone

Each person has a different set of working conditions under which produce the best work and therefore create the best outcomes.

For general workflow, headphones with some good music are sufficient.

For defining the basic visual concept, get in a tub with warm water.

Obtain your workload as soon as possible so that there is sufficient time to find inspiration and to be able to think about the solution while continuously working on some things that are developing.

The design thinking process

The design process is something that is generally described as something that has its own rules and procedures. It is called the design thinking process.

Design thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems and to find desirable solutions for clients. A design mindset is not problem focused, it’s solution focused and action oriented towards creating a preferred future. Design thinking in business uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunities.

Design innovation

Today says a lot about the proposals of innovation in companies. Innovations are very important, without it, it’s impossible to be successful in a competitive environment. This is a bit of a managerial position of things, but the essence is the same — to create the conditions and processes that occur in society that desire to experiment, to receive creative people to generate ideas, to produce a product development process…


Thank you for your attention and I am happy that you finished reading the article. For that you have my gratitude and I like you as a reader :)

Martin Janek (UI designer / Inloop)