0. About Being

People have described Design as problem solving, applied creativity, or a particular process. People have also tried describing it by stating what it is not, they’ll tell you that Design is not art. The truth is there is no simple answer. Simplicity does not do the true complexity behind defining Design justice. Instead let’s look to clarify instead of simplify.

The first step to understanding Design is to understand what it means to be a Designer. Unlike other fields, Design is not simply about what you “know” or what you can “do”. It is about who you are. So what does that mean and why does it matter?

I will use myself as an example. I am currently a student. A student is not just a person who studies. To be a student is to have certain habits of asking questions, forming relationships with peers and instructors, as well as a mindset of learning and accepting certain truths. I am also a Christian. Being a Christian is not just about attending Church on Sundays or having knowledge about the Bible. Being a Christian shapes my perspective, worldview, values, and more.

Try to come up with an example. Explain who you are by going beyond what you know or do. Why do you have a particular perspective? What are some common patterns of thinking you might have? Why do you like certain things and dislike others?

To understand what Design is we must understand the habits, patterns of thought, values, taste, perspective, and more. Design Thinking is not just a linear process that we follow but it is about shaping our mind to think like a Designer.

So far we answered the question of “What is Design?” by raising another question of “What does it mean to be a Designer?”. We’ll be digging into it more throughout the following guides. Before we learn more about what it means to be a Designer, we need to learn more about you. By learning about yourself you will set the foundation in which to become a Designer.

If you feel quite uncertain about what Design is and what it means to be a Designer, get used to it. Designers tend to have to accept a certain degree of uncertainty throughout the Design process. Part of what makes Design so exciting is that there’ll always be more to explore and more to learn.

There is not a certain line that you cross and suddenly you are a Designer. Part of being a Designer is simply taking on the continual journey of becoming one. Congratulations on your first step!

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