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Design Myth: Designers only make things look pretty

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There is a common misconception that designer’s job is to make things look pretty only. This myth arises due to the fact that the end-products of a designer’s work are visual in nature. Therefore, most people judge designers on a visual basis. In this post, we will like to debunk this myth.

A designer’s work is so much more than making things look pretty, regardless if the designer is in the web design industry or product design industry. Designers design for a purpose and not just doodling for fun. As Rob Curedale once said, “design is creativity with strategy”. Without a properly defined strategy, the design has no direction.

Let’s break down on how a designer works. To design a website or product, the designer has to first take into consideration of the target audience, the design problem, corporate goals, and their vision for the work. To do that, he or she will need to spend the time to learn more from the stakeholders about the audience and how they are best communicated to. This involves human behavior and perception, and not just aesthetics. User experience is a key component for most of the design work.

To further elaborate how design is not just about making things look pretty, let’s take web design for example. For a website, not only does it have to look pretty, it has to be user-friendly and functional. It might look prettier if you choose your favorite color or replace a universal icon to something different, but you might end up causing frustration for your audience. For example, if you use a circle icon instead of the hamburger icon for mobile menu icon, your web visitors might be impatient when trying to find the menu icon and leave your site.

So a web designer’s work focuses on providing visual clues to the function of the website and to make it as intuitive as possible.

The Gift of Designers

Now you have a better idea of how designers work, you can see that designers possess something that most others do not. They see what others cannot. They can conceive what does not yet exist. At the very best, they can see the change they might bring to the world.

So the next time you look for designers, do not judge their capability solely on the visual work that they did. Instead, judge their ability to understand your problem by letting them ask you relevant questions about your business and your target audience. An experienced designer will be able to diagnose solutions after diagnosing your business problem.

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