10 Tips on how to think like a designer

Posted on August 16, 2009

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Below are 10 things (plus a bonus tip) that that designers do or know that the rest of us can benefit from.

  1. Embrace constraints. Constraints and limitations are wonderful allies and lead to enhanced creativity and ingenious solutions that without constrains never would have been discovered or created.
  2. Practice restraint. Any fool can be complicated and add more, it takes discipline of mind and strength of will to make the hard choices about what to include and what to exclude.
  3. Adopt the beginner’s mind. As the old saying goes, in the expert’s mind there are few possibilities, but for one with the beginner’s mind, the world is wide open.
  4. Check your ego at the door. This is not about you, it’s about them (your audience, customer, patient, student, etc.).  Look at the problem from their point of view — put yourself in their shoes.
  5. Focus on the experience of the design. It’s not the thing, it’s the experience of the thing. This is related to #4 above: Put yourself in their shoes. How do people interact with your solution? Do not neglect the emotional aspect of your solutions.
  6. Become a master storyteller. Often it’s not only the design — i.e., the solution to a problem — that is important, but the story of it. This is related to #5 above. What’s the meaning of the solution?
  7. Think communication not decoration. Design is about solving problems or making the current situation a little better than before. Design is not art, though there is art in design.
  8. Obsess about ideas not tools. Tools are important and necessary, but they come and go as better tools come along. Obsess instead about ideas.
  9. Design is about choices and intentions, it is not accidental. Design is about process — a result of your careful choices and decisions.
  10. Sharpen your vision & curiosity and learn from the lessons around you. Good designers are skilled at noticing and observing.  Design is a “whole brain” process. You are creative, practical, rational, analytic, empathetic, and passionate. Foster these aptitudes.
  11. Learn all the “rules” and know when and why to break them. Over the centuries, those who came before us have established useful and necessary guidelines — these are often called rules or laws and it’s important to know them.

Source: http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2009/08/10-tips-on-how-to-think-like-a-designer.html

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