What is design?

Some people think design is about making something look pretty. But design is as much a science as it is an art. Design is about communication, design is life changing and design can be life enhancing too. Design is much more than making things look pretty!

We are surrounded by design in our everyday lives, from the clothes we buy to the buildings to we live in, from the food we eat to the cars we drive. Design invents and defines our world.

Design is about problem solving – defining the problem and finding a solution. Looking for ways to enhance an experience, to make a connection, to make you feel something.

There is a greater appreciation now of how design can be used to transform systems and businesses and it’s become a very valuable and desirable commodity.

There are numerous principles which can help you achieve a greater understanding of good design. To save you time we have summarized the ones that will make the most impact below:

Firstly, empathy.

Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. By learning as much about them as you can, you are more likely to create solutions that work for them. If you immerse yourself in not just understanding who they are, but how they feel and what they are motivated by, it will help you really understand their problems. Only from this view point can you have a greater understanding of the ‘why’ – why am I designing this poster, this website, this advert?

For more – our blog about understanding your audience and this one about asking your audience

Secondly, versions.

Assessing whether a solution is good enough to address the problem should be tested through a trial and error process. This is the essence of digital prototyping or crafting physical paper mock-ups. By making mock-ups, you can test what works at an early stage which enables changes to be made and improvements for a better outcome. This is as true of large websites as it is of small paper forms.

If you struggle with overthinking when you’re testing concepts try this blog!

Thirdly, collaboration.

This is the key to unlocking good ideas. Many designers, including us, function collaboratively. Bringing people with different views and skills from different disciplines, with different perspectives and different methodologies is key to solving complex problems.

Who could you invite to your next design meeting? It doesn’t have to be someone involved in communications. Everyone has their own unique and valuable perspective.

We did a whole series of blogs which covered an A-Z of design. Do check them out.

Design is something that everybody has the capacity to do. Some of us are just fortunate enough to have practiced a lot and do it for a living!

If you have any design challenges which require a solution we can help. We provide design services from branding and website design to printed items like brochures, annual impact reports, leaflets, direct mail, pull up banners and digital communications like newsletters and social media messages.

Do get in touch, it would be great to have a chat about your challenges and how we can help provide a solution.

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Jo Grubb
Managing Director, JG Creative