Who are ‘designers’ anyway?

From the perspective of a design student

Mariam El Hussein-02 / 18 / 2015-News

As a young designer myself, I often get asked - or ask myself - what does being a designer entail? How exactly do I classify as a ‘designer’? Who are ‘designers’ anyway?

The dictionary definition of a designer is someone who is involved in the pre-building stage of something. Someone who plans everything from the look and feel to how it will work before it is physically realized.

Although this definition gives a good description, it is quiet difficult to define what a ‘designer’ is. A designer designs - but so does everyone. Design is not limited to commercial products or the latest technologies. We design on an everyday basis. We ‘design’ our daily schedules, our meals, our interactions, how we present ourselves at work, the list goes on.

So why did I go to design school if we are all designers to begin with?

Although we design on a daily basis, we are not exactly conscious of it. Studying design will refine your skills and further develop them. Ideation, design thinking, prototyping, iterations, and deep knowledge of the design process is fundamental to being a ‘designer’.

What I learned, however, is that it does not stop there. As a ‘designer’, your work and knowledge should not end at the pre-building stage. The more you know about what comes next, the better you can collaborate with your colleagues. Try to think ahead - for instance, to the building stage. This might help you provide better sketches, wireframes or prototypes of your idea to those who will realize it.

Broadness is often associated with being vague. And it is. But being vague does not necessarily have to be a bad thing.

The more you know about different disciplines, the better your ideas will be. You will be able see things in a new light, as an engineer or a manufacturer or a marketer would. Because ultimately, your team will individually affect and contribute to how your design will play out in the long-run.