10 Things Designers Need To Know

10 Things Designers Need To Know

Cheryl Durst, Executive vice president/CEO, IIDA

Cheryl Durst, executive vice president/CEO, IIDA, (International Interior Design Association), shares her top 10 Things Designers Need To Know.

1.        Get connected. Not just to gadgets, devices and the elements of technology, but to people, places, things and ideas.  Form attachments. Engage. Life is rapidly losing “permanence” and we live in a world of obsolescence. All the more reason to seek permanence in something important to you. It will enhance your life and your career. And becoming a more dimensional person is never a bad idea.

2.       Be agile.  Flexible. Stretch your mind (and your body). You need it and your clients need it. Not just physically, but emotionally and intellectually.  Think about how many times you respond with “Yes, but” which limits your options, and try instead “Yes, and. . .” which expands them.

3.       Be right.  Right brained, that is. And if you are a designer, you already are. The right-brained will rule the earth. And the Earth will like it, too. The abilities that matter now and in the future include empathy, visionary-big picture thinking, artistry and creativity, the ability to intuit, absorb, predict and anticipate. You want to be this person and you want to hire them, too.

4.       Place will always matter.  No matter how mobile we are, no matter where work and life happen,  no matter whether you cross six time zones in one day – “sense of place” is essential to human beings. And if that place is well-designed, has great air quality, is flooded with daylight and enhances your entire self – then so much the better. Bonus points if the lighting makes you look a few years younger

5.       Knowledge is momentary. Wisdom is forever. Forget everything you know, and then relearn the new stuff — quickly. The pace of evolution of knowledge is now so quick that entire careers and industries are changing faster than ever before. Medical knowledge is now doubling every eight years; it is said that half of what a student learns in their freshman year in a science or technology program is out of date by the time they graduate. 65% of the kids in preschool today will work in jobs that don’t exist. Yet. The world is moving way too fast for us to know everything.  But learn for others. Especially your clients. Your relevancy is your critical edge.

6.       Community, culture, content, commerce. Create the first, celebrate the second, and deliver the third. The fourth will follow. If you don’t think any of those things relate to the work of design and designers, see #2 above.

7.       Never forget how to sketch, storyboard or wireframe. You don’t need colour, tools or technology, first. Your clients will appreciate, admire and treasure the tangible raw original idea that seemingly came right from your brain to your hand and onto their cocktail napkin. Perhaps a toss-away to you—it is magic to them.

8.       I see London, I see France. Manage your online image. Google yourself, see what others see about you. Because those others are current and future employers. Or your next client. Don’t post anything you don’t want your mother to see or status updates that bash co-workers, employers or that future client.

9.       E-Commerce. Whether you design product, interiors, a website or a brand, remember what you are really creating is an experience. Human beings revel, delight and thrive in experiences that enlighten, enhance and expand who they are. They also heal, learn, think and play.

10.   If you think, feel, lead, explore, discover, delight, agitate, create, innovate, respond, uplift, immerse, revitalize, and improve and uplift the lives of those around you, then never say “I’m just a designer”.


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