Everyone thinks they’re a designer…

Sometimes, people like to contribute to the design process, often without an invitation to do so:

  • Boss wants me to use his favorite shade of blue
  • Marketing team thinks the logo needs more pop
  • Guy who delivers the mail says I need more white space
  • Developer says I should consider a serif font

Today, everyone seems to think they’re a designer… and I think they’re right!

If design is a profession that most people go to school to learn, how can everyone be a designer?

What is design?

You’ve probably heard various definitions of design: Mocking things up in Photoshop, Building web pages, Drawing Pictures, Sketching things… or my favorite: Making things look pretty.

While some of the definitions are things that a professional designer might do, they don’t really get to the root of what design is.

According to our friend the dictionary, Merriam-Webster says to design is…

…“to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan.”

This means when you strip away the artifacts of the design process, design is simply making a series of decisions according to any sort of plan.

In a day, most of us will have designed:

  • Our outfit for the day
  • Our breakfast
  • Our coffee
  • Our route to the office
  • Our meeting schedule
  • An email

…and loads more.

Why do we need design professionals?

The role of a design professional is to facilitate the creative process and invite others to participate and contribute in the best way they can.

What do these design pros do, exactly?

Lead the conversation

  • Why are we making the thing?
  • How are we making it?
  • What are we making?

Define the Problem

  • Who do we make things for?
  • What do they need?
  • How do we measure success?

Communicate ideas and concepts

  • Mockups
  • Wireframes
  • Prototypes

How can others participate in the design?

Sales reps, developers, analysts, marketers, and all the people that have a stake in a product or service have valuable insights to offer.

With the right person in the driver-seat, all of those insights will contribute to the decision-making process that is design.