Ever wondered what qualities differentiate a good designer from a great designer? What assets to their personality will they have and what makes for a truly creative mind?
Over the years I’ve worked with many graphic designers, yet in my opinion, among them, truly creative thinkers have been few and far between. Sure, there are many who can learn how to use the tools of the trade to become competent creative artists, but as designers, our greatest asset and tool is our brain. Study, learning, exploring, experience and good mentoring can help unlock our natural potential, but I believe that creative thinking is not something that can be taught at design college. For those of us born with an inherent design thinking, this becomes our way of life and not just a tool implemented for the workplace.
So what exactly do I mean by this? What characteristics should we be looking for when identifying a truly creative designer?
- Empathy. Design thinkers can imagine the world from multiple perspectives – those of colleagues, clients, end users and customers (both current and prospective). By taking a “people first” approach, design thinkers can imagine solutions that are inherently desirable and meet explicit or latent needs. Great design thinkers examine the world in minute detail, they notice things that others do not and use their insights to inspire innovation.
- Integrative thinking. Design thinkers not only rely on analytical processes, but also exhibit the ability to see all of the salient (and sometimes contradictory) aspects of a confounding problem and create novel solutions that go beyond and dramatically improve on existing alternatives.
- Optimism. They assume that no matter how challenging the constraints of a given problem, at least one potential solution is better than the existing alternatives.
- Experimentalism. Significant innovations don’t come from incremental tweaks. Design thinkers pose questions and explore constraints in creative ways that proceed in entirely new directions.
The design thinker is in a perpetual process of improvement – their mind focused on improving themselves, their previous achievements and the world around them. In a graphic design realm, the design thinker’s contributions evolve as highly effective and innovative visual communications, whether it be a business card or a complex website, they are driven by the continued desire to find solutions to problems.
To have someone like this who produces the quality of work that he does, in the time he does it in, and with the ongoing support, is essential to the successful operation of any business that has an online presence.