Difference Between Designers & the Rest

Lots of professions use design process in their fields. For example:

  • Engineers might do many virtual models to determine how to optimize a result.
  • Interior decorators and artists are looking to create emotional relevancy.
  • Marketing professionals are trying to anticipate user needs and desires

But, a unique concept of professional design thinking holds that:

  • Visual cues & attributes have a direct connection to the way people experience and perceive themselves & their world & that
  • These connections are internalized through the use of a product, service or space

To clarify the differences between design and other disciplines, let’s take a look at the goals, focus and tasks of other related and important disciplines to businesses, that might use some elements of the design process, but are nonetheless primarily concerned about other goals.

  • Artists, typically focus on changing our perceptions of the world, through a medium for purposes of expressing their particular vision.
  • Decorators, typically focus on creating aesthetically pleasing environments by applying surface treatments based on particular styles to beautify and place or object.
  • Marketers, who work closely with designers, are justifiably concerned with what will sell and are interested in transactions.
  • Engineers optimize variables to create products and environments that work well and accomplish their stated objectives in a reliable and efficient way.

It’s not that designers aren’t concerned with these objectives. Reliability, salability, expression and change or aesthetic connection are certainly part of the constraints that designers will deal with. But, designers are primarily concerned with what is going to improve the user experience to make it more valuable to users, by adding meaning and relevancy to that experience. It is the actual use of the product, service or space that matters.

The basic principles of design value are:

  • Emotional Correlation. There is a direct relationship between what you see and experience and the value you perceive. When you see or experience something, people make a judgment as to what is meaningful and valuable.
  • Successive Approximation. The correlation between what you see/experience and what you think/feel can be represented and tested before it is offered or made. We might not know, in advance, what form something needs to take to communicate certain information or create a certain perception. But, by creating representations of possible options before we make a final selection, we can gauge for ourselves and for others what the possible effect will be.