The value of design | August 22, 2003
In my expirience most people view design as a superficial thing. It's about making something look nice, be that a business card, a brochure or a website. This is why many web designers jump straight into Photoshop when they get a new commission, and why clients expect to see designs before any requirements have been set. People just don't get what design is really about.
Good design is much more than just making something look nice. It's about taking a considered approach to a design problem in order to find the best solution. A good designer will spend time learning about a project, finding out about the clients business objectives and trying to marry these up with the users goals. With a clear understanding of the issues at hands, and firm goals in mind, the designer can start crafting the most appropriate solution.
However all too often people rush into design, with the sole objective of creating something that looks nice. This is a fatally flawed approach as looks are extremely subjective. What one designer or client may love, the rest of your users may hate. Design decisions need to be made for strategic reasons, but without a clear strategy they are usually decided by personal preference. This leads to a design that may look nice, but fundamentally ignores the strategic needs of the business as well as the goals of the user.
As an industry we need to start educating the public about the value of design. We need to change peoples perception that design is simply about "look and feel", about colour and composition. Good design is about creating strategic solutions to business problems and needs to taken as seriously as any other business service.
Posted at August 22, 2003 7:36 PM