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Sorting through design

There are many books about how to design, how to design websites or how to be creative. The problem with the promise of these books is that design is a discipline, and to do it well you have to immerse yourself into the practice of design daily. To get the best design possible for a problem that requires the application of design, one must first understand the problem from all angles and then use the skill of design order to achieve success.

Designers are a strange breed. Throughout my years i have worked with, pitched against, lectured with and casually met all kinds. Through these interactions I have identified characteristics of designers that should typically raise the red flag. This is mainly due to the enormous amount of ego that designers inherit during their early design training. If you have met a designer of this type you know exactly what I mean.

Some designers think they are the be all and end all to everything. They act aloof, think you are stupid and sell you designs through a convoluted design process.

The complete know it all designer
Not only does this designer dress the part, all black, turtle neck, black rim glasses. They talk the part too. Apple, roi, architecture, Jakob Nielsen. They believe they know everything. Through design they believe they have achieved a level of knowledge and understanding that most people aren’t quite able to grasp.

The over protective designer
This designer dresses the part and they are so worried about losing their jobs and spend most of their time under mining any project they feel threatened by. They ask questions that derail projects rather than helping the project move forward.

Beat up corporate designer
Worn down by weeks, months or years of dealing with internal business politics, they have forgotten how to be creative or worse just don’t care anymore.

The award winning designer
This designer spends much of their time entering into and joining organizations that hold design award competitions. I have judged and experienced these competitions first hand. They are not good judges of the work or of the designer, but the designer will advance their career through these competitions, while the clients suffer.

I am not against people learning how to design, quite the contrary, design excellence can be achieved by anyone. Anyone can design. The issue I have is with the “Self Help” style design guides. They regurgitate the same information, organize it differently and charge a stupid amount of money to the unsuspecting consumer.

What I think is missing from the market place is how to interact and best use designers in your workflow. Basically how to get the best from a designer.