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What Is Design And What Can It Do?

Design is many things to many people. To some, it’s how good a product looks, to another, it’s how that product functions. We love design, it’s a lifestyle choice and more than just a job, it’s how we communicate. We’re here to tell you what design is and what design can do.

Understanding What Design Is

First off, what is design? You hear web design thrown around and graphic design mixed in but what is it? The most generic — and perhaps irrelevant — definition of design is “Design as a noun informally refers to a plan for the construction of an object.” is that really all design is? Actually, no it isn’t — not to a designer at least. A designer solves problem through a medium.

What Can Design Do?

We just defined design as a problem solving process, if you’re thinking “so what” we’re thinking the same thing. Look at your favorite clothes, your computer, cell phone, desk and even a pack of gum. The look and function of everyday objects are a very conscious decision meant to solve a problem. Your jeans might have been sewn the way they were to prevent tears and look socially acceptable which addresses very real problems and concerns. Your computer’s interface was designed to make data (music, photos, videos, documents) organization easy and your data understandable.

So what do we do?

Let’s circle back and answer what is a web designer? A designer, by what you’ve just read is a problem solver that makes very conscious decisions to address a problem. The upside is a web or graphic designer makes their solution visually appealing. A great web/graphic designer gives it personality and solves the most aggravating problems with their work. Designing for a client is a very thought out process that needs to accomplish many things.

How Design Helps You

Christopher Simmons addresses the question of “where does design fit in my company?” (see how we just came full circle?) by creating a diagram for clients.

As noted above, Simmons needs to address the problem of “how can the above be expressed?” the above being a client’s leadership, product, team and strategy? “If you want to be a brand, I tell clients, you must work from the inside out. A great logo isn’t going to make a bad product any better, any more than a hard worker is going to make a bad boss a compelling leader. In this model, the inner layers affect the outer ones, not the other way around (with the possible exception that a well-articulated brand can help employees feel pride in their organization which can, for a time, boost morale).”

If anything, design is how we give your brand a voice, your product a voice, your company a voice and the people that make it work a voice. A good designer solves a client’s problems efficiently and makes their brand’s message a widely recognized one. The designer does this in a multitude of different ways from thinking about how a site is designed to how people view a logo. We’re visual communicators doing what we love and doing it effectively.

To better understand design in the context of web & graphic design, allow us to break down the thought process behind some of our work. Take a website for example and you’re a client, our problem might be “making your brand known and streamlining the purchase process.” The answer? We look at the current problems in the purchase process, is there information that needs to be displayed that would help a visitor complete a transaction? Is the system itself sound? How are we going to display elements and copy in the most effective way? On brand recognition we would look at your current logo and branding efforts. Does your logo speak your company’s message? Is that logo immediately recognizable, if not, how can we make it visualize your company?

That’s design, it’s the ongoing problem solving process we as designers go through in our work. We look at the big picture and the smallest detail to arrive at a conclusion, that conclusion being the final product which is the culmination of answers that’s most effective at addressing a client’s needs derived in the problem solving process.

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