If you have designer friends, you will appreciate this post. If you don't have any, don't worry, you'll learn a little bit about them today.
The expectation vs reality of our design world is presented as a listicle here. I made this list from my experiences of brewing in this world for decades together. Designers have many sides to them as they live in a world of paradoxes. Their occupational hazard overrules them.
A few paradoxes of the designer world below
Designers are all about aesthetics and sensuality.
If you spend a little time with them you will see that they are more analytical than sensual. They are creative problem solvers. Contrary to popular beliefs they do not touch colors or layouts, till they have done enough research, understood the problem space, brewed themselves in the domain and validated some ideas.
On the other hand, when you go out for a coffee or a meal with your designer friends be ready to listen to this list. They immerse themselves into details around them. They comment on the menu design. They touch and feel the paper. They talk in GSMs. They analyse the print quality of the menu. They critique about the information grouping. They even comment about the typeface choice. They will deep dive into cutlery design and more. It feels like they are all about aesthetics. In all honesty they are not 🤷♀️
Designers are tidy and organised.
If you pay a little attention to their work space (physical and digital), you will see a lot of mess. They will proudly say messier the better. The design discipline itself is undisciplined. We do not have strict disciplines to work. We keep moving between one or the other and wallow ourselves in the context.
On the other hand, if a bunch of information is unorganised, their OCD kicks in and they organise the whole thing into categories. They remove the duplicates. They bring in a lot of order from the chaotic bunch of information. They can't handle mess here. How crazy is that?
Designers are all about delights and surprises.
If you work with them closely, you will see how boring they are. To solve a problem they think about everything under the sun, the obvious, the non-obvious, the articulated, the hidden, the past, the future and more. They like to think in systems so that they can produce delight. Most importantly they want to avoid future problems. They are control freaks. That is the only way they can provide creative, surprising, delightful experiences to users. More the structured thinking, better the surprises.
Designers are all about freedom.
If you probe them a little, you will see that they yearn for constraints and challenges. The constraint is what gives them creativity. Freedom cripples them. They get lost when there is too much freedom. Constraints breed creativity. Freedom doesn't.
Designers don't do much work.
Design is easy. We don't need designers. We smile when this statement pops. Designers work super hard to make things easy. They make it so simple that everyone feel no work is done. Simplicity is complicated and sophisticated at the same time.
Designers love silo.
Designers lock them selves in rooms and come up with awesome design. That is far from reality. Designers love collaboration. They thrive on exchange of great ideas. They feel fish out of water when there is no collaboration.
Originality is second nature.
People assume designers are all about originality. If you speak to designers they will tell you everything is remix and there is nothing original about any design.
Next time you spend some time with you designer friends, look a little closer at their paradoxical life they live.
The occupational hazard seeps into every walk of our life and that makes us picky and inclusive, egotistic and empathetic, emotional and rational, perfectionists and progressive, tasteful and messy and more. There are any faces to designers and that makes it hard for our colleagues and friends to understand us in totality. I don't think even designers understand their paradoxical world enough.
🥂 to paradoxes!