Be a Better Designer 6: Yo Designer, are you HOT or not?

Traits of successful designers

This is fitting as a part 6 installment to our popular series here at Design Sojourn. In the past 6 months, I have been having the most wonderful conversations with senior design managers and representatives from some of the best design recruitment agencies in the world. What came out of the many different discussions was a great picture of the design skills in demand at this point in time, and thus potentially what makes a successful designer today.

1) Designers who can create beautiful forms that are sensitive to the brand and design language requirements of the client or company.
2) Multi-disciplinary Industrial Designers who can speak the “language” of engineers, marketing and business leaders.
3) Industrial Designers that can understand that their work (form, sketching, 2D or 3D skills) is part of a larger product development process and how their small part gels and interact with the process on a holistic level.
4) Designers that work, not think, outside the box. Exploration and interests in other areas, hobbies or the arts are a plus.
5) Designers with an entrepreneurial mindset.
6) Designers with a strong understanding of business acumen and how their design affects the bottom line.
The idea is as design moves into a more strategic level in any organisation, a new breed of designers are required. Designers that are big picture strategic thinkers and yet understand the nuts and bolts of the design development process. Designers that have design skills, but still understand how it all fits into the business and finally designers that can be creative in all aspects of their work in addition to their designs.
Getting to this level is not easy, but knowing where you want to get to is half the battle won.

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4 Comments
  • David Carlson

    December 19, 2006 at 5:00 pm Reply

    A good and important list I think. During my years with David Design I have seen a lot of examples of the opposite. It’s a dream to brief a good designer, but it could be a nightmare when it is the other way round. But I think this is getting better. One reason is that the design schools more and more are talking about entrepreneurship, business strategy and marketing trends. This knowledge in combination with an artistic skill and manufacturing knowledge creates a complete designer.

  • Design Translator

    December 19, 2006 at 6:47 pm Reply

    Hi David,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving the comments. It interesting how design and a entrepreneural mindset are two sides of the same coin! It does seem that many designers though very creative are not creative when it comes to anything outside of their design work. Its unfortunate but true.
    Hopefully this list can inspire designers to be the best they can be!

  • Aaron the gimp

    January 3, 2007 at 9:17 pm Reply

    hay this is great stuff, i have just started a new role after being away from design and being a stay at home dad. this is stimulating all the right areas as i need to ease myself back into design in a new world of communication.

  • DT

    October 14, 2007 at 3:24 pm Reply

    Hi Aaron,
    Sorry for the late reply, and as a stay home dad myself, I know how it feels and I wish you all the best of luck!

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