Today in design seminar, Dick Buchanan defined the reasons that make designers valuable.

  • Whole/part: designers look at the whole in relation to the parts; they see the big picture
  • Bring to life/creativity: designers have a passion for making things
  • Comfortable with ambiguity: openendedness; not prejudging the solution; take chances, take risks; try multiple solutions
  • Polysensorial aesthetics: an aesthetic of many senses; this is about the actual making: prototyping; drawing; visualizing
  • Emotion/empathy: emotion is a way to engage with the world; passion; designers care about people

Dick also suggested that the above is a good profile of what the art of design is about.

I’m curious about the represenation of designer, though. While I enjoy that I fit with the positive characteristics stated above, I kind of feel like designers are being elevated above others.

I’m not sure that’s the suggestion, but it’s something I have felt at times. If it is the suggestion, I don’t necessarily know that it’s a bad thing. There’s just this slight uneasiness with the potential notion that designers are somehow better than others.

Or maybe I wonder if being immersed in all this design thinking has skewed my perception of the world so that designers are at the center. And I fear this could lead to an egocentric viewpoint where designers are the solution to all problems.