Defining the Designer of 2015
For several years, it has been apparent that design studios and corporate departments have been looking for a new kind of designer, one that has traditional skills and yet a much broader perspective on problem solving. Because one of AIGA's central responsibilities is to keep abreast of developments in the industry, we recognized that we needed to better understand the emerging role of designers and to enter into a deeper discussion with educators and design leaders on how to prepare designers for future changes.
Since 2006, AIGA and Adobe have teamed up to try to define this future. Through interviews, focus groups, workshops and surveys that were conducted with some of the profession's best thinkers-educators, observers of the field and AIGA members-we have attempted to characterize future designers. The initial phase of the research involved translating the expectations of participants into the essential competencies that will be needed, in various combinations, by tomorrow's designer.
This research was undertaken so that both AIGA and Adobe could help prepare designers for the skills and roles that will be expected of them. The findings should provoke responses from both the academic community, in developing curricula, and studios and design departments, which will need to develop teams that demonstrate these attributes.
The findings are not conclusive, for each designer will have her own sense as to what will be needed in the future, given the nature of her work and assignments. Yet these findings begin to shape the direction for design, based on the input of experts and 2,500 AIGA members. We believe it accurately reflects the challenges being posed to designers within the current and evolving design economy.