In trying to decide if a design career is right for you, it might be helpful to think about the qualities and interests that many designers share, and see if they overlap with your own. Since most high schools don’t offer design courses, it’s not easy to make the connection. Many professional designers don’t come into the field until their twenties or thirties, after they’ve received degrees and even started careers in related disciplines. Many more students attend design school and are disappointed when either the education or the practice (or both) aren’t what they expected.
So who becomes a designer? First and foremost, designers are keen observers and lovers of beautiful and useful objects, messages, and experiences. They pay attention as they move through their day, possessing a hyper awareness of the visual and textual world around them. They make connections and ask questions about how those objects and messages work, what they are, what things look like, and what they mean.
Noticing and appreciating, however, is not enough. Designers have a desire to make and customize things they haven’t seen before, and then share them. Observations lead to wondering what something that doesn’t exist yet would look like, and oftentimes the only way to know what it would be like is to make it. This curiosity is at the core of the designer, and doesn’t always make sense to everyone else.
Designers are also obsessed with clear communication. They obsess over misunderstandings, mistranslations, misappropriations, and missed connections, looking for possible solutions, especially when language doesn’t feel sufficient. Coupled with this is usually a restless desire for order. Designers have a need for completing things, revealing relationships, and simplifying complicated things. Students who enjoy the more verbal, conceptual, and visual side of mathematics often make good designers.
Finally, design requires both introversion and extroversion. A good designer is able to really get close to a problem or project and can work long hours alone towards a solution. At the same time, a designer is an expert in reading people and navigating the needs and desires of a client to eventually shape the experience of the end user. This requires a sense of observation that is not limited to the world of objects and messages, but extends to the relationships humans have with those objects and with each other.
People often become designers because they feel like fulfilling one interest is not enough. An interest in language may point the way towards a life crafting words. An interest in order and structure may lead to an engineering career. An interest in making meaningful things may lead to studying art. An interest in people may lead to studying sociology, psychology, economics, or business. And any combination of these interests will find a home in design.
What is graphic design? <<
What do designers need to know? >>
Together with AIGA, Adobe is creating innovative programs that give members a voice, nurture young designers and actively engage the creative community in dialogues about the important issues in the fields of design and technology. The alliance between AIGA and Adobe is a long-term partnership dedicated to advancing design and the use of technology across creative industries as well as understanding and highlighting the impact of design on the economy and society. Learn more about Adobe.
Juliette Cezzar is an Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the BFA Communication Design program at Parsons / The New School, where she was the Director of the BFA
Communication Design and BFA Design & Technology programs from 2011-2014. She established her small studio, e.a.d., in 2005. While books anchor the practice, her work has spanned a variety of media for clients such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, RES
Magazine, The Museum of Modern Art, Vh1, The New York Times, Eleven Madison Park, and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Art, and Planning. She is the co-author of Designing the Editorial Experience with
Sue Apfelbaum (Rockport) and author-designer of Office Mayhem (Abrams), Paper Pilot,Paper Captain, and Paper Astronaut (Universe / Rizzoli). She holds an MFA in Graphic
Design from Yale University and a professional degree (B. Arch) in Architecture from Virginia Tech.
Zuzana Licko and Rudy VanderLans committed to publishing the graphic design journal Emigré to showcase the work that was being neglected by other design publications, either because it didn't adhere to traditional canons or it was still in its formative stages. VanderLans rejected standardized formats in favor of organic grid structures that reflected his enthusiasm toward the content. When Emigré work began to receive public attention, it was attacked for promulgating visual incoherence and viewed as a threat to modernist ideals and an affront to universal notions of beauty. Throughout all the criticism, Licko and VanderLans continued to pursue their unique visions and, consequently, have been a prime force in revolutionizing the industry and cultivating a spirit of exploration. In 1997, they received an AIGA Medal.
Section: Inspiration -
AIGA Medal, graphic design, print design, Womens Leadership, students
A paraconceptual stroll through Berlin's Design Mai with Momus becomes a postinteresting meditation on the designer as author.
Section: Inspiration -
Design lessons from the best movie posters of our childhood: https://t.co/RGbpfXyvho @posterboysshow https://t.co/zyU6mX2fsP
11 minutes ago
#AIGAstudents want to show your work + vision? Join emerging designers exhibit @aigaboston https://t.co/Z5XPlWmVBk https://t.co/xyrO8hFZPW
44 minutes ago
@skwiot @aigamn Thanks! We'll definitely let you know if there's any way you can help us speed up the process + make our site more inclusive
An hour ago
Video: AIGA Medalist Charles S. Anderson
IBM Smarter Planet Illustrations and Posters