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AIGA's 2009 national conference was entitled “Make/Think.” Important
skills or abilities, to be sure, and to those two words I would
Assuming commitment, creativity, deep and broad visual literacy,
and an understanding of design processes (oh, is that all!), you
will need to be able to articulate your (design) thinking in a way
that will be meaningful to analytical and political thinkers, not
just intuitive thinkers. You will need to be able to do this both
verbally and in writing. Additionally, you will need to be able to
collaborate with others, including those who live and work well
outside design-related fields, and process the information and
experience they provide. You will also need expertise in a
particular design area—preferably an area that you love—that
will allow you to give form to ideas.
As this was being written, Steve Jobs debuted the iPad. Game
changer or overgrown iPod Touch? We'll certainly know in three
years. Regardless of its success, it is clear that having the
skills to be a media-independent designer is essential. That
suggests, for example, that the necessary area of expertise may be
in coding languages and how they can enable interface design. Three
years from now, expectations for flexibility and customization on
the part of a user—no matter the interaction—will be even greater
than they are today.
Design will continue to be about broad thinking, about the
what and the how, about making connections between
seemingly disparate activities or experiences. How else to make the
unfamiliar familiar? To be successful at that, you will need to be
able to think, make and explain.
This essay originally appeared in the 2010AIGA|Aquent Survey of Design
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