Designer of 2015 competencies

In order to fulfill the expectations placed upon designers in the future, they will need to employ a set of skills that include some beyond today’s typical scope. No single designer is likely to have all the skills required, yet this research revealed the range of competencies that a studio or design department, among its full complement of staff, will need in order to meet the demands of the future.

These competencies uncover the challenges for educational institutions, in developing curricula, and for studios, in recruiting their teams. The competencies are listed below in order of their ranked importance in the online survey:

AIGA 2015 1

Ability to create and develop visual response to communication problems, including understanding of hierarchy, typography, aesthetics, composition and construction of meaningful images

AIGA 2015 2

Ability to solve communication problems including identifying the problem, researching, analysis, solution generating, prototyping, user testing and outcome evaluation

AIGA 2015 3

Broad understanding of issues related to the cognitive, social, cultural, technological and economic contexts for design

AIGA 2015 4

Ability to respond to audience contexts recognizing physical, cognitive, cultural and social human factors that shape design decisions

AIGA 2015 5

Understanding of and ability to utilize tools and technology

AIGA 2015 6

Ability to be flexible, nimble and dynamic in practice

AIGA 2015 7

Management and communication skills necessary to function productively in large interdisciplinary teams and “flat” organizational structures

AIGA 2015 8

Understanding of how systems behave and aspects that contribute to sustainable products, strategies and practices

AIGA 2015 9

Ability to construct verbal arguments for solutions that address diverse users/audiences; lifespan issues; and business/organizational operations

AIGA 2015 10

Ability to work in a global environment with understanding of cultural preservation

AIGA 2015 11

Ability to collaborate productively in large interdisciplinary teams

AIGA 2015 12

Understanding of ethics in practice

AIGA 2015 13

Understanding of nested items including cause and effect; ability to develop project evaluation criteria that account for audience and context