21 December 2016

Great designer is a good person

Based on the title, I said that great designer is a good person, but not every designer. So what makes the difference? And how can we define ourselves as a great designer that makes us a good person?

As we know, every designer has one job in general which is to communicate in a right way not just in a good way. Easier to be said than to be done, because sometimes we as a designer even can’t fulfil that simple task. From what I have learned from every great designer in all over the world, they actually have so many secrets behind everything they did. Some of today's most recognizable industrial designers include Marc Newson, Karim Rashid, Philippe Starck, Tom Dixon and James Dyson. All of them were coming from different backgrounds and experiences, yet they’re all great. So then what qualities that make a great designer?

1. Observation

As a designer, we are supposed to know crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter, Art Happens, Chuffed and many others, inside those sites, they (the designers) empower each other both the giver and the recipient, and then start to ‘making good things happen with purpose’. Great designers are curious and first and foremost, they observe, take notice and make notes of things others overlook. A designer loves the special moment when she finds somebody implementing a DIY solution to compensate for poor design. Observation is the most primitive and pure form of research. Research brings purpose to our actions. Designers observe.

2. Listening

Great designers are a good listener. Shakespeare wrote, "Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice." By actually listening, we can learn about what really matters to others rather than assuming we know what's best for those we design for. Great designers are able to listen others want and make sure everything was delivered and communicate in a right way and with the right purpose. Designers listen. 

3. Desire

Great designers have a desire to draw upon their observations, then improve design standards. Whether it's human behavior, poor design or a need for a new design, a designer must desire to improve what already exists or the evolution of design will cease. Desire drives action. Great designers desire change.

4. Context

Have you ever joined a conversation which you never know since when it started or what they were talking about. That missing part you didn’t know which could help you to understand what they were talking about, that’s what we called context. Context is what enables us to make sense of things. Context includes details that allow us to decide if something is relevant. A solution to a problem that isn't relevant in a given context is as good as no solution at all.

5. Solutions

Designers are responsible for finding solutions. All that observation and listening would be wasted if it didn't lead to a solution. When a designer has a goal or an objective, he or she is designing a solution to an existing problem. If a design doesn’t solve a problem, it’s always considered as a weak design. Great Designers defined the problem and find solutions.

6. Communication

Without good communication, solutions would remain in the mind of a designer and never have a chance to make a positive impact on the world. Designers communicate by sketching, making models, using computers, writing, speaking and any other tools necessary. Good communication always in line with a good purpose and right context. Communication skills are vital and understated requirements for working with a team to bring a concept to life. Great designers are great communicators.

7. Unbound

And at last, great designer is unbound by rules. Every designer is supposed to be understood social norms, expectations, limitations and other things that could affect their solutions. But this kind of perspective shouldn’t limit the designer itself with it, great designer are open to the less-than-obvious solutions to problems. Why not we start to ask “What if..” and “Why not..”. Designers often see rules as guidelines. This freedom of thought is what many call creativity. Great designers are unbound by rules.


Great designers have an understanding of the world around us. They seek out solutions to real problems and have a desire to make the world a better place. Great designers know how to share their ideas and make them real. So it’s obvious then what makes a great designer is a good person, because every great designers always and should know everything that they did should based on a good reason, a good purpose and what’s the most important is good for their client.  But here’s my final thought, a good person (designer) is not always a great designer if they don’t have at least every points that mentioned above. 


Creative Head