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How to design vs. How to be a designer

Recently I’ve just been reflecting on my path as a designer. I’d think about how far I’ve progressed in my education and the caliber of my design skills… Let’s just say that I’m not quite exactly happy.

I ask myself, “What is the issue? What is it that makes me feel inadequate as a designer?”. And ultimately, I reflected upon my experience so far in my design education. I have grown and learned a lot from all my classes. But there are times I feel that I come out taking less from the class than I’m suppose to. To me, that was a conflicting thought. Looking back now, I’ve been taught more on the side of how to design rather than how to be a designer. You may be asking now, what’s the difference? Isn’t learning how to design a natural progression towards being a designer?

Yes and no. Anyone could potentially learn how to design. They can learn how to operate some creative suite software and produce designs. But does that necessarily make them a designer? For me, not really. Designers know not only how to design, but they also are able to look further. They can look into the world, envision it in a different way and make that vision possible through their design. So in my mind, I find myself at an impasse. Am I someone who just knows how to design? What qualifies me as a designer? Where do you find yourself on this particular spectrum?

This post was sparked by Ken Baynes, Editorial Director of Loughborough Design Press, and his video discussion on design education. Check it out down below